Posts about “Society/Culture” Category
RBI stands for Reviving Baseball in Inner cities. The youth sports program is celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer. About 4,000 kids around the globe participate.
Monique Zevada of John Marshall High School in Los Angeles is one of them. Latin jazz artist Louis Cruz Beltran presented the 17-year-old senior with an annual RBI award for the softball player who best exemplifies the organization’s mission.
Louis Cruz Beltran: “I get a great satisfaction of being a mentor because people have mentored me and that’s the bottom line. How can anyone receive something and then someone asks you for something and you do not pass it on? That would be a very selfish act.”
During an assembly in the Marshall auditorium, student Monique Zevada said mentors in the sports program helped her change her attitude toward life and school. A few years ago she was starting fights; now she’s planning to go to college.
This is a big weekend for community service in the Southland. KPCC’s Brian Watt explains.
Brian Watt: More than 500 service projects will assist more than 250 organizations from San Diego to Solvang. It’s called “Big Sunday” but the chances to volunteer begin on Saturday.
Los Angeles-based writer David Levinson started the weekend of service 10 years ago with 300 volunteers. Last year, he says, 50,000 people took part.
David Levinson: Everyone has some way that they can help somebody else. And we have homeless people volunteering, we have world famous movie stars volunteering. Everyone is treated the same and valued the same, and it’s really amazing how much people have to give.
Watt: Some projects happen every year – like beach clean ups and creating thousands of papier-mache flower pots for shut-ins. Some activities are unique to this year – like the opening of a new outreach center in Boyle Heights. To find a project nearby that needs you, go online to BigSunday.org.
- May 1, 2009 4:38 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
The world’s oldest person turned 115 years old today. KPCC’s John Rabe went to Gertrude Baines’ birthday party in L.A.’s West Adams neighborhood.
John Rabe: Baines received plaques or letters from politicians and community leaders. Local TV news crews were there. So was someone from the Guinness Book of World Records. Photographers pushed little kids out of the way to get a shot of her.
Baines sat on a wheeled bed, wrapped in blankets, wearing a pretty lavender turban. She kept her eyes closed – and didn’t say a word. Dr. Stephen Coles, who runs the Supercentenarian Research Foundation, says Baines hates the fuss as much as she hates the questions about what she remembers from her 115 years – the first car, the first movie, the first World War.
Dr. Stephen Coles: She is simply not interested in those kinds of stories. But when you get her started on her personal life, like her ex-husband, you know she will go on and on about how he did her wrong. Then you can’t shut her up.
Rabe: To be fair, Baines seemed to like the uniform the Dodgers sent as a gift, and the hand-made cards from a bunch of kids who crowded around her. Those made her smile.
Care packages from San Luis Obispo to Iraq – that contain hair relaxers, deep conditioners, and other beauty products – are helping black service women meet military grooming standards. The Sister Soldier Project started “adopting” active duty personnel on the front lines about two-and-a-half years ago.
Julius Crowder’s daughter, U.S. Army Sergeant Quiannette Crowder, has served two tours of duty in Iraq. He said she appreciates the volunteers who assembled the packages.
Julius Crowder: “These particular women found it necessary to help the young black women out there that wouldn’t have access to the kinds of products that they need. I mean, our culture is different than the culture that is in Iraq.”
Military regulations require female soldiers to wear their hair pulled back and tucked under uniform caps and helmets. Without the right hair products, it can be hard for women of color to comply with the rules. The Sister Soldier Project has sent out about 1,000 care packages so far.
- March 18, 2009 2:46 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
Screenwriter Millard Kaufman has died. He was 92 years old. Kaufman created the screenplays for “Bad Day at Black Rock” and “Take the High Ground.” Both were nominated for Academy Awards.
Kaufman also helped create the cartoon character “Mr. Magoo.” Kaufman told KPCC’s “Patt Morrison” last December how he came up with the name.
Millard Kaufman: “Magoo, the name just came out of me one day from all these goofy names, which I at the time was infinitely more sensitive to than I am today, about the west coast – like Point Mugu. And so we took Mugu and changed the spelling.”
A couple of years ago, Kaufman turned from writing screenplays to novels. McSweeney’s published his first novel, “Bowl of Cherries,” two years ago when he was 90 years old.
His second book, “Misadventure,” is due out this fall. Kaufman died Saturday of heart failure.
Actor Ron Silver has died. Silver was known not only for his acting prowess, but also for changing his staunch political views. KPCC’s Steve Julian reports.
Steve Julian: Silver came to California from New York as a good fit in liberal Hollywood. But the attacks of September 11, 2001 changed his thinking. Silver became what he called a “9/11 Republican,” supporting then-president Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That support, he said, cost him work. But in 1988, Silver won a Tony Award for playing a take-no-prisoners Hollywood producer in David Mamet’s “Speed the Plow.” He also earned an Emmy nomination for playing a strategist for President Jed Bartlet on “The West Wing.”
Silver’s movie credits include Ali, Reversal of Fortune, and Silkwood. He and his ex-wife Lynne had two children – his family was at his side in New York when he died at age 62 of esophageal cancer.
Actor Ron Silver has died. Silver won a Tony award on Broadway and most recently held a recurring role on TV’s “The West Wing.” KPCC’s Steve Julian reports.
Steve Julian: Silver won an Emmy nomination for his role as a slick strategist for liberal president Jed Bartlet. Away from television, Silver had been a liberal Democrat until 9/11. He turned heads with his outspoken support of then-president Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That switch, Silver says, cost him work in a Hollywood he described as “not very pluralistic.” The work returned though, with appearances on “Law & Order” and “Crossing Jordan,” along with the movies “Find Me Guilty” and “The Ten.”
In 1988, Ron Silver won a Tony for his portrayal as a Hollywood producer in David Mamet’s “Speed the Plow.” He also earned a master’s degree in Chinese history. Ron Silver suffered from esophageal cancer and was 62 when he died with his family around him.
It’s all about pets – mostly dogs – in Beverly Hills Sunday. The city’s unleashing its first annual pet extravaganza called “Woofstock 90210.” Everyone’s invited, no matter what your ZIP code.
There’s a pet parade and a contest at 1 o’clock – every pooch is invited to strut its stuff. Since it is Beverly Hills, talent scouts will be on the prowl, so make sure little Teacup or Fido is ready for that close-up.
Cindy Brynan: “Very exciting! We have Cesar Milan’s producers coming from the Dog Whisperer show and they are going to be scouting dogs for their show. We also are excited about the La Paws animal talent agency who will be auditioning dogs for their show as well.”
Event organizer Cindy Brynan says the entertainment includes Muttley Crew-K9 high flying disc dogs. If you don’t have a pet, there will be 150 of them available to adopt plus 40 vendors selling everything a pet owner might need.
“Woofstock 90210” runs from 11 to 4 Sunday at “Wiggley Field” in Beverly Hills’ Roxbury Park. For more details, go to the calendar section of the Web site BeverlyHills.org.
- March 13, 2009 4:18 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
Philanthropist Leonore Annenberg has died at age 91. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall says the longtime mover and shaker in arts, education, and politics passed away today in Rancho Mirage.
Cheryl Devall: To her half-century marriage to publishing billionaire Walter Annenberg, Leonore Annenberg brought a distinctive style and unparalleled drive. While her husband was ambassador to Britain under President Nixon, Leonore Annenberg commissioned her own decorator to refurbish the official residence in London.
The Stanford University graduate was White House chief of protocol during President Ronald Reagan’s first term – in that role she supervised the details of visits between the president and international leaders. She maintained a high profile on the boards and committees of this country’s leading arts and cultural institutions, and she helped the 20-year-old Annenberg Foundation achieve prominence among American philanthropies.
Leonore Annenberg led that foundation since her husband’s death in 2002. On its Web site, her stepdaughter Wallis Annenberg expressed deep sadness and pledged to continue its commitments to education, cultural, and media projects.
Each week seems to deliver more dismal headlines about the shrinking coverage, staffs, and influence of the newspaper industry.
Thirty-one-year-old aerospace purchaser Amira Minasian says she doesn’t read newspapers. But she admits she’d miss them if they disappeared.
Amira Minasian: “That personal feel. That’s strange, right? I mean, I would. I know my dad reads it and my mom reads it. It’s been around forever. Yeah, that would be weird. It would make me feel kinda sick, because I know we’re going towards a technology world. But, it’s so impersonal. So, I feel like having the newspaper gives us that personal feel.”
Minasian was born in Lebanon and reared in Montebello. She says she gets most of her news from television or the Internet.
It used to be a daily routine, like savoring breakfast and a cup of coffee. But more and more, reading the newspaper is an activity for leisure time… or for older people with lots of time on their hands.
Sixty-eight-year-old Hannah Adler says she’s a longtime subscriber to the Los Angeles Daily News. She still browses it every day, starting with the front page.
Hannah Adler: “Then I look at, sorry, but I look at the people that died, just in case somebody I know died, because at our age it’s already. Then I like horoscope. Sometimes I look for the movies.”
Adler was born in Prague. Now she lives in Granada Hills. She used to own her own business, and she also helped to manage the foreclosure department at Great Western Bank before she retired four years ago.
Thousands of friends, relatives, fellow officers, and public officials offered final goodbyes today to LAPD Deputy Chief Kenneth Garner. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall says Garner was one of the highest-ranking African Americans in the department.
Cheryl Devall: During the funeral service at the Crenshaw Christian Center Faith Dome in South Los Angeles, Police chief William Bratton praised Kenneth Garner. Bratton told the full sanctuary the officer who died unexpectedly at his home last week achieved many accomplishments in his short time on earth and with the department.
Garner spent more than 30 of his 53 years on earth with the LAPD. A year ago, the department promoted him to commander of its South Bureau, the division that includes the 77th Street, Southwest, South, and Harbor police stations.
That assignment placed the Arkansas native in the area of Los Angeles in which spent much of his youth. In recent years, organizations including the L.A. Association of Black Personnel, recognized Garner for his service on behalf of young people in his area, and of African Americans in the police department.
Note: Some South L.A. activists are asking the city of Los Angeles to rename the South police station in Garner’s honor.
The LAPD buries one of its highest ranking African American officers today. Deputy Chief Kenny Garner died last week of an apparent heart attack. KPCC’s Frank Stoltze has more.
Frank Stoltze: Garner oversaw police operations in South L.A. That’s also where he grew up. In the neighborhoods, one activist called him a “beacon of reform and change” at the LAPD. Last week Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also remembered Garner for helping the department recruit its new officers.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: It was Chief Garner who was an early architect of our police build-up. It was his dedication, hard work, and devotion to duty that made our strategy successful.
Stoltze: Garner was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He is survived by a daughter, and his mother and father. He had been with the LAPD for 31 years.
More than five percent of Orange County mortgage holders are falling behind on their home loans. That delinquency rate has been increasing steadily for the last couple of years. Foreclosures have been increasing in Orange County over the last few months, too. KPCC’s Susan Valot stopped by a foreclosure prevention fair in Garden Grove yesterday.
Susan Valot: A few hundred people packed into the Garden Grove Community Center to hear about the loan modification process. They then met individually with their lenders to see what sort of deal they could work out.
Connie Der Torossian is with the Orange County Home Ownership Collaborative, which organized this particular fair. She says it gave homeowners who may be struggling with their payments a chance to meet with lenders face-to-face.
Connie Der Torossian: The process of contacting the lender – even though we tell them to contact the lender as soon as possible, as soon as you know there’s going to be a problem – is a difficult one, because you don’t know if you’re talking to the right department. Usually when you first call, you’re in customer service or you’re in the collections department. And what you really want to get to is the loss mitigation department because those are the individuals that have the information, and they have the power to make changes to your loan.
Valot: Los Angeles Neighborhood Housing Services will host a similar foreclosure prevention fair tomorrow from nine in the morning until one in the afternoon at Compton Community College.
Chef Marilyn’s Soul Food Express is celebrating its 20th year now through this weekend (March 6-8). The popular Crenshaw Boulevard eatery is offering every item on its menu for 99 cents… from fried chicken and mac-and-cheese to red beans and rice, Jambalaya, and Shrimp Creole.
Chef Marilyn Cole says the tough economy has hit her business some. But she and her employees still pulled an all-nighter to prepare for the hungry hordes.
Marilyn Cole: “We’re just giving back, and we want everybody to come out and enjoy. And we had a lady came in this morning. Her sister recently passed, so she acquired her five babies. And she was just crying because she said she’s gonna be able to feed them today; a balanced meal, a healthy meal. So she was one of our first customers. And I said, ‘Oh my God. I mean, it felt good being able to do that.”
Chef Marilyn is also celebrating her 54th birthday, so the 99-cent special runs for 54 hours through Sunday.
State Supreme Court justices expressed skepticism today at arguments that they should overturn Proposition 8, the November ballot measure that bans same-sex marriage. KPCC’s Frank Stoltze has more on the much-anticipated oral arguments in the case.
Frank Stoltze: Gay rights lawyers argued that Proposition 8 needed two-thirds support from the legislature before the state placed it on the ballot. Justice Joyce Kennard, who’s a potential swing vote, wondered about that.
Justice Joyce Kennard: The people are those that have created the constitution, and I think what you’re overlooking is the broad powers of the people.
Stoltze: Chief Justice Ronald George also indicated that he didn’t think Prop 8 needed legislative approval, and that he was reluctant to overturn a voter-approved ballot measure… even if it was unfair. He noted that gays and lesbians still enjoy constitutionally protected minority status.
Justices also considered what to do with the 18,000 gay marriages performed last summer, if the court upholds Proposition 8. Even conservative justices signaled that they believe Prop 8 failed to specify that the state should invalidate those marriages.
They’ll issue a decision in the case within 90 days.
Many eyes and ears will concentrate on the California Supreme Court today, as it considers arguments in three lawsuits seeking to overturn Proposition 8. That’s the November measure that overturned the court’s May ruling legalizing same sex marriages. KPCC’s Frank Stoltze reports.
Frank Stoltze: Opponents of Prop 8 argue that it stripped gays and lesbians of a fundamental right, and therefore it revised the state constitution. Revisions require legislative approval before voters can decide on them. Gay rights lawyer Jennifer Pizer:
Jennifer Pizer: One of the important things about this litigation is that there’s not a lot of relevant law. There’s not a lot of precedents.
Stoltze: Supporters of Prop 8 say the measure was a proper use of California’s initiative process.
Inside the court’s San Francisco chambers, Pepperdine Law School Dean Kenneth Starr will lead arguments in favor of Prop 8. The legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Shannon Minter, will lead arguments against it. Legal analysts call it the most closely watched California Supreme Court hearing in a generation.
The court will issue a decision in the case within 90 days.
San Fernando Valley families with pets can get their animals spayed or neutered free tomorrow. KPCC’s Patricia Nazario explains how it works.
Patricia Nazario: Los Angeles Animal Services is partnering with city councilmembers Richard Alarcon and Tony Cardenas to offer the service. The procedure would cost at least $100 at a veterinary clinic. City officials are limiting the offer to families who live in the San Fernando Valley, generally from Encino to Sylmar.
Owners must drop off their dogs or cats at 6:30 in the morning. Animal Services officials say they hope to fix 100 pets. It’s first come, first served though, so latecomers will get vouchers for the surgery at a future date.
City Animal Services officials say more people are leaving pets at shelters these days because they can’t afford to keep them. City shelters are euthanizing 20 percent more animals a month than they did a couple of years ago.
That’s one reason the city’s promoting spaying and neutering pets as a humane alternative. Besides, City of L.A. law requires most cats and dogs older than four months to be spayed or neutered.
Some high-profile DJs and hip-hop artists are planning a good time tonight for a good cause. KPCC’s Patricia Nazario has more on the Hollywood party and shoe drive that’ll benefit Soles4Souls.
Patricia Nazario: Los Angeles organizers have asked party goers to bring a new or gently worn pair of shoes to the door of the event at Element Hollywood. The venue is a couple of blocks east of the Kodak Theater.
It’s one of L.A.’s hottest 18-and-over clubs. The DJ will probably spin hip hop, classic soul, and funk. Everyone on the celebrity roster is donating time to the charitable event.
Soles4Souls is a global non-profit. The mission statement on its Web site is simple – the organization wants to affect as many lives as possible with the gift of shoes. The site says Soles4Souls is working in over 45 states and 61 countries where local agencies have said there’s a great need.
You don’t have to get your groove on to donate your kicks. Go online to Soles4Souls.org and type in your zip code to find a drop-off location in your ‘hood.
Plans for the new Great Park on the old El Toro Marine Corps air base in Irvine are moving forward into the “production” stage. Park designers today touted their designs at a forum at UC Irvine. Designer Ken Smith says the nearly $2 billion park will open gradually over the next few years.
Ken Smith: It’s going to come online as we build it. So I would think within this 3- to 5-year period, there are going to be big parts of the park that are going to start opening up with trails and access. It won’t be a finished park, you know, there won’t be big full-grown trees and complete shade and all that, but it’s important for people to get out into the park and use the park even while it’s still growing.
There is one snag: Development was supposed to provide the money to create the Great Park, but construction has ground to a halt because of the sluggish real estate market. It’s not clear what effect that will have on plans for the giant park.
No matter how much you’re enjoying that read from the library, a couple of weeks may not be enough time to finish it. So starting Sunday, the Los Angeles Public Library is extending the borrowing period. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall has the details.
Cheryl Devall: The library will allow users to check out most books, magazines, and audiobooks for three weeks instead of two. Unless someone else has requested the same item, it’ll be possible to renew twice.
While the borrowing time is longer, late fees will be higher – 35 cents a day instead of 30 for adult and teen library materials, and 15 cents a day instead of 10 for children’s items. It’ll also cost library users more to replace lost overdue books and DVDs.
Library commissioners expect the new fees to generate up to 400,000 extra dollars a year. Anyone who lives in Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura counties may get a free card to use the L.A. central library and the system’s 71 branches. More information about the new fee schedule – and about reserving books for pickup at any city of L.A. library – is available online at LAPL.org.
It’s not often you hear about a business turning down money, especially now. But that’s what a local Fox TV affiliate did when an AIDS advocacy group tried to place a 30-second spot promoting condom use on Sunday’s episode of “The Family Guy.”
Michael Weinstein with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation says Fox-11 turned away his media buyer because its parent network doesn’t allow condom advertising during prime time.
Michael Weinstein: “We wanted to point out the most glaring example of hypocrisy. They won’t run a condom ad, but they will have very offensive content that demeans women, and that really sends the wrong messages to young people. The right message is, ‘if you’re going to be sexual, use a condom.’”
“The Family Guy” is a popular animated cartoon series. The watchdog group Parents Television Council gives it a Red rating for its sexual themes and language.
LINK: The Family Guy
Rain or shine, big leaguer Mike Sweeney says, he’ll be on the baseball field at Ontario High Saturday morning to raise money for the family killed in the Christmas Eve attack in Covina.
Sweeney organized an instructional camp for kids in honor of 17-year-old Michael Ortiz. The Ontario High baseball player was one of nine people killed in the savage attack carried out by his aunt’s ex-husband.
Sweeney, who’s a four-time All-Star,says when he got the call to help the Ortiz family, he jumped at the chance.
Mike Sweeney: “I know there’ve been a lot of people wondering, ‘Is the camp gonna go on with the rain?’ And my feeling is, the Ortiz family has been through a huge storm. And I don’t think it’s asking much of us to sit out in the rain for a couple of hours, if it is drizzling, with a bunch of kids and have some fun playing baseball.”
Sweeney says a dozen current or former big leaguers will help at the Ontario High School camp. They’ll start at 10:00. He’s asking families that participate to donate $50. He’s already collected $20,000. Sweeney has played Major League Baseball for 15 seasons. He’s signed with the Seattle Mariners this year.
The clean-up phase at Sylmar’s Oakridge Mobile Home Park could be finished by the end of the month. Former occupants will likely start rebuilding soon after that. At a public hearing in Sylmar today, KPCC’s Patricia Nazario listened to state lawmakers, residents, and fire officials talk about the safety standards that may be in place as those new homes arise.
Patricia Nazario: Dozens of property owners from a half dozen mobile home parks took turns at the microphone in the auditorium at Los Angeles Mission College. Some were angry about safety issues they said they’d complained about for years: low water pressure at fire hydrants, overgrown trees, and shrubs too close to homes.
But Martha Martinez and her daughter Anna Lisa, from the Oakridge Mobile Home Park, just wanted to know when they could buy new manufactured homes and return to the property.
Martha Martinez: We’ve been waiting since November. We wanna know when can we move back in.
Nazario: Democratic State Senator Alex Padilla said that’ll probably happen by late spring. Padilla called the hearing on safety issues because, he said, he wants to make the rebuilt neighborhoods better.
Senator Alex Padilla: More than one way in and out of mobile home community makes all the sense in the world. That, at a minimum. Along with improved fire hydrant service.
Nazario: …And an evacuation plan. Padilla said his proposed Senate Bill 23 covers those points. It would require parks to adopt several of the safety recommendations that mobile home park occupants and fire officials outlined at the hearing.
Dozens of mobile home park residents who lost their homes in last year’s wildfires spoke directly to lawmakers today at a public hearing in Sylmar.
Democratic State Senator Alex Padilla said he’s especially concerned about safety conditions at Sylmar’s Sky Terrace and Oakridge mobile home parks. He said low hydrant pressure and few exits created serious problems for fire fighters at the Marek and Sayre Fires.
Senator Alex Padilla: “It’s lost on me why there’s not a current requirement that these mobile home parks don’t have better emergency preparedness plan and specific evacuation plans. So, I have introduced a bill that would require every mobile home park community in the state of California to have an evacuation plan.”
Padilla said he wants to rush federal emergency aid money to the area and help speed along the debris cleaning process, so people displaced from the mobile home parks can begin rebuilding no later than early summer.
The Oakridge Mobile Home Park in Sylmar will be open through Sunday. City officials are allowing former occupants one last look for valuables before the debris-removal process begins.
Eric Baumgardener, with the Emergency Management Department, says the City of Los Angeles’ public works department will probably select a contractor next week.
Eric Baumgardener: “The process is using a list of on-call contractors the city deals with normally for debris removal and emergency abatement issues. So, it’s a smaller list than normal public bids.”
Baumgardener says that list includes a couple dozen pre-qualified and pre-screened contractors. City officials chose that route to streamline the process… and to allow people whose units are still standing in Oakridge Mobile Home Park to begin moving back into their homes soon.
Leaders of L.A.’s most prominent Chicano art gallery said today they’ve avoided eviction, at least for now. KPCC’s Adolfo Guzman-Lopez has the story.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Activists involved in the Chicano civil rights movement founded Self Help Graphics and Art almost 40 years ago. Some of their militancy resurfaced last year after the group’s administrators found out a developer had bought the East L.A. building where they’d staged performing and visual arts events for 35 years. Chicano art wasn’t in the new owner’s long-term plans for the site.
The group’s leaders say they’ve negotiated a lease agreement with Piedmont Investment Company that allows them to pay rent – and stay put – for at least a year. The new owner will make long-needed repairs to the 82-year-old building. The organization has launched a $1 million campaign for donations.
The late Karen Boccalero, a member of the Sisters of Saint Francis who’d studied printmaking, began Self Help Graphics to nurture the arts in East L.A.’s impoverished Mexican-American neighborhoods. Her religious order had allowed Self Help to use the building rent-free. Last year the order told the occupants it could no longer manage the property.
If guides on eateries and watering holes aren’t enough for you, the folks at Zagat have now broken down the Los Angeles dating scene. KPCC’s Brian Watt reports.
Brian Watt: Zagat’s new “Dating and Dumping Guide” draws on the experiences of more than 13,000 out-and-about Angelenos. It reviews eateries, watering holes, and meat markets for dating - and dumping. That includes - for anyone already not interested in their date – the restaurants with the “hottest servers.”
But Zagat might help the single Angeleno most with its data on dating. At least three quarters of the daters polled were open to going out with someone of a different race, nationality, income bracket, and age group. But the percentage drops a bit when it comes to political party.
And here’s some fuel for the debate over whether chivalry is dead. On the first date, just over half of Angelenos say whoever extended the invitation should pay - regardless of gender. In New York, 60 percent say the first date is on the guy. But no matter who pays, only 3 percent in both cities say they’ll consider getting intimate on that first date.
A San Gabriel Valley school district is turning third-generation Chinese American middle school students into cultural ambassadors during the Chinese New Year. KPCC’s Adolfo Guzman-Lopez has more.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Chinese culture is teacher Corrina Shih’s main subject at the Rowland Unified School District. Her students are mostly assimilated Chinese Americans who are largely disconnected from the culture of their parents and grandparents. She says the seventh- and eighth-graders had a lot of questions about this week’s Lunar New Year celebrations.
Corrina Shih: Why people do fireworks during Chinese New Year and also talk about clothing, why Chinese people like to wear new clothes during the Chinese New Year, and also lion and dragon dances.
Guzman-Lopez: Shih directed her students to turn their questions into research projects. They paid a visit to a massive Buddhist temple complex in Hacienda Heights. They’ll also take their display boards to a nearby elementary school to share their knowledge with younger students.
This is the second year Rowland Unified’s received a federal grant to offer Chinese and Korean culture classes.
The Year of the Ox charged in with a huge noise in L.A.’s Chinatown this morning.
The Teo Chew Association, a social and religious organization for Southeast Asian immigrants, threw one of many events to mark the start of the Lunar New Year this week.
Hing Hong, one of the group’s officers, says it deployed dragon dancers, drummers, and thousands of firecrackers to help scare away evil.
Hing Hong: “The firecrackers mean we get rid of those evils. Scare them to go away.”
More than a million local Chinese-, Korean-, and Vietnamese-Americans observe the Lunar New Year. The main public celebration is the Golden Dragon Parade this Saturday in Chinatown.
- January 26, 2009 12:57 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
People in Los Angeles’ Chinatown observed the Lunar New Year this morning with drums, dragon dancers - and, in case you weren’t close enough to hear them yourself, a few thousand firecrackers.
John Rabe: This celebration took place outside the Teo Chew Association, a social and religious organization for Southeast Asian immigrants.
The Chinese Chamber of Commerce says a million-and-a-half Chinese-, Korean-, and Vietnamese-Americans in Southern California are marking the beginning of the Year of the Ox.
The annual Golden Dragon Parade is expected to draw more than a hundred-thousand people to Broadway in Chinatown this Saturday.
- January 26, 2009 12:54 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
A South Pasadena High School student takes his “no cussing” campaign on “The Tonight Show” tonight. KPCC’s Frank Stoltze says it’s the latest in a series of media appearances for 14-year-old McKay Hatch.
Frank Stoltze: Hatch started his “no cussing” club in middle school.
McKay Hatch: What happened was when I got out of elementary to middle school, all my friends that I thought would never cuss started cussing. And at first I didn’t know why but then I realized later that they were doing it to fit in or be cool or whatever you want to call it. And at first the cussing just bothered me.
Stoltze: This MSNBC story was one of many about Hatch. He says the coverage inspired “no cussing” clubs in 47 states. Hatch has faced a backlash too, in the form of profane and threatening e-mails. The FBI reportedly has looked into them. The South Pasadena teen remains undeterred. He’s got a Web site, NoCussing.com, and he’s produced a rap video.
Hatch (in video): If you wanna be my peer, please protect my ears, don’t cuss.
Stoltze: Next week, Hatch’s book hits the shelves. It’s called “The No Cussing Club: How I Fought Peer Pressure and How You Can Too.”
Philanthropist Robert Gumbiner, the founder of a massive health maintenance organization and of Long Beach’s Museum of Latin American Art, has died at age 85. KPCC’s Adolfo Guzman-Lopez has the story.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Sixty years ago, just out of medical school in Indiana, Gumbiner landed in Long Beach and established his medical practice. Not long after, he became frustrated with the fee-for-service model of health care. He felt it was inefficient, so he lobbied doctors in his practice to start a pre-payment model.
In 1961 that led to the founding of FHP International, a company that managed care for more than a million people in 11 states. Gumbiner left FHP a dozen years ago and the company merged with another HMO.
Gumbiner’s passion for contemporary Latin American art grew during trips to treat people in poor towns. He bought so much art, that 12 years ago he founded the non-profit Museum of Latin American Art to exhibit his drawings, paintings, and sculpture.
A museum spokeswoman said Gumbiner felt strongly that the museum would become his lasting legacy. About a year ago he cut the ribbon on a $40 million expansion his foundation had paid for.
L.A.’s Guerrilla Gardeners routinely weed, water, and plant plots in the Hollywood and Silver Lake neighborhoods. On this national day of service they signed up more volunteers than usual. One of the first-timers – a white-haired woman named Donna – brought a jade plant to adorn a patch of dirt along Sunset Boulevard.
Donna: “I’m out here because the president-elect wants Americans to give back and give back to their community, and it’s a great sentiment. And I wanted to support him and I wanted to support my community!”
She says President-elect Obama has inspired her to keep volunteering in her civic backyard during the months ahead.
Relatives and friends of the nine family members killed on Christmas Eve in Covina gathered for a private funeral mass and burial today. KPCC’s Adolfo Guzman-Lopez talked with people who attended the services in San Dimas.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Tears and laughter punctuated the services at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church. Relatives remembered members of the Ortega, Ortiz, and Castillo families as tight-knit and fun-loving. Family friend Jose Viramontes said the priest who said the funeral mass tried to comfort survivors overwhelmed with grief.
Jose Viramontes: The priest addressed the difference between evil and love, and what was good and what was bad, the unexplained of course. In a situation like this, how do you explain a tragedy, how do you explain the actions of another person?
Guzman-Lopez: A relative, Bruce Pardo, shot his ex-wife, former in-laws, and several other people at the family’s Covina Christmas party and set the home on fire. Shortly after that, he apparently committed suicide.
Hundreds of people crowded into a Catholic church in San Dimas today to pay their last respects to nine members of the same family killed on Christmas Eve in Covina. KPCC’s Adolfo Guzman-Lopez was there.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Pastor Charles Ramirez of Immaculate Conception Church in Monrovia attended the San Dimas funeral mass because a few of the surviving family members belong to his parish.
Pastor Charles Ramirez: The one moment in that mass that was very touching was when the eight-year-old little girl got up and read the prayer of the faithful and mentioned the names of those who had died. I mean, that was unbelievable; it was touching that this little girl who’d been met at the door by this man dressed like Santa Claus, and she was shot in the face. That she’s alive here today and able to participate in this celebration of life for her grandparents and her family members.
Guzman-Lopez: Burial for the nine members of the Ortega, Ortiz, and Castillo families is at a Covina cemetery, a few miles from the house where a relative masquerading as Santa Claus killed them on Christmas Eve. Shortly after that attack, he apparently committed suicide.
A funeral mass was held this morning for the nine people a relative killed at a house party on Christmas Eve. KPCC’s Adolfo Guzman-Lopez brought us this report from the church in San Dimas.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church is filled to capacity with the victims’ relatives and friends. An overflow crowd of more than a hundred people is listening to the funeral mass under a tent outside the church.
Irma Chavez and her stepfather Rudy Valdivia said they knew the family for four decades.
Irma Chavez: We were always together, parties and everything, horseracing, Santa Anita. That was a big part of our lives, the track and gambling; it is a big part of the Ortegas and our lives. Rudy Valdivia: We’re going to miss them.
Guzman-Lopez: The nine victims are to be laid to rest today at Forest Lawn cemetery in Covina.
The crowd expected at next Tuesday’s Obama Inauguration could top four million people. Some from the Southland have started heading to Washington, DC already, including KPCC’s Brian Watt.
Brian Watt: It was 27 degrees and snowing when my red-eye flight landed at Washington’s Dulles Airport. At baggage claim, I met the Dickersons, a married couple from Rialto where they work as realtors. Durnee Dickerson said they have a full itinerary to fill the five days until Barack Obama’s Inauguration.
Durnee Dickerson: We’re gonna drive out to a little town called Bucktown, which was Harriet Tubman’s birthplace, and we’re actually gonna do a two-mile hike on the underground railroad.
Watt: But their most important stop before Inauguration Day is at the office of L.A. Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Yolanda Clark Dickerson says they’ll pick up tickets to the swearing-in ceremony.
Yolanda Clark Dickerson: I received a letter saying that out of 10,000 people, there were 198, and I was one of the few to get two.
Watt: A journey that starts on the Underground Railroad continues on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Times are tough for all kinds of job seekers, even those with college degrees. Don Asher, a career counselor who calls himself “America’s Job Search Guru,” said that despite the odds, some of the oldest methods still work.
Don Asher: “Walk-in still works, because there you are; they can see you, they can see if you dress well, they can see if you drool, they can see if you curse while you talk. So it’s an advantage that you have.”
Asher told KPCC’s “Patt Morrison” that it helps to expand your job search beyond what’s posted, and to focus on the kind of work that suits you best, regardless of what the online job listings say.
In El Monte today, friends and family welcomed home more than a hundred soldiers who’ve finished more than a year on duty in Iraq.
They’re members of the 137th Quartermaster Company - an Army Reserve based in South El Monte. Dina Robles waited for her husband, Sergeant Edgar Robles. She says other military wives looked to her for advice during the deployment because this is her husband’s third tour with the 137th.
Dina Robles: “We all worry, but we all worry in our own way. I worry about myself and I don’t do it in front of my kids because I have to be strong for my kids. They have to keep their mind concentrated on school, and they’re in sports.
“That’s basically what I tell them, to be strong. You gotta live your life. You can’t just sit there and dwell on your husband being in the war. I know it’s worrisome. But we gotta live our life, too.”
Her husband’s unit supported combat troops in Iraq by helping with vehicle searches – and by cleaning the hundreds of thousands of bundles of laundry.
Although the 137th wasn’t in combat, the unit hasn’t come through the Iraq conflict unscathed. In the unit’s tour four years ago, a sergeant with the 137th was among 17 soldiers killed in a helicopter crash.
- January 12, 2009 4:20 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
As the death toll in Gaza rises, international charities are working to establish a humanitarian corridor for the delivery of relief supplies. KPCC’s Patricia Nazario says one of the organizations preparing to help Palestinians is based in Southern California.
Patricia Nazario: Operation USA is preparing at least 15 tons of medical supplies – gauze, syringes, and bandages – for shipment within the next couple of weeks.
The organization’s founder, Richard Walden, says Gaza needs immediate help because it lacks a sophisticated first-aid infrastructure.
Richard Walden: “Twenty years ago, it was a piece of desert, that was made into a large refugee camp, that became a territory. It doesn’t have all the things that a city or a province would have in another country, where you’d have long-standing people who’ve lived there.”
Nazario: Walden says Culver City based Operation USA has conducted worldwide disaster relief since he started the organization 30 years ago.
More information about its partner organizations and the pending relief effort in Gaza is online at OPUSA.org.
Most Americans are willing to pay a little more in taxes to upgrade schools, roads, and other public works projects. That’s the finding of a poll commissioned by a group called Building America’s Future.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg head the organization. Its survey found that 81 percent of Americans are prepared to pay one percent more in federal taxes for re-building efforts.
Governor Schwarzenegger says the poll results don’t surprise him because Californians have overwhelmingly supported bond measures for projects like that.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: “The people are willing to pay for it. They want to have their infrastructure kept up. They want to have the infrastructure kept up, they want to have new roads and new schools. They don’t want to have their kids in overcrowded classrooms…”
Schwarzenegger also had positive words for President-elect Barack Obama’s re-building proposals, particularly those that involve renewable energy.
Building America’s Future conducted the online poll of 800 adults late last month.
A Southland non-profit that specializes in disaster relief is joining several international charities to donate first-aid medical supplies to Gaza.
Culver City-based Operation USA is preparing at least 15 tons of gauze, syringes, and bandages for shipment within the next couple of weeks. Its founder, Richard Walden, says the organization needs financial contributions to buy more supplies. He expects some resistance because people on both sides of the conflict harbor very strong reactions.
Richard Walden: “But on the other hand, a lot of people see it for what it is. It’s a humanitarian crisis rather than an ethnic or religious war. We’re not looking at the merits of either side’s positions. We’re looking at the fact that thousands of people have been injured.”
Operation USA is partnering with the International Red Cross, World Vision, Save the Children, and other groups to ship emergency supplies to Gaza.
LINK: Operation USA
A widely-recognized animal handler has weighed in on the Los Angeles Zoo’s elephant controversy. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall has the story.
Cheryl Devall: The proposed Pachyderm Forest exhibit has generated plenty of comment from people who contend it’s not big enough for the single Asian elephant that lives at the zoo, let alone others that might join it. Animal rights activists say elephants belong in free-range sanctuaries, not zoos.
Among the high-profile humans who want to stop construction on the $42 million L.A. habitat are former game show host Bob Barker, actress Lily Tomlin, and actor Robert Culp.
Now Jack Hanna, who’s introduced exotic species on “Late Night with David Letterman” and “Good Morning America,” has sent a letter to the L.A. City Council. He maintains that the zoo’s exhibit will set a new standard for the care of elephants in captivity. A Council committee has until January 24th to decide how to settle the matter without setting off a stampede of protest.
The 46 floats from this year’s Tournament of Roses parade are parked in Pasadena for an up-close look through tomorrow. KPCC’s Brian Watt asked one float builder what happens after that.
Brian Watt: Fiesta Parade Floats in Irwindale built a dozen of this year’s floats. President Tim Estes says that once fans have gotten their last look, it’s time to take ‘em apart. He compares the process to stripping a car all the way down to the chassis - then using that chassis to build a different car.
Tim Estes: When the Rose Parade finishes up, we bring our floats back. Two weeks later, I have four floats in the Martin Luther Kingdom Day Parade. And a couple weeks after that, I have floats to put together for the Chinese New Year parade in Los Angeles. We have things ongoing and my job is to keep my employees employed.
Watt: That’s 30 employees, for whom this economy might not offer such fun work. Still, it’s a little sad when you think of all the intricate design and handiwork that goes into a Rose Parade float – to learn that its days are numbered after its glide in the sun down Colorado Boulevard.
Note: To see this year’s floats, head to Sierra Madre Boulevard near Pasadena High School. – today, until 5 o’clock; tomorrow, between 9 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon. Seven dollars for adults. Children 5 and younger get in free.
To sample the amazing variety of ethnic food in the Southland, you don’t have to go to restaurants. Linda Burum, co-editor of the new guidebook Eat: Los Angeles, told KPCC’s “AirTalk” that a visit to area grocery stores can take you - deliciously – around the world.
Linda Burum: “Go to Laborio Cuban Market, go to Fayarta Market, go to the Korean markets that we have in the book and they have huge counters full of, you know, foods that you can throw on your buffet table, and voila, instant party. And also if you’re wanting to do something at home.”
If you missed today’s “AirTalk,” or want more details on where some of those markets are, check out the AirTalk podcast.
Now that the holiday season is winding down, it’s time to say goodbye to that Christmas tree. If those pines stay indoors too long, they can become fire hazards. Lisa Derdarian with the Pasadena Fire Department says it can take only seconds for a tree to catch fire and ignite everything to around it.
Lisa Derdarian: “Once your tree dries out, definitely remove it from your house. Especially now with the houses with heaters running in the middle of the night using heat sources internally that are drying out the tree a lot quicker.”
Derdarian says you can properly dispose your Christmas tree during your regular trash days. To find out where your city provides dropoff sites that recycle Christmas trees, call Los Angeles County’s Environmental Hotline at 1-888-CLEAN-LA during business hours, Monday through Thursday.
- January 2, 2009 1:30 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
Dancers paid tribute to Broadway and sari-clad models honored India’s Bollywood films in this morning’s 120th annual Rose Parade. Its theme was “Hats Off to Entertainment.”
The parade also featured 21 marching bands. That wasn’t enough for spectator Betty Phelps.
Betty Phelps: “I think that they should have more high school than they do. The floats are pretty and nice but they should give other high schools here all over the world a chance to march in it. But if they do that the parade probably last like five hours.”
The parade’s grand marshal was actress Cloris Leachman.
Police arrested 36 people along the parade route, mostly for public intoxication. One man was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon after he allegedly threw beer bottles into the crowd.
Nearly two dozen marching bands and 18 equestrian units marched along Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena this morning for the 120th annual Rose Parade.
Among the people who staked out spots along Colorado were two bus drivers.
Betty Phelps: “Hi my name is Betty and my girlfriend is Suzie. She’s another bus driver and she don’t like the parade. Something have to be wrong with her. She don’t like the parade.”
Suzie Vuenas: “It’s not that I don’t like it - it’s that I am sleeping by this time.”
Phelps: “Well she need to wake up and see what’s going on around her.”
Vuenas: “OK, yeah, I’ll do that.”
Those were bus drivers Betty Phelps and Suzie Vuenas.
The floats commanded plenty of attention. One by Honda featured a 49-foot-tall mechanical man that shot fireworks and streamers out of its top hat. At one point, the robot snapped an overhead cable that held a street sign, but no one was injured.
For the second straight year, the irrigation company Rain Bird won the sweepstakes trophy - it entered a safari-themed float in today’s parade.
- January 1, 2009 2:04 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
Different highlights appeal to different people at today’s Tournament of Roses Parade. For Roy Allen Hunt of Pasadena, it’s not the fancy floats or the high-stepping bands.
Roy Allen Hunt: “No, I love the bomber, the stealth bomber that, it just ripples me with some, some kind of feeling - I don’t know, pride, I don’t know. Futuristic. I just love that kind of thing.”
Two B-2 stealth bombers flew over the parade route this morning; they’re scheduled to make another pass over this afternoon’s Rose Bowl game.
In downtown Los Angeles, there’s a Japanese-style New Year’s celebration today. KPCC’s Molly Peterson has more on the Little Tokyo bash.
Molly Peterson: The Japanese Chamber of Commerce sponsors Oshogatsu. Until the end of the 19th century, it was a Lunar New Year; now it’s tied to the Gregorian calendar. The chamber’s Jeffrey Yamazaki says the event in Los Angeles is based on traditions in Japan.
Jeffrey Yamazaki: Everybody close the shops for around one week to celebrate. Especially for three days to get together with their families and to celebrate prosperity for the New Year’s.
Two stages fill with music and performance. Organizers distribute mochi - rice pounded into sticky cakes - and treasure bags to the first 300 children at the event.
Yamazaki says Little Tokyo’s party is meant to promote friendship among all the people of Asian descent who live and work in the neighborhood - it’s open and free to everyone.
- January 1, 2009 1:46 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
Joining the throngs of visitors to today’s Tournament of Roses in Pasadena is the crew of the city’s seagoing namesake. US Navy Captain Doug Perry, commanding officer of the nuclear-powered submarine - the USS Pasadena - spoke with KPCC’s “Patt Morrison.”
Patt Morrison: So where did you park it?
Doug Perry: We, well, we left the ship. I wish we could bring the ship here but–
Morrison: So, 360 feet long, I don’t think you can make the turn at Colorado and Orange Grove.
Perry: It would be tough, but it’s downhill, so we might be able to make it.
The fast-attack submarine did not leave its home port of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. But the entire crew is in the Southland for the Rose Parade and the faceoff between USC and Penn State in the Rose Bowl. The Pasadena is the third Navy vessel named after the city of roses.
- January 1, 2009 10:35 AM
- Categories: Society/Culture
If you’re planning to join the hundreds of thousands of spectators enjoying the 120th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena and you’re a smoker, you won’t be able to light up that cigarette outdoors.
Three months ago the Pasadena City Council approved a new ordinance that for the first time will prohibit smoking along the parade route. Takashi Wada with the Pasadena Health Department says this smoking ban takes effect tomorrow.
Takashi Wada: “People are just going to get a warning. And they’re going to be asked to either put out their cigarette or move back away from the immediate parade route. If somebody doesn’t comply, or they’re a repeat offender, we do have the option of issuing a citation, and that would be $100 for the first offense.”
Pasadena’s new ordinance also bars smoking within 20 feet of commercial buildings, on outdoor restaurant patios, at bus stops, even in line at automatic teller machines.
The floats for the Tournament of Roses are ready to go for tomorrow’s parade down Colorado Boulevard - right past the KPCC studios. This year’s theme is “Hats Off to Entertainment.” KPCC’s Susan Valot says that for Orange County, it’s “hats off” to three O.C. cities with Rose Parade floats.
Susan Valot: This is the first time Mission Viejo has sponsored a float in the Rose Parade. It features a representation of Lake Mission Viejo with a diver, a sailboarder, a hiker, and others having fun in the city. The float celebrates Mission Viejo’s 20th anniversary as a city.
Huntington Beach calls its float “Surf City USA,” with an entire family surfing a big wave - complete with the dog and a barbecue grill.
This will be the 16th year that Anaheim has entered a float in the Rose Parade. This year, the city’s calling its float “Crank Up the Entertainment.” It features a music box with the Honda Center, Angel Stadium, and Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty castle, complete with bursting fireworks - made of flowers, of course.
Some 40 million Americans tune in each New Year’s Day to watch the Rose Parade.
The night before the 120th annual Rose Parade, organizers expect more than 500,000 spectators are expected to camp out along the route in Pasadena. Tomorrow night’s going to be chilly, so keeping warm will be key. Pasadena Fire Chief Dennis Downs says a few precautions will help campers pass a warm, safe night.
Dennis Downs: “If you’re going to have a fire because it’s going to be cold, if you have a fire you’re going to need to make sure that the fire is in a container and that it is stable so that it doesn’t tip over.
“You’re not allowed to bring couches. You’re not allowed to take tents because they can burn and they take up a lot of room, a lot of area. And once they catch fire they’re not so easy to put out.”
Downs adds that Pasadena authorities will allow parade fans to camp out starting at 5 tomorrow afternoon. Fire and police officers, along with American Red Cross volunteers, plan to patrol the streets through tomorrow night.
- December 30, 2008 2:38 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
Temperatures are expected to drop to 30 degrees tomorrow night in Pasadena. Tournament of Roses officials expect half-a-million parade spectators to camp out along the Rose Parade route. The American Red Cross is warning those watchers about the potential for hypothermia.
Todd Blecha with the Red Cross says dozens of volunteers will be available through the night to provide first-aid services - but he adds it’ll be a good idea for everyone to bring along plenty of blankets.
Todd Blecha: “Stay warm. Also bring fruit and water to drink. They want to be able to make sure that they are drinking water, as well as have a good meal. It’s just going to help them keep warm. And bring enough clothing. Expect the cold – you can always take off a blanket.”
Thirteen Red Cross stations staffed with 150 volunteers will be available along the parade route on New Year’s Day.
Mental health advocates debate whether the incidence of suicide is higher during the holidays. But Sandri Kramer of the Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center says that people prone to suicidal behavior are feeling particular pressure this holiday season.
Sandri Kramer: “What we are hearing that is quite different this year is that there is an increased sense of hopelessness and a greater fear. Perhaps people are still holding on to jobs; still holding on to their homes. Perhaps things are relatively OK but they see the dominoes fall all around them.”
Kramer spoke on KPCC’s “AirTalk.” Her organization offers mental health services at nine locations in Los Angeles County and operates a 24-hour crisis hotline.
If you or someone you know may need help with this issue, go online to SuicidePreventionCenter.org for more information.
As this year’s tax deadline for charitable giving deductions approaches tomorrow night, here’s something to ponder – traditional thinking about the way Americans run nonprofits isn’t up to the problems we expect those organizations to address, charity entrepreneur Dan Palotta told KPCC’s “AirTalk.” He challenged donors to demand more creative approaches to problem-solving that mirror successful strategies in the for-profit sector.
Dan Palotta: “We have to ask ourselves if we want our charity to be small, to be quaint, to be some kind of a salve for our consciences, then things work fine just as they are, but I don’t think that’s what we want.
“I think we, as human beings, we want to see hunger ended in our lifetime; we don’t want to see those people on Skid Row anymore, suffering right in our midst; we don’t want to see people dying needlessly of AIDS.”
Palotta helped to launch the charitable equivalent of the blockbuster - long-distance bicycle tours that raised money for AIDS research. Many people savaged those events because they required high overhead costs. Palotta responds to those critics in his new book, “Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential.”
- December 30, 2008 1:06 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
Perhaps you’ve wondered how the floats in the annual Rose Parade get so… flowery. It takes a lot of hands – and KPCC’s Cheryl Devall says some float sponsors are still rounding up helping hands before Thursday’s big event.
Cheryl Devall: The kind of weather we’re enjoying this week inspired Pasadena’s Valley Hunt Club to stage the original Tournament of Roses - so its members could show their friends and relatives in colder climates just how lovely Southland winters can be.
The floats they devised for that first parade in 1890 - flower-garlanded horse-drawn carriages - are a far cry from the elaborate, animated juggernauts that roll along the parade route these days. Professional design and decoration teams handle the work of attaching petals, grasses, and seeds to the surfaces of most floats.
But quite a few organizations still rely on volunteers to ensure that the floats will look their best come New Year’s Day. If you’re interested in helping out, go online to www.tournamentofroses.com/events for info about pitching in. If you just want to appreciate the work-in-progress, you can find details at that same Web site.
Deal or no deal? Del Amo Fashion Center this weekend is crowded with people sorting through racks and sale signs to find out whether stores have stores have slashed prices to their liking. For Laveda Brisbane of Rancho Palos Verdes, it’s not about the shopping. She stood in Del Amo Mall, bagless and soaking in the scene.
Laveda Brisbane: “I guess it was just to get out together. This is my daughter. And just to be together and we’ll stop and have a Starbucks coffee and… it’s just is a relaxed day. We’re not rushing around trying to find bargains.”
Brisbane said she and her daughter visited the mall to look and browse, but not really to buy, except maybe some underwear. Apparently that’s what a lot of shoppers did before Christmas, too; most retail establishments say their holiday sales were down this year, compared to last.
Retail sales have been down this holiday season. But the malls are still crowded with shoppers trying to snag after-Christmas deals.
Vicky Vaughn is visiting Southern California from Sacramento. She and her family ended up at Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance. Vaughn said she found some good deals on clothes and shoes, but she spent a little more conservatively than usual.
Vicky Vaughn: “Just because of, you know, wanting to make your money go farther, and I think thinking about what other people may not have might make you a little bit reserved and kind of going over the top. You know, makes you think twice this year, than last year.”
Some people apparently are doing that thinking at home… before they press the “send order” button. Amazon.com reported a 17 percent increase in orders over the holiday season. It’s one of very few retailers to do better this year than last.
Riverside Police are responding to a Christmas Day burglary… in more ways than one. More on the story from KPCC’s Cheryl Devall.
Cheryl Devall: A family in Riverside left home to go visiting Christmas afternoon. When the parents and three daughters returned, they discovered that somebody had visited them through a bedroom window… and had made off with several presents the girls hadn’t unwrapped.
A Riverside Police officer who arrived to take the burglary report said the girls (aged 8, 11, and 16) were in tears when he got there. So he asked his sergeant whether there was anything he could do. There was.
The officers decided to present the family with $500 from the Riverside Police Officers Association’s charitable fund. They’re hoping the family will be able to replace the stolen gifts… and settle in for a long winter’s nap.
The holidays are a time for family and friends. ACLU Director Mark Rosenbaum’s favorite holiday memory happened years ago – his first Hanukkah with his daughter. He says it made him realize that Hanukkah means a great deal more when you have your own kids.
Mark Rosenbaum: “It was nice to have the entire family, including the extended family. It happened just a few years before my father died. And we knew at the time that my father was very ill. That meant a great deal. It meant the beginning of a set of gifts that still continue to boggle my mind.”
By gifts, Rosenbaum means the physical and spiritual virtues of the holiday. He says from that first Hanukkah, he’s seen his children bring those virtues into their lives every day, not just during the holidays.
The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Downtown Los Angeles is the scene of a lot of instrument tuning and sound-checking right now. Almost four dozen acts are preparing to take the stage tomorrow for the L.A. County Arts Commission’s annual holiday celebration.
The commission has presented the free Christmas Eve concert as a gift to Angelenos for almost 50 years. Producer Adam Davis says that this year, the organizers are asking the audience to arrive with cans or packages of food for needy families:
Adam Davis: “There’s no admission, there’s no parking fees, so we said, ‘Hey, bring a can down.’ So our goal is: last year we had 10,000 people attend the show. If we can get 10,000 cans, that would be a really great thing. The Food Bank thinks of it as 10,000 pounds. 10,000 pounds of food really can a long way to help people. L.A. Regional Food Bank told us that there was a 41 percent bigger need than last year.”
The event starts at three in the afternoon tomorrow and ends at nine at night. It’ll include something for everybody: Latin jazz, Celtic music, choirs, mariachis, dance troupes, celebrity chefs, and Taiko drumming.
LINK: L.A. Regional Food Bank
You won’t see carts selling roasted chestnuts on Hollywood and Vine. That’s a New York thing. But KPCC’s Special Correspondent Kitty Felde reports there is one hot trend from New York that’s made it to the West Coast this Christmas…
Kitty Felde: Imagine a TV program with no dialogue and just one picture: a log burning in a fireplace. The Yule Log broadcast was created in 1966 by a New York television executive as a Christmas present to his viewers. It ran for years, and was returned to the air by popular demand after 9/11.
The Log moved west five years ago to L.A. station KCAL. And now, KTLA is getting into the act. Station Manager John Moczulski says he decided to broadcast the Christmas morning Yule Log after advertisers kept asking for it.
John Moczulski: If you don’t have a fireplace – and many homes in Southern California don’t – it’s a nice, soothing visual element for someone to have on while they’re opening packages in the morning.
KTLA will run 10-second ads over the fire. It runs from 5 to 8 Christmas morning. KCAL’s Yule Log runs from 6 to 10. Both broadcasts feature Christmas music to accompany the crackling fire.
A secret Santa has left quite a gift under the tree at Los Angeles Animal Services. KPCC’s Brian Watt tells what it is.
Brian Watt: An anonymous donor has pledged to pay the adoption fees for 300 pets that Angelenos agree to take home between now and Christmas.
The fees normally run up to $68 for cats, and $91 for dogs. They cover vaccinations, spaying or neutering, micro-chipping, and the first year’s license with the city.
The agency will only call the benefactor “Santa Paws” and convey Santa’s one request: that people who adopt the critters write letters (to Animal Services) explaining how it changed their lives.
Animal Services says the generous gift arrives as the agency’s seen a 20 percent increase in owners who surrender their pets because of the home foreclosure crisis.
But General Manager Ed Boks urged anyone who considers taking advantage of the offer to make sure they’re ready. These adoptions might be free, but they require a long-term financial and emotional commitment to keeping a pet.
Note: All six LA Animal Care Centers will be open until 7 p.m. Tuesday, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday.
LINK: LA Animal Services
- December 23, 2008 3:26 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
Short on holiday cash? If you’re packing heat, head to the Coachella Valley. You can swap that gat for goodies. Police departments there are surrendering gift cards to anyone who surrenders a firearm. KPCC’s Steven Cuevas has details on the “Gifts for Guns” program.
Steven Cuevas: Turn in that rusty .22 or Grandma’s old sawed-off shotgun, and earn a $100 gift card to Target, Wal-Mart, or another retailer of your choice… no questions asked. Authorities will even return stolen guns to their rightful owners, provided the person is still licensed to carry the weapon.
Over the weekend, more than 150 guns were handed over to cops in Cathedral City, Indio, and Desert Hot Springs. Cathedral City saw the biggest turnover. Officers ran out of gift cards in 15 minutes. A crowd of pistol-packing Christmas shoppers waited impatiently while more were retrieved. A few dozen people were turned away in Indio when cards ran out there.
The “Gifts for Guns” exchange program continues through Tuesday at police departments throughout the Coachella Valley.
Note: Indio, Cathedral City, Palm Springs, and Desert Hot Springs Police Departments are all taking part in the program.
Gift for Gun Locations, Dates, and Times:
December 20 and December 22, 2:00pm - 4:00pm, next to the IMAX, Cathedral City
December 20 and December 22, 2:00pm - 4:00pm, Animal Care Center, Indio
December 20 and December 22-24, 12:00pm - 2:00pm, Carl May Center, Desert Hot Springs
December 23, 12:00pm - 3:00pm, PSPD 200 South Civic, Palm Springs
The U.S. Census Bureau has released the latest look at how people are moving about the country. KPCC’s Steve Julian has more.
Steve Julian: Nevada had been one of the nation’s fastest growing states for most of the past quarter century. No longer. It’s in the 8th spot this year.
The fastest growing state is now Utah, where the population climbed by 2.5 percent from July 2007 to July of this year. Arizona is now the second-fastest growing state, followed by Texas, North Carolina, and Colorado.
Only two states, Michigan and Rhode Island, saw a drop in population. California is still the most populous state, followed by Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois.
The mortgage crisis doesn’t just hurt homeowners. Renters can be in for a shock when lenders foreclose on their landlords’ properties. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall says the City of Los Angeles signed off on a rescue plan for renters today.
Cheryl Devall: In the first nine months of this year, 1300 apartment buildings in Los Angeles went into foreclosure. That meant the tenants had to move out right away. And LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said that shouldn’t happen if they kept up with their rent and lease payments.
A new city law will make it illegal to turn out tenants in foreclosed buildings, at least until a new owner takes control of the property. City officials predict that the change could affect 300,000 apartment buildings and houses for rent.
The law echoes mortgage guarantor Fannie Mae’s decision this week to renew the leases of renters who live in the foreclosed buildings it owns. Renters who face eviction because of foreclosure may seek help from the City of L.A. housing department toll-free at 866-557-R-E-N-T. (866-557-7368)
Parents who live in Los Angeles are invited to test their children’s toys for lead tomorrow at four different sites around the city. Frank Mateljan is with the L.A. City Attorney’s office.
Frank Mateljan: “We have our experts there with the equipment to test the toys. If the toys do preliminarily test at a high level of lead, parents will then have the opportunity to exchange that toy for a $25 gift certificate.”
Families can exchange up to two toys for gift cards. A legal settlement with Mattel and other toymakers is paying for the program. The city and state sued them after last year’s massive recall of lead-painted toys made in China.
For more information, visit the City Attorney’s Web site
Los Angeles’ one-stop shop for gang member rehabilitation has fallen on hard times. Homeboy Industries has imposed a hiring freeze in its food service and silk-screening enterprises, because there’s no money to fill 100 jobs that have opened up since last summer.
The non-profit’s executive director, Father Gregory Boyle, says any gesture of public support, including eating at the Homegirl Café or ordering bread from the bakery, counts for a lot right now.
Father Gregory Boyle: “Most importantly, if they’re an employer who’d be willing to secure one spot for one person who is released from prison and is ready to redirect his or her life. Those are huge helps.”
Boyle says this is the first time in its 20-year history that Homeboy Industries has frozen hiring for its learn-on-the-job programs. He says the economic downturn is forcing some of its sustaining donors to cut back on contributions.
LINK: Homeboy Industries
There are all kinds of special conferences and summits these days about the economic crisis. There’s another one tomorrow at Cal State San Bernardino. But this one’s different. KPCC’s Steven Cuevas says it’s all about the impact the bad economy is having on our mental health.
Steven Cuevas: Record unemployment, empty food banks, home foreclosures, bankrupt businesses… who doesn’t have a little worry and a lot of stress?
You might want to hear what mental health and financial experts have to say about coping with the recession stress. The idea came about last October, after a San Fernando Valley man killed five family members and himself over apparent financial worries.
Cal State San Bernardino’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is hosting the free one-day summit. Anyone can attend. Several experts on the economy and mental health will be there, as well as a panel of public health and social service providers. The aim is to explore ways that all of us can fend off a mental health crisis to match our economic crisis.
The free conference starts at 8:30 in the morning at Cal State San Bernardino. RSVPs are requested.
Los Angeles County’s homeless authority says on any given night 73,000 people are sleeping on the street. More than 10,000 are children or teens.
And it’s getting worse thanks to the slowing economy and big job losses. Union Rescue Mission President Andy Bales says the number of people visiting his shelters is up three fold over this time last year. He says it reminds him of the 1930s.
Andy Bales: “During the depression, the Union Rescue Mission provided 42 percent of the meals that were provided to the city of L.A. and somehow made it through. We’re trying to live up to heritage.”
Bales says it’s not easy. Demand for his nonprofit’s winter shelters is up sharply, while cash and food donations are shrinking.
The Union Rescue Mission provides shelter for about 1,500 families during the winter months. Bales says so many people need help that he’s considering opening the mission’s chapel to house another 50 families.
The Dolores Mission Church in East Los Angeles is marking its 20th anniversary as a shelter for the homeless.
To celebrate, the eighth-grade class at the church’s on-site Catholic school sponsored a breakfast feast this morning. Their moms worked overtime to prepare Menudo, and the students helped serve up the traditional Mexican soup. Their teacher, Giselle Haro, says feeding and serving the hungry is a graduation requirement.
Giselle Haro: “In order to build that character in them, it’s our main responsibility to teach them how to do it, and I think the kids take great pride in being able to provide that to the community.”
The church takes in 55 men at a time for a three-month stay. They sleep inside the church, as well as in the parish community room and garage.
This is one item on your holiday “to-do” list you may not want to put off: if you want to send a card or gift to a military man or woman stationed outside Iraq or Afghanistan, the mailing deadline is tomorrow. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall says the clock’s ticking for other holiday mailing, too.
Cheryl Devall: Last-minute shipping to active duty military isn’t an option. The last holiday mail to Afghanistan and Iraq had to go out by last Thursday. But if you act fast, there’s still time to deliver mailed greetings and presents to other American bases around the world.
Domestic holiday mailers have a little more slack. They can choose the inexpensive parcel post option for Christmas delivery until Tuesday. The deadline for Priority Mail and first class cards and letters is Saturday, December 20th. And procrastinators willing to pay a premium can push it until December 23rd with Express Mail.
The U.S. Postal Service anticipates moving 19 billion packages, cards, and letters during the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The postal equivalent of the busiest travel day of the year falls on Monday, when the post office expects to process 1-and-a-half billion pieces of mail.
- December 10, 2008 5:10 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
On this International Human Rights Day, Los Angeles area immigrants’ rights activists and interfaith leaders launched a week of events to teach immigrants about their rights in the legal system. More on the story from KPCC’s Brian Watt.
Brian Watt: At Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in downtown L.A., Roman Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, and Jewish clergy blessed the first educational tool: business-size cards in seven languages that spell out undocumented immigrants’ basic rights when officers confront them. Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Solis runs the L.A. Archdiocese’s Office of Justice and Peace.
Oscar Solis: The best protection against human rights violations being experienced by many immigrants is to know their rights.
Watt: The group plans to distribute a million cards. Jorge-Mario Cabrera of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles expressed hope that a new political climate will yield new immigration policies.
Jorge-Mario Cabrera: We do recognize that it’s not necessarily going to be a priority for the new administration. The economy is – for all of us. But immigration should be there.
Watt: The coalition also plans to host a forum with immigration attorneys early next week.
Immigrant activists and interfaith leaders gathered today outside Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in downtown Los Angeles. They launched a week of events intended to educate immigrants about their rights in the legal system. Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Solis runs the L.A. Archdiocese’s Office of Justice and Peace.
Oscar Solis: “Many immigrant families, as well as other members of our communities, are suffering the impact brought about by workplace immigration raids that are separating families. Most of them feel helpless and do not know basic information about the legal rights and other options.”
The coalition is printing a million business-size cards in seven languages that spell out undocumented immigrants’ basic rights when officers confront them.
Gay rights activists are staging another protest today against Proposition 8, the November ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage. KPCC’s Frank Stoltze reports that activists want gays and lesbians - and their supporters - to boycott work and refrain from shopping.
Frank Stoltze: Activists organized the protest using a social networking Web site.
Steve Holzer: It started with inviting 200 of our friends on Facebook.
Stoltze: Steve Holzer is a TV news producer in Los Angeles.
Holzer: We quickly learned that there were a couple of other people who came up with the same idea to have a day without gays where gays literally took the day off – went out on strike. And our Facebook invitation went from 200 on November 5th to at last check 750,000 people. And those are just the people on Facebook.”
Stoltze: Holzer hopes a million people will participate nationwide. The National Organization for Marriage, an opponent of same gender marriage, has described recent boycotts of businesses that supported Prop 8 a “new McCarthyism.” It’s launched a Web site to support those businesses.
East Indians around the world continue to process and respond to last week’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai. KPCC’s Brian Watt visited an Indian café and market in West Los Angeles.
Brian Watt: For the owner of India Sweets and Spices, Tarun Arora, the last few days have been filled with stories from customers who knew somebody the attacks have touched.
Tarun Arora: There was a friend of mine who walked in and said his dear friend was one of the top cops who got killed over there.
Watt: Arora came to the United States from New Delhi 26 years ago. He says the attacks have made India feel much closer.
His father, retired businessman Surinder Kumar, joined him in the Southland eight years ago. The elder Kumar worries that the attacks could ignite a dangerous conflict between two countries capable of making nuclear weapons.
Surinder Kumar: We are all brothers, you know. We have more Muslims in India than in Pakistan, you know. But you know, we have been living together. Why all this hatred? Why religion is coming in between?
Watt: Because of the hatred, Kumar says, all countries should redouble their efforts against terrorism, in India and everywhere else.
When they go online to Charity Navigator, or question nonprofit executives about the costs of overhead, Americans are asking the wrong questions about what it means to be responsible donors. That’s the main argument of a new book by charity entrepreneur Dan Palotta.
Dan Palotta: “We as a society have been trained to ask one question and one question only about charity, ‘What percentage of my donation goes to the cause?’ And it’s a really dangerous question that gives us useless information.”
Palotta, who’s operated long-distance bike rides to raise money for AIDS research, spoke with KPCC’s “AirTalk.”
He offered the example of two soup kitchens: one that allocates $.90 on the dollar to provide services, and another that uses $.70 per dollar that way. Palotta argued that while most contributors would assume that the first soup kitchen is worthier; donors who visit the second site might discover that the 70-cent soup kitchen runs a more efficient operation by spending more money on administration.
An employee of the UCLA Medical Center pleaded guilty today to obtaining a celebrity patient’s private data. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall says some of that information made its way into a tabloid newspaper.
It’s a felony violation of federal law to traffic in identifiable medical records for personal profit. In her guilty plea, Lawanda Jackson, an administrative specialist at UCLA Medical Center, admitted that she received at least $4600 from the National Enquirer. The publication made the checks out to her husband.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times earlier this year, Jackson had said she was “being nosy,” not intending to sell patient information, when she looked at the files. She now faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a quarter-million dollar fine.
In recent years, UCLA has had to contend with several confidentiality breaches after high-profile patients, including singer Britney Spears and actress Farrah Fawcett, checked into its medical center.
The university has conducted internal investigations and has disciplined dozens of employees, including doctors, for looking at the medical information of celebrity patients who were not under their care.
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India should take domestic security lessons from the United States. These are the thoughts of retired businessman Surinder Kumar. The 70-year-old moved to Los Angeles from New Delhi eight years ago.
Surinder Kumar: “After 9-11, there’s not a single incident that has happened in the U.S. That is an achievement for our outgoing president. Whether it is the, you know – due to homeland security, or whether it is due to people, or whether it is awareness, they know that America: we cannot touch. It’s not good.”
He urged patience and caution because India and Pakistan are capable of creating nuclear weapons.
Kumar now helps his son run the India Sweets and Spices market in West Los Angeles.
What’s the responsibility of a local sports team to its community? That question has been posed by none other than the president of the L.A. Dodgers, Jamie McCourt. She wondered aloud recently about whether the team should spend megabucks to sign star players, or build more local parks.
McCourt told KPCC’s “Patt Morrison” that she recognizes that it’s not an either/or proposition; she’s just trying to stimulate discussion.
Jamie McCourt: “The philosophical question that I was asking is, ‘What are our values right now, while people are having economic woes and losing jobs and worried about their futures?’ Shouldn’t we at least be asking the question about what’s important, and where are the family priorities, and what can we do with our role, you know, as far as the Dodgers are concerned?”
The Dodgers are currently trying to re-sign free agent Manny Ramirez to a deal that could cost more than $20 million a year.
Longstanding assumptions about the proper way to run charitable organizations are hampering their effectiveness, Dan Palotta argues.
The originator of high-profile fundraisers like long-distance bicycle tours for AIDS research told KPCC’s “AirTalk” that chronic diseases, homelessness, and hunger require the same approaches to problem-solving that successful corporations apply.
Dan Palotta: “We have to start asking, ‘What do you need to solve these problems? And let us provide it to you.’ We have to stop asking, ‘What is the Executive Director’s salary?’ And we have to start asking, ‘What kind of a CEO would you need to eradicate this problem, and what do you need to pay them?’ Then we can start to create real solutions to these problems.”
In his new book “Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential”, Palotta argues for competitive salaries to attract the most creative and productive thinkers to the nonprofit sector.
On this day after Thanksgiving, you can do plenty with the people closest to you – eat leftovers, take a long walk, go shopping, or observe Buy Nothing Day.
Radio documentary maker David Isay, founder of Story Corps, offers another suggestion. He’s promoting this as a “National Day of Listening.” The idea, Isay told KPCC’s “Patt Morrison,” is to sit down with a recording device and interview a relative, friend, or other loved one.
David Isay: “Just for a moment you’re going to be walking in the footsteps of someone who, on the surface, seems very, very on the surface different than you. But just for an instant, you’re going to be in their shoes. And that act of walking in their footsteps and recognizing our share of humanity, I think has a tremendous potential to build bridges between people.”
For tips on how to conduct your day of listening, go online to NPR.org.
- November 28, 2008 1:10 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
We’ve been asking Los Angeles residents to count their blessings this Thanksgiving.
David Nahai is the general manager of the Department of Water and Power. He says he knows he has many to count.
David Nahai: “Oh, I am thankful for so much – for my wife Gina and my children whose support and love I truly cherish. But you know, I toured the Northeast Valley with the mayor, and the tragedy that unfolded there with the recent fires is still palpable. So one has to remember people who perhaps have less to be thankful for.”
Nahai says the DWP has done that - its employees have taken up a collection for the victims of the Sylmar Fire to be given to the Red Cross.
Southern Californians know what they’re thankful for this Thanksgiving Day. Claudia Ortega is grateful for her 10-year old daughter - and the energy and strength to deal with her.
Claudia Ortega: “And I live by myself with her, so I help her to study. Which I didn’t do. And I would like her to go to college. And I am raising her by myself. So I thank God that I have I have power every day so I can help her.”
Claudia Ortega works at a supermarket in east Hollywood. She and her daughter are spending Thanksgiving with family.
- November 27, 2008 1:58 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
We’ve been asking Los Angeles residents what they’re thankful for this Thanksgiving. Miriam Rumjohn, a retired school principal, says even with the tough economy, she’s grateful for her citizenship.
Miriam Rumjohn: “I was born and raised in China, lived in Hong Kong. Since then have traveled quite a bit – Europe and all that. I’m still grateful to be here. I have faith in this country.
“Look at today’s papers, all that greed on everybody’s part. But! It’s wonderful here. I wouldn’t trade this for – Paris! I wouldn’t trade this for Paris, I love Paris, but I won’t trade for it.
“Going to church at my age is better than a turkey. I mean when I go get the eucharist it’s better than the gobble gobble.”
That was Miriam Rumjohn. She lives in Silverlake.
- November 27, 2008 1:56 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
It’s a tough Thanksgiving for a lot of people this year. But still, Angelenos are finding things to be thankful for. Janice Ascensio and Wilson Thomas were mindful of that as they loaded groceries into a car at a Silverlake supermarket.
Janice Ascensio: “I’m thankful I am a social worker, and I am able to buy a nice dinner for a client of mine and his three children he is raising by himself. Sixteen-pound turkey and all the stuff that goes with it.”
Wilson Thomas: “I am just thankful that I have good friends and people that love me and help me, ‘cause it’s kind of hard now and everything. But when you got family and friends, you’ll be okay. So I am thankful for that.”
That was Wilson Thomas, and Janice Ascensio. She works for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
- November 27, 2008 1:41 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
Travelers heading out of L.A. International Airport for the Thanksgiving holiday are a bit surprised to find that the place isn’t stuffed like a turkey. Josh Evans of Sherman Oaks found absolutely no line when he arrived to check in for his flight to Hawaii today. That’s where KPCC’s Susan Valot found Evans and his girlfriend.
Josh Evans: It’s difficult to go back home, and my football team is playing over there, so we’re going to go watch ‘em play and eat some turkey; pig turkey or something. (Laughs) Luau turkey!
Susan Valot: With poi.
Evans and Girlfriend: Yeah, yeah! (Laughing)
Valot: Evans’ football team is the Washington State University Cougars. Its season finale is in Hawaii’s Aloha Stadium this Saturday.
The Auto Club and other travel trackers predicted a small but significant drop in air and car trips this Thanksgiving because Americans have less money to spend.
Many Southland organizations are distributing food to people in need this Thanksgiving. And that’s going a long way during these tough economic times. Just ask 49-year-old Salinda Butler of Long Beach. She waited in line for a food basket at the Longshoremen Union’s hall in Wilmington.
Salinda Butler: “I am thankful for all the places that are offering help. Especially since I’m disabled and at the moment, my husband is temporarily disabled, and we have six children.
“And all these places that are helping, especially this place, I really appreciate it, because otherwise we really wouldn’t have anything for Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I’m thankful to be alive and to have these people.”
Butler learned about the union’s efforts at the church where she volunteers to help feed the homeless.
- November 26, 2008 4:37 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
Some goodies – sweet potatoes, cranberries, and dressing – return to the table every Thanksgiving. But old favorites may assume new forms to satisfy modern tastes, says Susan Feniger. The chef and co-owner of the Border Grill and Ciudad restaurants told KPCC’s “Patt Morrison” that’s also true when it comes to choosing the turkey.
Susan Feniger: “There are all those traditional dishes and so I think you know when you’re going to the grocery store or if you’re ordering your turkey, you know obviously – I think people are most aware of now more than ever of getting hormone-free turkeys that aren’t all shot up.”
Whether or not turkey is the centerpiece of your meal tomorrow, Feniger and her partner-in-cuisine Mary Sue Milliken recommend that cooks make two lists - one of the ingredients you need to pick up, and the other of everything you can do in advance to prepare for the feast.
- November 26, 2008 3:56 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
When it comes to being thankful this Thanksgiving, this fall’s financial meltdown has put the basics front and center for many southern Californians.
Michael Wolf: “My name is Michael Wolf, I live in Whittier, California. What am I thankful for? Being alive and having a job. It’s just hard to have a job these days.”
Michael Wolf works at a solar installation plant just south of downtown Los Angeles.
- November 26, 2008 3:40 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
It’s the time of year to count your blessings. KPCC’s Molly Peterson asked a Westwood parking lot manager what he’s thankful for.
Arturo Aguilar: My name is Arturo Aguilar. I’m expecting my first kid anytime, anytime.
Molly Peterson: Do you know whether it’s going to be a boy or a girl?
Aguilar: It’s going to be a boy. And I’m happy!
Aguilar’s wife is nine months pregnant. He says he has a name already picked out for his son – appropriate for the season: it’s Angel.
- November 26, 2008 3:28 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
The sandbags are up. The concrete barriers are in place. Now, people who live in Orange County’s recently-burned areas are waiting for the rain. Officials in Yorba Linda have already called for a voluntary evacuation of three neighborhoods, including the Box Canyon area and the Brush Canyon area.
Orange County Assistant Emergency Manager Vicki Osborn told her county’s Board of Supervisors this morning that the agency will station extra patrols in the burn areas once the rain starts. Osborn says the heaviest rain’s expected overnight.
Vicki Osborn: “Air support between county fire, county sheriff, and Anaheim will be coordinated to ensure that we have a helicopter available night-long for recon missions so we have eyes in the sky as best we can.”
Emergency officials have also established the Tommy Lasorda Fieldhouse in Yorba Linda as an evacuee shelter if needed.
For the 11th year, the International Longshore and Warehouse Workers Union’s distributed Thanksgiving food baskets to families in need. Twenty-three-year-old Tabitha Romero is a “casual” – or an apprentice – with the union. She called the opportunity to help assemble the baskets a blessing during tough economic times.
Tabitha Romero: “I can do something to give back to the community that has done so much for me, and you know, it’s a way that I feel less guilty about the things that I have, as long as I’m actively seeking ways to help others that are less fortunate than myself.”
The union works with outreach organizations and shelters to distribute more than 1,500 baskets. Each one includes a 10-pound turkey, stuffing and cornbread mix, rice, beans, canned goods, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Throughout the Southland, organizations are sponsoring similar food distribution efforts through Thanksgiving.
- November 25, 2008 4:40 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
Weather permitting, L.A.’s Griffith Park will be the setting for an evening stroll under the holiday lights, starting tomorrow night.
KPCC’s Cheryl Devall says that through Sunday, December 7th, pedestrians will have the annual Holiday Light Festival all to themselves.
Cheryl Devall: For the 13th year of the light show, walkers will be able to enjoy the mile-long route through Griffith Park without having to share the road with cars. Festival organizers suggest that visitors wear jackets for the cool weather, and comfortable shoes. Next weekend, the final three pedestrian-only nights will include a family fair with refreshments and information about fun activities for all ages.
The free attraction, a Southland seasonal favorite sponsored by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, is open from 5 to 10 every evening. Starting Monday, December 8th, cars, vans, light trucks, and riders on horseback will be welcome at the Holiday Light Festival… every night through December 30th.
Note: Bicycle riders get the park tonight until 10 for another zero-emissions tradition - the light festival’s bike-only preview.
A local assistance center for victims of this week’s Sayre fire is opening Thursday in Sylmar. Details from KPCC’s Cheryl Devall.
Cheryl Devall: Federal, state, and local agencies will offer help with licenses and permits, housing and health concerns, tax questions, and unemployment benefits. The idea is to provide a one-stop resource center for fire victims.
Information about services will be available at the Sylmar Recreation Center starting at 9 in the morning through the weekend and into next week. The assistance center will be closed on Thanksgiving and the day after.
A similar facility has already opened at the East Anaheim Gymnasium to assist victims of the Freeway Complex fire. State and federal disaster declarations in response to this week’s wildfires in five Southland counties have made emergency money available to meet a variety of needs.
Details on Local Assistance Centers
The Sylmar Recreation Center
13109 Borden Avenue
Opens Thursday 11/20 at 9 a.m.
The daily hours of operation: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
East Anaheim Gymnasium
8165 E. Santa Ana Canyon Road
Daily hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
1232 De La Vina Street
Daily hours Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- November 19, 2008 6:20 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
By JUSTIN PRITCHARD Associated Press Writer
DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (AP) — More residents of Southern California were urged to leave their homes Sunday despite calming winds that allowed a major aerial attack on wildfires that have destroyed hundreds of homes and blanketed the region in smoke.
Fires burned in Los Angeles County, to the east in Riverside and Orange counties, and to the northwest in Santa Barbara County. More than 800 houses, mobile homes and apartments were destroyed by fires that have burned areas more than 34 square miles since breaking out Thursday.
No deaths have been reported, but police brought in trained dogs Sunday morning to search the rubble of a mobile home park where nearly 500 homes were destroyed. They didn’t find any bodies after searching about a third of the homes.
“This has been a very tough few days for the people of Southern California,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said after touring damage.
The smell of smoke pervaded metropolitan Los Angeles. Downtown skyscrapers were silhouettes in an opaque sky, and concerns about air quality forced organizers to cancel a marathon in suburban Pasadena where 8,000 runners had planned to participate.
Fierce Santa Ana winds that fanned the fires on Saturday weakened Sunday morning, allowing firefighters to set backfires to prevent flames from advancing to hillside neighborhoods. Air tankers swooped low over suburbs, red fire retardant billowing from their bellies as they painted defensive lines between brushlands and homes. Big helicopters shuttled back and forth on water drops.
The most threatening blaze had scorched more than 16 square miles in Orange and Riverside counties after erupting Saturday and shooting through subdivisions entwined with wilderness parklands. Multimillion-dollar homes were threatened in Diamond Bar in Los Angeles County as the out-of-control fire pushed northward.
Fire officials on Sunday morning ordered 1,400 more residents to evacuate, in addition to 26,500 who had already been told to leave.
Retired aerospace engineer Joe Gomez, who has lived in his palm-tree-lined Diamond Bar neighborhood for 45 years, stayed put despite being under a mandatory evacuation.
“I’m trying to use some logic here,” said Gomez, 72, trying to gauge the direction of the wind and flames. “I don’t think it’s going to come down this way.”
In the early morning, winds pushed flames dangerously close to a church and adjacent mobile home park in the Olinda Village area north of Yorba Linda, but firefighters were able to beat it back. Only one mobile home was lost.
Little fire activity was apparent in Orange County after dark Sunday, but the official containment estimate remained at zero.
On Saturday, the fire burned 119 homes in the communities of Corona, Yorba Linda and Anaheim. In addition, 50 units of an apartment complex burned, Orange County fire spokeswoman Angela Garbiso said.
Capt. Guy Melker of the Los Angeles County Fire Department stood on a balcony of a multimillion-dollar home in Diamond Bar, looking down into a canyon with flames on the far side.
“It’s an interesting chess game right now,” Melker said. “Sometimes Mother Nature puts us in check, and our job is to put her in checkmate.”
As Melker spoke, a small spotter plane slipped low across a ridge, followed by a big air tanker that dropped its load along a ridge.
In the Orange County city of Brea, fire destroyed the main building of a high school.
About 50 miles to the northwest, a large fire that torched a mobile home park in the Sylmar area of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley had moved into the rugged San Gabriel Mountains and was burning vigorously - but well outside the city.
Authorities said Sunday that 484 of the Oakridge Mobile Home Park’s 608 units were lost. The fire also destroyed nine single-family homes and 11 commercial buildings.
The park was home to many elderly residents, and though no fatalities were reported and no one was reported missing, investigators were searching the site using trained dogs. The search was about 30 percent complete by midday Sunday.
“To this point no human remains have been found,” said Deputy Police Chief Michael Moore.
Fire officials estimated that at the peak of the Sylmar fire, 10,000 people were ordered to evacuate. However, many evacuation orders were lifted Saturday night, Fire Department spokesman Ron Haralson said. Five looting arrests were reported.
About 90 miles northwest of Sylmar, a 3-square-mile fire that began in the upscale Santa Barbara County community of Montecito on Thursday night was 75 percent contained by Sunday morning after injuring at least 25 people.
County spokesman William Boyer said 130 homes burned in the city of Santa Barbara and 80 burned in adjacent Montecito. Some of those destroyed were multimillion-dollar homes with ocean views. All evacuees but those from 260 homes were allowed to return by Sunday night.
Associated Press writers Shaya Tayefe Mohajer, Alex Veiga and Alicia Chang contributed to this report.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
CAL FIRE Incident Information
Sayre Fire Information - L.A. Fire Department
Sayre Fire Evacuation Info
Triangle Complex Fire Information - CAL FIRE
Tea Fire Information - Santa Barbara County
Discuss on our blog
Among the Veterans Day tributes today was a message from Congresswoman Hilda Solis that included the names of recent war dead from East L.A. and the San Gabriel Valley. KPCC’s Nick Roman says if you examine that list closely, you’ll get a sense of what war’s about.
Nick Roman: It’s often about bad luck away from battle – Marine Corporal Rudy Salas of Baldwin Park was killed in a vehicle crash in Iraq four years ago. Army Specialist Marisol Heredia of El Monte died last year, an agonizing 50 days after she’d suffered bad burns in an accident. She was 19.
Army Sergeant First Class Kelly Bolor was 37 when he died. The Army reservist from Whittier was one of 17 soldiers killed five years ago when two helicopters collided above the Iraqi town of Mosul.
The East L.A. and San Gabriel Valley war dead also reflect the tactics of war. Army Sergeant Atanasio Haro-Marin of Baldwin Park died five years ago in a firefight at an Iraqi checkpoint. Army Private First Class Chad Trimble of Covina was killed last May by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.
And then there’s Marine Lance Corporal Manuel Ceniceros, who was killed in battle in Iraq four years ago. He’d been saving up for a wedding at East L.A.’s Our Lady of Solitude Catholic Church. They held his funeral there instead.
- November 11, 2008 4:21 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
Southland voters are weighing in on the issues that’ll influence who they vote for on Election Day.
Ed Farrell is an attorney from La Crescenta.
Ed Farrell: “I’m concerned about affordable health care and affordable college costs for my kids. I have two; one is in college and one’s about to go to college. And the one who’s in college, the tuition’s killing me… It’s quite a burden on any family, I would think, to do a college education.”
While Farrell has medical insurance through his job, he realizes that a lot of people struggle to get good coverage for their families. He said the next president needs to focus on the middle class, because they’re the people who scrimp to cover these costs.
We’ll keep bringing you voters’ voices through November 4.
The Sky Terrace Mobile Home Park in the northeast San Fernando Valley suffered the most damage during the Marek Fire. Thirty-six of the park’s 60 mobile homes were scorched. KPCC’s Patricia Nazario caught up with one homeowner today in the Red Cross Shelter at San Fernando High School.
Patricia Nazario: Even though she’d just lost the roof over her head, 76-year-old Celi Garrett seemed extraordinarily upbeat.
Celi Garrett: That was my dream home. My heaven on earth. I absolutely loved it.
Nazario: Garrett said she lived at the Sky Terrace Mobile Home Park almost 22 years. She’d spent Saturday night at a friend’s house, so when flames bombarded the place early Sunday morning, she wasn’t home to grab anything.
Garrett: No checkbook, no bills, no clothes.
Nazario: Garrett said she’s already begun reconstructing her life. That included a phone call to her homeowner’s insurance company.
Garrett: …And you don’t know what they’re going to do. I hope it’ll be all right.
Nazario: What did they say to you?
Garrett: They ask the questions; “How long have you lived there?” So, I gave them all the information. You know how it is. “We’ll get back to you in two weeks,” or whatever it is.
Nazario: Until then, Garrett said she plans to stay at her best girlfriend’s house.
Other families whose trailers withstood the flames aren’t sure they’ll have homes to return to. Up the road from the mobile home park is the Valley Crest Tree Company. Its neighbors worry that burnt pesticide residues and smoke damage from that business might make their homes unlivable.
Los Angeles County’s housing authority plans to speed up the process to obtain federal Section Eight housing assistance for some fire victims.
Property owners from the Sky Terrace Mobile Home Park are getting first dibs on 50 vouchers. Fia Phillips, a manager with the county agency that administers the program, said there won’t be a waiting list.
Fia Phillips: “Because of the situation they’re in, we can expedite their applications. Hopefully their criminal background comes back okay. Everything goes through all right with their eligibility; we’re looking at two weeks.”
Phillips said it usually takes twice as long to process applications. She added that people can wait as long as 10 years for a Section 8 vacancy in Los Angeles.
The Sky Terrace Mobile Home Park suffered the most fire damage during the Marek Fire in the northeastern San Fernando Valley. The fire destroyed 36 of the park’s 60 mobile homes.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency today for Los Angeles and Ventura counties. In Bonita Canyon, an area of Newport Beach, Brett Jones was watching TV when police knocked on his door ordering everyone to evacuate.
Brett Jones: “We got everybody out of the house, and I got my dog and my laptop and I went outside and started hosing down the backyard and tried to hose down the roof. And they made us get out; I did my best.”
Jones is safe with his family now. He hopes to return home soon. Two bigger fires have kept crews busy in the San Fernando Valley. In Porter Ranch, a fire has burned more than 3,000 acres. Yet another fire has consumed over 5300 acres in Lake View Terrace.
KPCC’s Frank Stoltze is in Sylmar near an emergency responders’ staging area. He caught up with Ron Vanderford, who was handing out doughnuts to firefighters.
Ron Vanderford: Reason for my being up here is number one, I like to do something for the firefighters and police, but my wife has a flock of about 55 sheep up the canyon and I can’t get up there to water or feed them, so I’m trying to find out if the sheep are okay or not. And the only way I know is to come and ask.
Frank Stoltze: So you’re hoping to ply some information with the doughnuts?
Vanderford: Well, ya know, you got to kinda bribe your way past the cops.
Stoltze: Where exactly do you live?
Vanderford: We live in Burbank, but my wife teaches sheep dog herding. We have trailers and we can get the sheep out. But only if it’s safe to go in and get them out.
That’s KPCC’s Frank Stoltze with concerned sheep owner Ron Vanderford.
As more families cope with the slowing economy by cutting back on spending, some independent contractors are being forced to think about alternative ways to earn a living.
Avetis Alepin is a San Fernando Valley-based plumber. He says his clientele has been shrinking over the last year.
Avetis Alepin: “People, they have broken stuff, faucets, ya’ know, Jacuzzis, and they don’t have the money to pay for it. To get it fixed. That means I’m going to be out of a job. No business.”
Alepin says he’s considering taking a job with a big company, and former competitor, to weather the hard times.
Stretching the same paycheck to make ends meet has some families reconsidering what they drive.
Maria Llamas has four young children. Just last month, she says, she and her husband traded in their eight-cylinder SUV for a four-cylinder sedan.
Maria Llamas: “Because it would save me money on gas. It would save me money while doing other stuff. I could buy more groceries than from before.”
Llamas says as part of her family’s money-saving plans, she actually quit her full time job. After adding up the numbers, she found that she could save on child-care costs by working part time.
These tough economic times are making it even tougher for folks who were already down on their luck.
Wendy Avalos and her husband Michael live in a van. They wash cars for tips to get by, but say car owners are giving less.
Wendy Avalos: “They’re really tight on what they give you, because of the economy. So, they don’t have enough money to spend, so they’ll basically say, ‘No, I’ll wash it myself.’ Or, ‘No it’s okay,’ or… you know?”
Avalos says she has an associate’s degree in criminal justice but hasn’t been able to find a job for a year.
If you’re looking for something to do Sunday morning that the whole family can enjoy, the Bow-Wows and Meows Pet Fair starts at 11 o’clock. KPCC’s Patricia Nazario says you might get a good laugh from the popular dog talent show.
Patricia Nazario: The event is open to all dogs, and they just have to show up for some categories, like Biggest/Smallest, Longest Tail/Largest Ears, and Most Spots. But Fido will actually have to work to compete in some other categories: “Best Vocalist,” the anything-goes “Silly Pet Tricks.”
The 8th Annual Bow-Wows and Meows Pet Fair will have dozens of vendors’ tents with tables set up selling everything from pet food to pet services, low-cost vaccines, and spay/neuter referrals. Organizers also set aside a grassy area with jumpers for the kids.
The event at Newhall’s William S. Hark Park is open from 11 to 4 o’clock, and admission is free. Los Angeles County Animal Shelter officials also hope people will also open up their hearts and adopt a pet. Shelter officials placed more than 600 homeless animals at the last seven pet fairs.
- October 10, 2008 2:39 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
Proposition 2 on the November ballot would prohibit ranchers from keeping egg-producing hens, pigs, and veal calves in cages that are too confining. The measure requires enough room for animals to stand up, turn around, and fully extend their legs.
Opponents of Prop 2 claim that the method of using so-called “battery cages” is the most efficient way to produce eggs, and say the new rules would decimate California’s egg industry.
Humane Society president and CEO Wayne Pacelle told KPCC’s Larry Mantle he thinks that argument is ridiculous.
Wayne Pacelle: “The fact is almost all of these producers who have the factory farm type… battery cages that don’t allow the animals to even fully extend their wings, they also do cage-free. And the market for cage-free is expected to increase by up to 50 percent in the next five to 10 years.”
If approved, California’s Prop 2 would set the strictest standards in the nation with regard to the humane treatment of farm animals.
The new rules would take effect in 2015. Violators would be fined $1000.
LINK: Yes on Prop 2
LINK: No on Prop 2
Proposition 8 is surely the highest profile ballot measure before California voters this November. KPCC’s Brian Watt tells us the campaigns for and against it are bringing in a lot of cash.
Brian Watt: Prop 8 would amend California’s constitution to recognize marriages only between men and women.
Its chief supporter, the “Protect Marriage Coalition,” has raised $25 million so far. On its Web site, the coalition points out that 95 percent of its contributors are in California.
A group called “Equality for All” leads the opposition to Prop 8. It’s raised about $16 million.
Both sides are running television ads, and in California, that’s an expensive proposition of its own. So it’s no surprise that the campaign over same-sex marriage is costing more in the Golden State than it has anywhere else.
Twenty-four states have put the issue to their voters in the last four years. California’s battle has already brought in more cash than all those states combined.
LINK: Equality for All
A summit that drew about 500 black and Latino activists from around the country wrapped up today in Downtown Los Angeles. KPCC’s Adolfo Guzman-Lopez was there and asked organizer Angela Glover Blackwell if participants discussed racial tensions between blacks and Latinos.
Angela Glover Blackwell: This summit is meant to address one thing that came out strongly, and that is that the media has made a bigger deal and drawn more attention to the negative than it has lifted up the positive. While people acknowledge that tensions exist, we think the media has made it look disproportionate.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Give me an example of the people who attended and what they’re saying is happening in their neighborhoods, and how the discussions came about in the summit.
Blackwell: The list is really endless, whether we’re talking about the Bus Riders Union here in Los Angeles, black and Latino coming together to deal with the issue of transportation, or whether we’re talking about groups in Oakland, California working to bring in a grocery store to serve underserved communities.
This summit was called the Black Latino Summit, Solidarity for American’s Future. We really hope that as the demographics begin to shift that we can model, that the stewardship that will be brought in will not just repeat the past but it will really demonstrate to the nation that we can build a truly inclusive society with a vibrant democracy.
Guzman-Lopez: At the conclusion of the National Black and Latino Summit, I’m Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, 89.3 KPCC
A two-day “National Black and Latino Summit” concluded in downtown Los Angeles today. The event attracted activists from around the country. Summit organizer Angela Glover Blackwell said the idea came out of a social equity conference earlier this year in New Orleans.
Angela Glover Blackwell: “We decided that we needed to start focusing on the alliance-building part of the equation, and therefore we had this summit to really be able to come together, talk about policy, share some cultural and artistic experiences, and spend most of the time talking about how we build strong alliances across black/Latino communities.”
Monday, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told summit participants that lifting blacks and Latinos out of poverty would go a long way toward easing social tensions between the two groups. Other participants included state senator and candidate for the L.A. County Board of Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Latino voting expert Antonio Gonzalez. Organizers plan a follow up event in Washington, D.C. this spring.
Los Angeles police say a man facing financial troubles killed his wife, three children, and mother-in-law in an upscale San Fernando Valley neighborhood over the weekend. It happened in a gated community in Porter Ranch. KPCC’s Frank Stoltze reports officers made the discovery this morning.
Frank Stoltze: LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Moore says officers went to the home after a neighbor called police concerned the wife hadn’t shown up to go to work.
Deputy Chief Michael Moore: Upon entering the home behind me, they found the remains of an entire family; six people dead in what we have now determined to be a murder-suicide.
Stoltze: Moore says the husband and father shot to death his three sons, ages 19, 12 and 7, his 39-year-old wife, and his 69-year-old mother-in-law, before turning the gun on himself. Police found two letters.
Moore: First was a suicide letter addressed to law enforcement. In it, the suspect alluded to having a string of financial difficulties and confessed that he killed his family because of those difficulties.
A second letter was addressed to friends. Police said the man held a Masters of Business Administration in finance and formerly worked for PriceWaterhouseCooper and Sony Pictures, but had been unemployed for several months. The family had lived in the house for about a year, but did not own it. Police say the man bought the handgun last month and apparently had been planning the murder suicide for several weeks.
Los Angeles pet owners who can’t afford the cost of spaying or neutering their cat or dog will get help from the city. The Los Angeles Department of Animal Services offers vouchers for free or discounted sterilization procedures.
The program is part of a new law requiring that most dogs and cats over four months of age be spayed or neutered. Ordinance co-author L.A. City Councilman Tony Cardenas says the vouchers will help L.A. become a city that euthanizes as few pets as possible.
Councilman Tony Cardenas: “We show compassion for the animal community by having them spayed and neutered so we can get to a ‘no-kill’ city. And at the same time, I want to make sure that this ordinance factors in families of all communities. I want people to be able to comply with the law, not just worry about it.”
Seniors, permanently disabled people, and those who earn less than $40,000 a year may obtain certificates for free service. For other pet-owners, there’s a $30 discount coupon.
More information is available online at laanimalservices.com.
- October 3, 2008 6:11 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
Woe to those who travel in and through the downtown Los Angeles area tomorrow, especially on the 110 freeway. KPCC’s Debra Baer says unless you’ve already got a ticket to one of the many events planned, or unless gridlock is your favorite form of entertainment, you’ll want to stay away.
Debra Baer: At least a couple hundred thousand people are planning to attend three big sporting events Saturday evening: USC’s football Trojans meet Oregon at the Coliseum starting at 5. UCLA faces off against Washington State at the Rose Bowl at 7. And in the National League baseball playoffs, the Dodgers host the Cubs, also at 7.
At the same time, fans of the enduringly popular and enduring crooner Neil Diamond will be making their pilgrimage to Staples Center. The concert starts at 8. Also Saturday night, the Oscar-winning singing duo from the indie film “Once” is performing at the Greek Theater in Griffith Park. Oh, and there’s a fundraiser for Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton is the star attraction, if she can manage to make her way downtown to 2nd Street.
For only the second time in American history, a woman and a man will debate one another in the vice presidential forum. Democratic Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware faces off against Alaska’s Republican Governor Sarah Palin tonight in St. Louis. A popular scholar of gender and communication, Deborah Tannen, spoke with KPCC’s “Patt Morrison” about the dynamics of this debate.
Deborah Tannen: “What’s gonna be going on tonight that’s so interesting is that people are going to be watching it through the gendered lens as much as the way they behave will reflect a gendered lens.”
Tannen teaches in Georgetown University’s linguistics department. You can catch the Palin-Biden debate live tonight at 6 on KPCC
Starting today, cat and dog owners in the city of Los Angeles must get their pets spayed or neutered. KPCC’s Brian Watt has more.
Brian Watt: The law took effect in April, and its grace period is over.
It’s simple: If your dog or cat is four months old or older, get it spayed or neutered. There are exceptions, of course.
Pets that compete or show as breeds approved by the Animal Services Commission get a pass. The same goes for service, guide, police, military, and rescue dogs, and those that have earned or are working towards a special title in herding or agility. Licensed vets can certify that an animal should not be spayed or neutered for health reasons.
The L.A. City Council sought to reduce the number of pets that people abandon and euthanize each year. Fines for violations start at $100 and increase from there.
Sterilizing a pet is not cheap, so the City Council also approved an ordinance that would provide the service for free, or at a discount, for pet owners who can’t pay the vet full price.
Note: More information about the law is available online at laanimalservices.com
By now, we all know about how long, and how much, it takes to rescue Wall Street. But how about Main Street? In San Bernardino, it could take another 5 or 10 years. That’s about how long urban planners say it’ll take to revitalize the struggling downtown shopping district.
San Bernardino is holding a series of public workshops on a plan to transform downtown. One goal is to spruce up a shopping mall that’s filled with vacant shops. Longtime resident Michael Agnew says there’s still hope.
Michael Agnew: “San Bernardino has gone though a difficult time as many other cities, and now we have new policies and directions for urban design and development of cities where people can have a lot more opportunities. And this is their opportunity to do it right.”
Urban planners will take nine months or so to sketch out a proposal for downtown revitalization. The weak economy might keep the City of San Bernardino from moving ahead with the proposal. But urban designers say it pays to plan ahead.
For more than 50 years, federal rules have said a tax-exempt group that endorses a political candidate in public endangers its tax-exempt status. This Sunday, more than 30 pastors from around the country plan to challenge those rules. The aim is to force the IRS to enforce those rules so the ministers can get a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Among those who’ll preach politics from the pulpit is Wiley Drake, the well-known conservative Christian minister from Buena Park. Drake told KPCC’s “Patt Morrison” that it’s wrong to restrict him from saying what he wants say to his congregation.
Wiley Drake: “The church will not be endorsing anybody. The church can’t endorse. The church is an entity, not someone that can endorse. But when the IRS and the government says they want to restrict what a pastor can say, they are in violation of the constitution.”
While Drake and other conservative Christian pastors challenge the IRS rules, other religious leaders. including rabbis and imams. have signed a pledge to refrain from political speech.
Journalists throughout the country are remembering a pioneer who helped open doors for many others in her field. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall says Nancy Maynard died in Los Angeles yesterday.
Cheryl Devall: If not for black women like Nancy Hicks Maynard, this journalist might be doing something else for a living. From childhood, Maynard cultivated an interest in newspapers &nash; and in whose stories they weren’t telling. By the time she was 23, she was the first black woman on the metro reporting staff of the New York Times.
Her contributions to the field extended beyond reporting, into media ownership and training. With her late husband Robert Maynard, she purchased the Oakland Tribune in the early 1980s. To this day, it remains the country’s only major metropolitan daily to have operated under black ownership.
Thirty years ago, the Maynards also launched the Institute for Journalism Education, an organization that’s trained and helped advance the careers of thousands of people from the internship level to upper management. In recent years, from her base in Santa Monica, Nancy Maynard continued to write, speak, and consult widely, always promoting the importance of newsroom diversity. She was 61 years old when she died.
UC Irvine is launching a new institute that will study how people with little money use what money they have. Maybe that sounds pointless, but KPCC’s Nick Roman says there’s a very important point to the research.
Nick Roman: UCI’s new Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion will study how the world’s “last billion,” the poorest of the poor, spend and save money. The aim is to help the “last billion” do something they’ve never done before: use banks to grow their money, and grow out of poverty.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is paying for the research center. Its focus will be on developing financial products for poor people, like “M-banking.” That stands for “mobile banking.” In parts of the world, there aren’t many banks, but there are lots of cell phones.
In Africa, the telecommunications firm Safaricom offers an M-banking service to transfer money securely by text message. The new institute at UCI will study it. Irvine anthropologist Bill Maurer is the institute’s founding director. He says M-banking has exploded thanks to computer and phone innovations, but there’s been little research into how people actually use it. That’s his job now.
In the days before you could Google “best Thai restaurant in Glendale,” the man to ask about restaurants was Elmer Dills. The longtime radio and TV critic has died. He was 82. KPCC’s Special Correspondent Kitty Felde reports.
Kitty Felde: Long before food writer Jonathan Gold won a Pulitzer Prize for his restaurant critiques, Los Angeles had Elmer Dills. For more than three decades, Dills dispensed restaurant reviews and recommendations on his KABC radio show and on Channel 7. He usually featured inexpensive and unusual restaurants that gave value for the dollar.
Elmer Dills: The ribs, the brisket, the chicken, the sausage, slowly smoked with pecan and hickory wood and spices…
Felde: Dills later broadcast his show on KIEV radio. For more than a decade, wrote a weekly column for the “PennySaver.” He finally retired this year. Dills reportedly developed his love for wining and dining during his 20 years with the CIA. He’s not the only spy with a passion for food: Julia Child worked for the CIA’s predecessor, the OSS, during World War II.
Former newscaster and radio talk show host George Putnam died this morning. He was 94 years old. From the 1950s through the mid-1970s Putnam anchored the news on local stations including KTTV and KTLA. Michael Horn is President of CRN digital radio. He told KPCC’s AirTalk that Putnam helped inspire the fictitious anchorman that actor Ted Knight played on the Mary Tyler Moore show.
Michael Horn: “That Ted Baxter character was actually patterned after him; when Ted Knight was trying to look for a way to go in that character, he studied George. I think he studied Jerry Dunphy a little bit. And George always said he got the best stuff from him.”
Putnam went on to host the “Talk Back” radio show. It ran most recently on CRN digital radio. Audiences knew Putnam for his conservative views, but he claimed to be a “lifelong Democrat.”
On the same day observances took place to remember the events of September 11, six Nobel Peace Prize winners arrived on the campus of Loyola Marymount University for a conference.
At the three-day PeaceJam Global Call to Action, the Nobel laureates are exchanging ideas with 3,000 young people from around the world about community service projects. Jody Williams of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines won the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.
Jody Williams: “I invite anybody who believes that youth don’t care: Come along with any one of us to a PeaceJam. Watch what those young people do. Watch them become empowered because we take the time to listen to them.”
Also listening at the conference are Central American indigenous rights activist Rigoberta Menchu and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.
Housing prices are dropping all over Southern California. So are mortgage rates. But it’s no good if you can’t get a loan. KPCC’s Special Correspondent Kitty Felde says the days when banks would lend money to anyone who could fog up a mirror are over.
So you’ve found the home of your dreams. It’s a real bargain in a market driven by a flood of foreclosures. But what does it take to get a mortgage?
Irma Vargas of the Beverly Hills/Greater L.A. Association of Realtors says it all depends on three things: Good credit, proof that your income is what you say it is, and a willingness to put a chunk of money down.
Irma Vargas: “I think the crux is down payment. I don’t see too many – I’ve not done one lately where it’s no money down. The banks just won’t go for that. You’ve got to put some money down, even if it’s just 10 percent. And even there, they’re kind of hesitant. But if you’ve got 20 percent down, then it’s easier to get a loan, as long as you’ve got good credit. But the documentation has to be there now.”
Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages have dropped below 6 percent. That’s the biggest one-week drop in nearly three decades.
This November’s presidential election will be the first time thousands of new American citizens will cast their ballots. Thirty-year-old Aldo Soriano was born in Mexico. He says he wanted to become a U.S. citizen so he could vote.
Aldo Soriano: “Definitely, the most important issues, I think, is family values and crime. Make sure schools are doing good. All those things are pretty much, are very, very important to me.”
Judges swore in more than 18,000 new citizens today during three ceremonies at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Volunteers from the John McCain and Barack Obama campaigns set up tables inside the facility to register the new voters.
This September 11th is bittersweet for thousands of new American citizens who took their oath of allegiance today in Southern California. KPCC’s Patricia Nazario stopped by the Los Angeles Convention Center for this afternoon’s swearing-in ceremony.
Patricia Nazario: Officials swore in about 6,100 people during the 1 o’clock ceremony. It was one of three the convention center scheduled for the day. California Central District Federal Judge Dale Fisher took a moment to thank the group for changing her perspective about this solemn date in American history.
She said that for the last seven years, September 11th has been a sad day. From now on, she told the new citizens, she’ll remember it differently. Many of the new citizens registered to vote in November’s election before they left the convention center. They named the war in Iraq and the lagging economy as factors that would influence their choice for the Oval Office.
Note: More than 18,000 new citizens were scheduled for swearing in at the convention center today.
Los Angeles City officials gathered today to remember the September 11th attacks. KPCC’s Frank Stoltze reports.
Frank Stoltze: They gathered at the fire department’s training center north of downtown. A fragment of the ruined World Trade Center stands there as a memorial to the more than 300 firefighters who lost their lives on September 11th. Los Angeles City Fire Chief Doug Barry:
Chief Doug Barry: “Let us all rededicate ourselves to serve as they served and renew our resolve to be courageous, committed, and to be self-sacrificing.”
Stoltze: Bradley Burlingame of L.A. lost his brother in the attacks. “Chic” Burlingame was the pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, bound for L.A. International Airport.
Bradley Burlingame: “We grew up in Anaheim and he wanted to celebrate his birthday the next day by attending an Angels baseball game. Like you, on that morning I was immediately worried when I saw the events and I tried calling his cell.”
Stoltze: His brother never answered. A short time later, Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.
Six Nobel Peace Prize winners are attending the PeaceJam global conference that began today on the campus of Loyola Marymount University. The non-profit PeaceJam aims to create a new generation of leaders by allowing young people to exchange ideas with Nobel Peace Prize laureates.
Thirteen-year-old Sasha Kanji of Malibu is one of 3,000 young people from around the world at the conference. He plans to present his latest project to Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.
Sasha Kanji: “I just went to Sudan, and I went to refugee camps. Not on the Darfur side, but the other side. And I helped and I’m actually building a school there, because their schools there are just– you see it and it’s just like a dirt floor with a bunch of rubble and rocks.”
Kanji says that despite the condition of the schools, education is the only way out for the kids in the refugee camps. Central American indigenous rights activist Rigoberta Menchu and Jody Williams of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines are among the Nobel Peace laureates in attendance.
For the seventh time this year, a Los Angeles County infant has landed unharmed at a “safe surrender” location. Details on the story from KPCC’s Cheryl Devall.
Cheryl Devall: The baby boy’s mother left him at a hospital in Valencia, where medical staff say he’s in good health. L.A. County has placed him in protective custody until Children and Family Services finds an adoptive family for him.
The county’s “safe surrender” program allows adults to deposit newborns at designated places, like hospitals and fire stations, without facing penalties, if the child shows no signs of abuse. County authorities intended the program to reduce the number of abandoned babies.
In seven years, the program has accepted 69 infants. The mother of this week’s surrendered child says she found out about “safe surrender” by reading a brochure. To learn more about the program, go online to babysafela.org.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety presents findings on teen driving to Governors Highway Safety Association conference
Auto accidents kill more American teens than any other cause. But states have hesitated to raise the driving age; most, including California, allow 16-year-olds behind the wheel. Russ Rader with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety told KPCC’s Patt Morrison that the accident rate is lower where the youngest drivers face restrictions before they qualify for full licenses.
Russ Rader: “States have been very successful at reducing teen deaths over the last 10 years, through phased-in graduated licensing programs that phase in a license over time to give teens more experience in less-risky situations, and taking them out of the most risky situations, like driving at night and driving with other teens in the vehicle. And that has reduced 16-year-old crash rates, for example, by about 40 percent over the last 10 years.”
Rader’s organization supports raising the driving age. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety presented its findings today to the annual conference of the Governors Highway Safety Association.
The effort to preserve downtown Long Beach’s main library has a new ally who’s set to deliver a fiery speech tomorrow afternoon. More on the story from KPCC’s Adolfo Guzman-Lopez.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Writer Ray Bradbury underlined the importance of books to a free society in his classic Fahrenheit 451. The novel portrays a future in which leaders censor information by burning books. Bradbury’s speech is about the importance of books today and the role of libraries tomorrow.
In Long Beach that’s a hot topic. A proposal from city hall would close the main library downtown while city leaders scout for money and a location for a new one. They say that it’s too expensive to fix the current building, and that the proposal would help the city close a budget deficit.
Library supporters say that library use is up and that the downtown area’s library patrons would lose out. The proposal would increase hours at outlying branch libraries. Long Beach elected officials are pinning their hopes on a November parcel tax measure that would generate more than half a billion dollars for the library and other building projects.
Note: Writer Ray Bradbury is scheduled to speak at 2 tomorrow afternoon in the main auditorium of the downtown Long Beach main library.
It’s opening day at the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall runs down what’s on the menu.
Cheryl Devall: All the savory, sugary, and chewy fried foods anyone would want… but that’s just for starters. Along with the eats, carnival rides and games there’s a petting zoo in the Big Red Barn, pony rides, and, for bigger buckaroos, western riding and rodeo competitions. If you’re into another kind of horsepower, look for the hot rod, mini-monster truck, and NASCAR exhibits.
Gardeners, chefs, and pet fanciers will display their best. And until well after dark, musicians of just about every variety will be on hand to play: high school marching bands, mariachis, rock, country, and jazz ensembles, and more. The 86th edition of the nation’s biggest county fair continues through September 28th.
Note: Admission to the fair is one dollar until 5 o’clock today. For more information, go online to LACountyFair.com.
- September 5, 2008 2:45 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
The magnitude 5.4 earthquake in Chino Hills this summer really shook things up at the Placentia Library – enough that the library’s been closed ever since. KPCC’s Susan Valot says the library in North Orange County hopes to reopen within the next week or so.
Susan Valot:After the earthquake, the Placentia Library looked more like a teenager’s messy bedroom. Broken ceiling tiles were scattered on the floor. Some lights dangled from above by their cords. Pictures were knocked askew on the walls. Basically, a big enough mess to close the library. The library had to dip into its reserve account for the $130,000 to make repairs and bring the facility up to today’s building codes.
That means new ceilings, plus reinforcement, where necessary. The library aims to reopen next week. In the meantime, the Placentia Library is holding a restaurant fundraiser on Thursday to help pay for some of those repairs. People can grab a flyer from City Hall or print one out at the library’s Web site.
Happy birthday Los Angeles! The City of Angels turns 227 years old next Thursday, and the big celebration is Monday. More from KPCC’s Debra Baer.
Debra Baer: A nine-mile walk from the San Gabriel Mission to the city’s birthplace at the Plaza at El Pueblo Historical Monument re-enacts the founding of L.A.
History buffs are retracing the steps of the 11 families that founded the little pueblo they called “The Town of the Queen of Angels” in 1781. John Kopczynski is a spokesman for El Pueblo.
John Kopczynski: A lot of people do not realize how the city was founded, how it happened that these 44 individuals, including children, walked from Mexico to the mission, gathered themselves, freshened up, so to speak, and then made it the last nine miles here to form this tiny little dust town, which became today the great metropolitan area of L.A.
Baer: L.A.’s birthday festivities continue through 1:00 at the El Pueblo Monument on downtown’s Olvera Street. The party includes refreshments, free cake, family activities, and more than 40 professional actors dressed in period costumes.
Note: The three-hour walk begins/began at 6:00 Monday morning.
Link: More information at the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Web site
Here’s something for dog or cat owners in Los Angeles to think about this Labor Day: in exactly one month, on October 1, the city begins enforcing its new spay/neuter regulations. KPCC’s Brian Watt has more.
Brian Watt: The law is simple: if your dog or cat is four months old or older, get it spayed or neutered. There are exceptions, of course.
If the pet competes or shows as a breed approved by the Animal Services Commission, it’s off the hook.
The same goes for service, guide, police, military, and rescue dogs, and those that have earned or are working towards a special title in herding or agility. Licensed vets can certify that an animal should not be spayed or neutered for health reasons.
The law took effect in April, with a grace period that ends on October 1st. In passing it, the L.A. City Council sought to reduce the number of pets that people abandon and euthanize each year. The fines for violations start at $100 and go up from there.
In the 1800s, Rancho Los Cerritos was a 27,000 acre parcel of a huge Spanish land grant. Now, the territory’s home to Long Beach, Bellflower, Signal Hill, and Paramount.
But a 164-year-old adobe house and formal gardens still sit on five of those acres in Long Beach. The national historic landmark is offering free “living history” tours Sunday afternoon. Ellen Calomiris is director of Rancho Los Cerritos.
Ellen Calomiris: “The history of the site really echoes the history of Spanish, Mexican, and American California, and the people who lived and worked here and helped really transform Southern California, from its ranching beginnings to today’s urban society.”
The free tours begin at the adobe every half hour between 1 and 4 Sunday afternoon. You can find out more online at www.rancholoscerritos.org
AAA predicts that fewer Californians will take to the skies and highways this Labor Day weekend. The auto club’s latest survey says just over four million Californians will travel 50 miles or more. That’s down one-and-a-half percent from last year. AAA’s Cynthia Harris says people are staying closer to home because of high gas prices and a struggling economy.
Cynthia Harris: “People are spending at least 20 percent of their expense money for the weekend on gas alone. So it’s become definitely an issue for most families. People have decided to drive less. Maybe instead of taking long road trips, maybe just going to the beach.”
Lines at the airport will be a little shorter. The number of Californians planning to fly this weekend is down three-and-a-half percent from last year.
One half of the first lesbian couple to legally marry in California died today in San Francisco. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall has more on the life of Del Martin.
Cheryl Devall: With her partner Phyllis Lyon, Del Martin founded one of the first national lesbian organizations, the Daughters of Bilitis, 53 years ago. Well before the feminist movement of the 1960s and ’70s, the organization that began as a social club lobbied to change social attitudes against women who love women.
That by itself might have placed Martin and Lyon first in line to legalize their union when the time came. The two assumed that place twice – four years ago when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom proclaimed same-sex marriages legal in his city, and again this June, after the state Supreme Court declared a voter referendum against those marriages was unconstitutional.
Del Martin wrote several books about sexuality and power dynamics within relationships. Health problems were already slowing her down when she broke her arm two weeks ago. Phyllis Lyon was by Martin’s side when she died. Del Martin was 87 years old.
- August 27, 2008 2:20 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
Officials in one Orange County city will be talking to neighbors tomorrow night about a touchy matter of taste. KPCC’s Susan Valot says the La Palma City Council is responding to complaints that some homeowners are choosing from the bolder shades on the spectrum.
Susan Valot: Some neighbors call the gold house with red trim in their La Palma neighborhood “the McDonald’s house.” Another homeowner added an eggplant-colored trim to a tan home. The neighbors don’t like that, either. They want everyone on the block to stick with earth tones, because they say the gaudy colors drive down their property values.
But one person’s “gaudy” is another’s “pretty,” and some people contend that if you own the house, you ought to be able to paint it whatever color you want. That’s why La Palma officials are hosting a workshop tomorrow night to talk about paint colors on single-family homes.
They want to ask people who live there whether a local ordinance should ban certain colors. If La Palma does that, it’d be the first city in Orange County to pass such a law. It’d likely be similar to the exterior-color rules that homeowners’ associations enforce.
A San Gabriel Valley nonprofit is making sure that kids in need get a good start on the new school year. Foothill Unity Center held its 10th annual back to school event today at Santa Anita Racetrack. Kids from low income and homeless families picked up backpacks and school uniforms. They were also treated to manicures and haircuts. Dajanai Sims says she’s about to enter her senior year at Duarte High School. She didn’t get a haircut, but she did pick up some clothes.
Dajanai Sims: “I just came from picking up socks and stuff. But I’m pretty much done now with everything. So, yeah. I’ve done it before. It’s nice.”
This year’s event was significantly bigger than last year’s. Organizers say about 1,400 families turned out, compared to a thousand last year.
More than a thousand low-income and homeless children from the San Gabriel Valley received free clothes and school supplies today. A coalition of nonprofits and volunteers called Foothill Unity Center organized the annual Back to School Distribution event at the Santa Anita Racetrack. Director Joan Whitenack says this year’s event almost didn’t come together in time, because so many people need help.
Joan Whitenack: “This is about 40 percent bigger than last year’s. The economy has had a huge impact on our center, and, uh, we’ve seen more families that we’ve ever seen before.”
The kids received backpacks, shoes and socks, and even manicures. This is the tenth year Foothill Unity Center has held its back to school event.
During the 1980s, Congress passed a law that set the minimum legal drinking age at 21. Now the presidents of more than 100 colleges and universities are urging policymakers to reconsider the effectiveness of that law.
The presidents have signed onto what they call the Amethyst Initiative to try and re-ignite a public debate over young adults and alcohol. Occidental College President Robert Skotheim told KPCC’s Patt Morrison why he supports the initiative.
Robert Skotheim: “Deans of students are very worried that students away from home for the first time in this country seem extremely vulnerable, the first year, especially, to binge drinking.”
April Smook of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers told KPCC there’s no easy solution to the issue.
April Smook: “It’s not to just automatically say ‘let’s lower the drinking age to 18.’ The reality is, that’s not going to eliminate, necessarily, your binge drinking problem. Not to mention, you’re just pushing that problem down onto high school campuses. If you’re lowering the drinking age to 18, what is to say you’re not going to have the same problem on high school campuses with binge drinkers at 16.”
In a year in which two major-party presidential contenders were a woman and an African-American, L.A. County’s fire department has shown a similar trend in promotions to its highest ranks. Details from KPCC’s Cheryl Devall.
Cheryl Devall: Los Angeles County Fire has installed its first black second-in-command. Daryl Osby, a 24-year veteran of the department, is the new chief deputy for emergency operations. Before his promotion, he supervised 76 fire stations in eastern L.A. County.
Osby told reporters that he felt blessed to have achieved a new milestone in his career. He added, “That’s not to take away from the fact that I’ve worked my tail off.” Last month, L.A. County Fire promoted Helen Jo to run the financial management division. She’s the department’s first woman and its first Asian-American to earn the rank of deputy chief.
The county’s diversity record stands in contrast to the city of L.A.’s fire department. During the last year and a half, under its first African-American chief, the city department has tried to overcome a series of incidents, audits, and lawsuits that indicated a pattern of discrimination and harassment against female and black firefighters.
This is the final week of 714 standing alone in central and northern Orange County. KPCC’s Susan Valot says a new overlay area code kicks in this Saturday.
Susan Valot: The California Public Utilities Commission last year approved adding the 657 area code over the 714 because it says the 714’s running out of numbers. For that, you can blame new cell phones, fax machines, and other pieces of equipment that gobble up phone numbers.
If you’ve already got a 714 phone number, the biggest change will be dialing a one, plus the area code, plus the number for all calls – even if you’re just calling next door. If you don’t, starting Saturday, you’ll get a message that tells you to hang up and try again.
Phone companies won’t start handing out the new 657 numbers for another month. Orange County is only the second area in California to receive an overlay area code. The South Bay and Westside was the first. It now shares its 310 area code with the 424. The 657 will be the fourth area code in Orange County.
- August 18, 2008 1:40 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
It’s not everyday that bakers become rock stars. The aces of Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes” are in Anaheim this weekend to meet their fans, and decorate a cake. KPCC’s Special Correspondent Kitty Felde says fame is tough on the shyest member of the “Ace of Cakes” team.
Kitty Felde: Geoff Manthorn used to make architectural models. Now he builds baseball stadiums, carriages, and guitars out of pastry at a Baltimore bakery called “Charm City Cakes.”
The show is a hit among Food Network junkies. But Manthorn says it’s also quite stressful.
Geoff Manthorn: “There are times when I would just like to concentrate and work, but there’s the pressure to be putting on a performance while working. When you have a camera on you, you’re trying to make a good TV show.”
Felde: Geoff Manthorn joins fellow Aces Duff Goldman and Mary Alice Yeskey at the Anaheim Hilton for a live show at 11:30 Sunday. Then it’s back to Baltimore for the next challenge in cake.
About the only thing more boring than watching paint dry is watching somebody decorate a cake. Not so, if the decorator is Food Network’s Duff Goldman. KPCC’s Special Correspondent Kitty Felde says Goldman and his crew are in Orange County this weekend for a celebrity food show.
Kitty Felde: For the uninitiated, “Ace of Cakes” is a half-hour reality show set in Baltimore where a crew of off-beat designers makes cakes. That’s it. But over the past 3 seasons, it’s become one of the most popular shows on the Food Network. Duff Goldman is owner of the cake shop Charm City Cakes. Even he can’t believe anyone watches a show about people decorating cakes.
Duff Goldman: “It’s a show about amazing art that we produce, but it’s also about our relationships with each other and a bunch of friends getting along and making cakes and trying to make something awesome.”
Felde: Goldman is joined by his fellow cake aces Mary Alice Yeskey and Geoff Manthorn, talking and decorating a giant cake at the Anaheim Hilton this weekend.
L.A.’s African Marketplace and Cultural Faire launches tomorrow for its 23rd year. Thousands of visitors experience the music, food, culture, and crafts of the African Diaspora. James Burks created the annual event after the 1984 Olympics. He wanted African-Americans in L.A. to connect with global cultures and business opportunities.
James Burks: “When you come in, you have sort of a commercial walkway, but you also have an African Region, a Caribbean Region, a Youth Village. You have a whole food court; you have several pavilions like Literary, Health, Fine Arts pavilions. Then you have a number of independent craft vendors and exhibitors from different parts of the world that are in there as well.”
The African Marketplace continues for the next three weekends, including Labor Day, at Rancho Cienega Park, across from Dorsey High School, off La Brea Avenue. For directions and more information, go online to africanmarketplace.org.
Pirates and buccaneers will take over the Port of Los Angeles this weekend. So will battleships and frigates arriving for the Festival of Sail. Theresa Lopez-Adams with the Port says this is the third year the tall ships have set sail for L.A.
Theresa Lopez-Adams: “The other times, in 2002 and in 2005, it’s on a cycle of every 3 years. And this year we’re very pleased to have the U.S. Coast Guard Eagle as one of the participating ships. So that’s a big deal. It’s come from Connecticut to be in this Festival of Sail so it’s very exciting.”
The Eagle is a three-masted cutter the Coast Guard uses to train students in its academy. It’s the only active commissioned sail-powered ship in the country’s maritime services. Fifteen vessels in all will dock at San Pedro through Sunday evening. For more information about the free Festival of Sail, visit online at portoflosangeles.org.
A film set in downtown L.A.’s long-gone Bunker Hill bars and flophouses is returning to a Southland theater today, almost 50 years after it was finished. KPCC’s Adolfo Guzman-Lopez has more.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Director Kent Mackenzie’s film “The Exiles” is a docudrama about American Indians in their twenties and thirties straddling life and love beyond the reservation.
Clip from “The Exiles:” I don’t think I want to take the baby back to San Carlos. I’d rather have him raised out here. I want him to speak English and try maybe go to college and become something.
Guzman-Lopez: The backdrop is downtown L.A. in the late 1950s – its packed sidewalks, liquor stores, and bars booming with jukebox rock and roll, where the Native American protagonists while away the hours.
Clip from “The Exiles:” Give me a swig. Gracias amigo. [Speaking in Native American language.]
Guzman-Lopez: UCLA’s Film and Television Archive has restored the film. It’s organized a week-long run at the Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood.
A baby boy in South Pasadena is the sixth infant this year recovered in Los Angeles County’s Safe Surrender program. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall says the handover happened yesterday.
Cheryl Devall: Someone left the newborn at a fire station, where personnel took him to a local hospital. He’s reportedly doing fine.
After the baby leaves the hospital, he’ll be in protective custody until L.A. County’s children and family services places him with a family for adoption.
The county allows adults to surrender infants no more than three days old to hospitals, law enforcement, and fire stations. There’s no punishment for the caretakers, provided the child shows no signs of abuse. Since Safe Surrender began seven years ago, parents or other adults have entrusted 68 babies to the program.
Local TV host William Stulla has died. For more than a decade, he was “Engineer Bill” each afternoon on KHJ Channel 9. You probably watched “Engineer Bill” – and so did KPCC’s Special Correspondent Kitty Felde.
Kitty Felde: William Stulla had a lot of careers… stockbroker, radio announcer, host of a show called “Parlor Party.” But kids who grew up in Southern California 50 years ago knew him best as “Engineer Bill.” From 1954 to 1966, Stulla donned overalls and a grey-and-white striped railroad engineer’s cap for his “Cartoon Express” show.
Two children would usually join “Engineer Bill” in studio to watch cartoons and play games – and when I was five, I was one of those kids. We played “Red Light, Green Light,” where you gulp an enormous glass of milk when they’d shout “Green Light!”
There was also “Name It and You Can Have It.” The kids competed for toys by shouting the complete name of each item first. It may not surprise you that I took home a car full of toys that night. I still feel bad for that other shy kid. William Stulla, “Engineer Bill,” died Tuesday night at his home in Westlake Village. He was 97.
For the next week, UCLA’s Film and Television Archive is screening a groundbreaking but rarely seen film about American Indians living in downtown Los Angeles. KPCC’s Adolfo Guzman-Lopez has details on the film opening today.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: The film’s called “The Exiles.” Director Kent Mackenzie finished it in 1961, but he never secured wide release. The black-and-white film is both drama and documentary.
Film voiceover: What follows is the authentic account of 12 hours in the lives of a group of Indians who have come to Los Angeles, California.
Guzman-Lopez: Chris Horak runs UCLA’s Film and Television Archive.
Chris Horak: The first really striking thing about this film is to see how this group of Native Americans, who are at the lower end of the social, economic scale, are trying to survive in this intensely urban environment of downtown Los Angeles.
Guzman-Lopez: Mackenzie’s camera follows the Native Americans, all in their twenties and thirties, from rundown apartments and grimy late-night bars to reckless speeding through downtown L.A.’s tunnels – past neon signs, liquor stores, and streetscapes long lost to redevelopment.
Federal immigration officials offered undocumented people in five cities the option of deporting themselves, with minimal fuss. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall says very few of them stepped forward during the first week of the pilot program.
Cheryl Devall: The combined total – in San Diego, Phoenix, Chicago, and Charlotte – came to six. They included a married couple from India, an Estonian, a Guatemalan, a Salvadoran, and a Mexican.
This might sound like the setup to a joke. But Immigration and Customs Enforcement was serious earlier this month when it invited almost half a million people illegally in this country to participate in what it calls “scheduled departure.” The fledgling program allows immigrants three months to settle their affairs and clear out of the United States. In return, ICE promises no arrests or raids to those who sign up.
The agency plans to continue the pilot phase through next Friday. Then it’ll determine whether to extend the program. By the way, nobody in the fifth pilot city, Santa Ana, responded to the call for voluntary self-deportation.
The City of Los Angeles has approved a blueprint to foster more mixed-income housing. KPCC’s Brooke Binkowski reports.
Brooke Binkowski: There’s still a long way to go, but housing activist say cheaper places to live are in the works. The L.A. City Council’s updated its housing plan for the next six years.
Beth Steckler is with the nonprofit Housing LA coalition. It’s been pushing for ways to make it more affordable to live in L.A.
Beth Steckler: One of the things that we’re really excited about is that it really brings limiting condo conversions and demolitions back to the forefront. And we lost so much rent-controlled housing in the last building boom, through the conversions and demolitions, and we really need a strategy to discourage that while we tell developers where to build.
Binkowski: Steckler said the plan will also eventually require new private developments in the City of Los Angeles to include housing units for buyers and renters at all income levels. L.A. officials say the city needs more than 110,000 new units of housing within the next decade to keep up with rising demand.
The Los Angeles City Council approved an update to the city’s housing plan today. It includes a pledge to pursue mixed-income housing. That means new private developments within the city of Los Angeles will have to include housing for all income levels. Beth Steckler is with the nonprofit Housing LA coalition.
Beth Steckler: “There was a study last year – in the areas that have mixed-income requirements, about half of the affordable housing they built was through this mixed-income requirement. So think about that; we could double our affordable housing production. That’s very exciting to us. It doesn’t solve it. We need a lot more production, we need a lot more preservation. But we’re starting to point ourselves in the right direction.”
The updated housing plan will also limit condo conversions of apartments and demolitions of affordable homes.
The founder of a peacemaking organization that originated after the Los Angeles riots 16 years ago died yesterday. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall has more on the life and work of Bo Taylor.
Cheryl Devall: Personal and civil crises – his own escapes from gang gunfire, and later the riots – set Darren “Bo” Taylor on the path of promoting peace. With supporters including actors Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover, civil rights attorney Connie Rice and USC football coach Pete Carroll, Taylor founded the organization Unity One.
It helped maintain truces between L.A. gangs in the aftermath of the riots, and developed training programs in life skills like nonviolent conflict resolution and creative problem solving. In recent years, Unity One focused its efforts on inmates at L.A. County’s Pitchess Detention Center.
The organization’s website says more than 3,000 people at the facility have graduated from the training, and that fewer than 1 percent faced disciplinary action after that point. Bo Taylor was 42 years old when he died of cancer in Los Angeles. Trojan coach Carroll said Taylor “motivated me, inspired me, and taught me. I’m going to miss him dearly.”
A golf tournament in Brentwood today raised $100,000 to help injured war veterans through the Wounded Warrior Project. The nonprofit provides services for soldiers injured in combat.
The blast from an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan cost U.S. Army Sergeant Neil Duncan his legs three years ago. Now, with help from the Wounded Warrior Project, he’s training fellow veterans in Aspen, Colorado.
Sergeant Neil Duncan: “We sponsor some events that teach guys that are recently injured how to ski again. If it requires special equipment, then they have the equipment there. And if it just requires the practice, you know, to get out on the snow and regain your balance, that’s what it’s there for. But the veterans that are out there are sponsored by Wounded Warrior Project, so we get a grant every year to cover our expenses and things like that.”
The Wounded Warrior Project lobbies on behalf of permanently disabled soldiers and helps them re-integrate into civilian life. It’s also known for its backpack program. The organization sends to hospitalized soldiers packs filled with playing cards, clean T-shirts, CD players, and other morale-boosting items.
Link: Wounded Warrior Project
Soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan are the focus of a golf tournament in Brentwood today. Event chairman Elliot Dix says the Wounded Warrior Project tournament includes all kinds of players – professional golfers, hobbyists, and soldiers…
Elliot Dix: “We have approximately eight Wounded Warriors playing in the golf tournament with prosthetic legs and arms, and they keep up, they have a great time. I had the honor of playing with a young man who lost his right arm in Iraq about three years ago, and I was proud to be his caddy for the day.”
Dix says last year’s inaugural tournament raised $83,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project. This year, it’s brought in about a hundred-thousand dollars.
A golf tournament to benefit combat survivors teed off today at L.A.’s Mountaingate Country Club. Military veterans, some with prosthetic limbs, are among the players in this fundraiser. Event chairman Elliot Dix says all the tournament’s proceeds will go to help soldiers injured during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Elliot Dix: “We have 216 golfers playing on 27 holes of golf. This is our second year. In our first year we raised $83,000. At last count, we had already raised a hundred-thousand dollars for the Wounded Warrior Project.”
The nonprofit Wounded Warrior Project, Dix says, offers help for veterans returning from combat zones, and aims to raise awareness of their needs.
More than two dozen couples tied the knot at Palm Springs City Hall today. That’s the most ever performed there in one day. Most of those wed were gay couples. But as KPCC’s Steven Cuevas reports, all the couples may have chosen this wedding day for the same reason.
Steven Cuevas: No, not love. That’s a given, or so one hopes. It’s not money, either. Well, probably not. What really drew everyone to City Hall was the date: August 8th, 2008 – 8-8-08.
Palm Springs City Clerk James Thompson figures couples – well, the guys anyway – like the date because anniversaries will be easy to remember. And in Chinese culture, “eight” is considered a very lucky number. In Cantonese, it sounds like the word “prosperity.” That’s apparently why the Beijing Olympics kicked off on 8-8-08 – and why lots of other couples, gay and straight, were awed all over the globe.
It’s just the start of a marriage deluge for Palm Springs. Hundreds of same-sex marriages are scheduled from now until Election Day in November. That’s when California voters will cast ballots on Proposition 8, the initiative that aims to stop same-sex marriage in the state.
- August 8, 2008 3:27 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
Southern California’s law enforcement personnel are mourning the death of Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Juan Escalante. His funeral took place this morning in Downtown L.A.
Sheriff’s Department Spokesman Steve Whitmore described Escalante as a true success story.
Steve Whitmore: “An Army Reservist. Grew up in the town Cypress Park; heinously gunned down. He believed in serving his country as an Army Reservist and believed in serving the county.”
The 27-year-old joined the Sheriff’s Department two-and-half-years ago. He worked guarding inmates in the Men’s Central Jail.
Someone – investigators are trying to pin down just who – shot Escalante in front of his family’s home last Saturday morning while he was on his way to work. He left a wife and three young children. Los Angeles city and county officials are offering a $95,000 reward for any information about who killed Escalante.
Video from the funeral:
Across the United States, white populations are growing slowly, while others are gaining ground. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall says that portends a demographic reversal for some counties in the Southland.
Cheryl Devall: So-called “majority minority” counties used to cluster in big cities and border areas. No more, demographer William Frey told the Associated Press. Rapid growth and dispersal among Latinos and Asian Americans is changing the map, he said, so that counties where non-whites are in the majority are popping up all over the place.
Since the last U.S. Census, that’s happened in Riverside County, where the white population decreased from almost 52 percent to 43 percent. Newly released Census estimates show that 150,000 of the 160,000 people San Diego County gained in the first seven years of this decade are Latino.
Demographers say immigration is responsible for only some of the trend. Latinos and Asians in this country tend to be younger than the general population, so their families are growing faster than those of an aging white majority. As of July 1, the Census estimates, 66 percent of the U.S. population is white.
- August 7, 2008 3:09 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
Friends and family today shared fond memories of the eldest son of Christian evangelist Greg Laurie, who died last week in a car wreck. The memorial service for 33-year-old Christopher Laurie was private, but KPCC’s Steven Cuevas says it reached a global congregation.
Steven Cuevas: Only family and friends were invited to the actual memorial at Harvest Christian Church in Riverside. But in a nod to Harvest’s massive worldwide audience, the two-hour service was broadcast on the Web, and on Christian radio station KWVE.
Laurie was the art director at Harvest, and helped coordinated his father’s stadium-filling evangelical revivals across North America. His friend Levi Lusco said Laurie was passionate about the mission.
Levi Lusco (at funeral service): Time is short, life is quick, we have work to do in heaven and I know Chris is involved in the art department of heaven, still making things look better, because that’s how he lived his life and I’m grateful to have been his friend.
Cuevas: Laurie was killed last Friday on the 91 Freeway near Corona when his car collided with a slow-moving Caltrans sweeper. No one else was hurt. The California Highway Patrol is still investigating.
His father, Pastor Greg Laurie, said at times, Christopher could be a “prodigal son” – but he recently had re-dedicated his life to the church.
Greg Laurie (at service): It’s tough for a preacher’s kid; you don’t realize. People expect a lot of them – “The preacher’s kid.” And sometimes kids raised in preachers’ homes, they have a greater struggle than others. If you’re a prodigal son or daughter, your father loves you and he will welcome you home with open arms and forgive you of whatever you have done. (baby cries) That’s how most people feel when I speak. (laugher)
Cuevas: Christopher Laurie leaves his wife Brittany and daughter Stella. The Lauries were expecting a second child in November.
Whenever there’s a wildfire, the first firefighting department on the scene usually gets naming rights. Initially, hurricanes were named after the Catholic saint assigned to the particular day they formed. These days, the National Hurricane Center comes up with the monikers. But what about earthquakes? KPCC’s Special Correspondent Kitty Felde has the answer.
Kitty Felde: Who names California’s earthquakes?
Lucy Jones: We vote on them here at the lab, here essentially.
Felde: That’s Lucy Jones with the US Geological Survey. She says there are guidelines.
Jones: In general, we try to avoid giving a city name because we’ve discovered cities are usually pretty upset when we name an earthquake after them. And then the adjoining city that had damage and didn’t get the name is upset because that other city is going to get all the money. It’s a lose-lose situation to use a city name.
Felde: For example, a quake near 29 Palms was called the Hector Mine earthquake. Sometimes, she says, city names are unavoidable. The 1994 quake should have been called the West San Fernando Valley earthquake, but it was just too long. Instead, it’s known as the Northridge quake. Last Tuesday’s quake was also an exception, sharing its name with the city of Chino Hills.
Lines at Department of Motor Vehicles offices are never quick and easy. But a day after Governor Schwarzenegger moved to lay off thousands of state workers, lines snaked out the door at the Glendale office. Maria Galvez is waiting in line to take a number. She just got her driver’s license.
Maria Galvez: “When I took my driving test, they were short instructors, so that’s why it took almost two hours. They had three instructors, and the cars were all the way backed up completely. And it was just ridiculous.”
The DMV was hit hardest by the state’s cutbacks because it employs so many part-time staffers.
This week’s moderate earthquake in Chino Hills was a jarring reminder to Southern Californians about earthquake safety. KPCC’s Susan Valot stopped by the Orange County Red Cross in Santa Ana.
Susan Valot: First came the rattling of the earthquake. Now comes the ringing of the phones.
[Sound of phone ringing]
Marlyn Reynoso: American Red Cross. How may I direct your call?
Valot: Marlyn Reynoso is a receptionist at the Orange County Red Cross headquarters. She says since the quake, she’s taken a lot more calls from people who want earthquake kits and emergency training. She says most of them say…
Reynoso: …that they weren’t prepared when this earthquake hit. They were a little shocked, and maybe it’s time for them to get some training done now that it’s passed.
Valot: Across the way at the OC Red Cross General Store, the shelves are stocked with all sorts of emergency kits. Tony Sparks mans the register, and the phone. He says the calls keep coming in.
Tony Sparks: It’s more than doubled. When I’m on the phone, I just keep getting voicemails and the phone just keeps ringing.
Valot: Sparks says the quake was kind of a “reality check” for people to stock up on food, store at least three days worth of water, and have a first aid kit on hand. It doesn’t seem to be a panic. I caught it in a bit of a lull. No long lines out the door at the Red Cross. But lots of people want to arm themselves with information through emergency classes… just in case.
- July 30, 2008 5:42 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
School’s out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean lunchtime is over. The L.A. Unified School District and the city and county departments of recreation and parks have teamed up to feed kids for free. L.A. Unified’s Nadia Gonzalez is trying to get the word out about the Summer Lunch Program.
Nadia Gonzalez: “As far as the LAUSD’s concerned, the summer food service has been around since the ’70s. I mean, we’ve been serving hundreds of thousands of kids for many years. However, this time around what we’ve decided to do is, we really wanted to do more outreach. We wanted to reach more families. And so we created a partnership with the city and the county.”
They’re serving free lunches at schools and parks. There’s more information at L.A. County’s 211 hotline or L.A. City’s 311 hotline.
Angelenos who like to volunteer will have an opportunity to do so on tomorrow’s Central Area Day of Service. KPCC’s Brian Watt reports.
Brian Watt: Spend a few hours buffing the graffiti from a wall in Pico-Union to make way for a featured muralist. Help the summer students at Belmont High School put up lawn signs for their “Summer of Peace” campaign. Rhoda Francisco of the Filipino American Service Group says her organization needs help staging a health fair for people getting up in age. The seniors who attend can learn a set of healthy exercises.
Rhoda Francisco: Which is basically based on a Filipino martial art, called “kali” or “escrima.” Now this martial art, we tailored it to fit seniors and made it easier for them so that they can do it at home.
Watt: The offices of Mayor Villaraigosa, and city councilmen Garcetti, Reyes, LaBonge, and Wesson are sponsoring the day of service. It features about 30 service projects. To find one near you, go online to dayofservicela.org.
Service projects are unfolding all over Central Los Angeles tomorrow. The city’s mayor and four city councilmen are sponsoring the day. They’re inviting volunteers to participate in one of about 30 projects. For example, the Filipino American Service Group is staging a health fair for seniors at Los Angeles City College. Rhoda Francisco says participants can conduct their own basic “check-ups.”
Rhoda Francisco: “We actually will have three laptops or PC’s set up at the place, and the seniors can actually log on to the computers and find out basic health information about themselves, such as body mass index, weight, blood pressure, and they’ll also be able to play memory games.”
Other projects include cleaning up the neighborhoods around MacArthur Park and helping students at Belmont High School with their “Summer of Peace Campaign”. To find a project near you, look online at dayofservicela.org.
- July 18, 2008 3:21 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture
The Salvation Army is overwhelmed with requests for food and rental and utility assistance. The charity has launched a fundraising campaign called Operation Feed Our Families to raise one-million dollars. Spokesman Robert Brennan says the Salvation Army could use contributions of cash and food.
Robert Brennan: “We’ve experienced a 50% increase in requests for food assistance at our 36 food pantry programs, and at the same time we have experienced a decrease in our food donations. So we now have two-thirds of our pantries are empty or operating at greatly reduced capacity.”
Brennan says working-class and middle-class families are coming to his organization seeking help with the soaring costs for gasoline and food. A toll-free number for donations is 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
So many Southland families are relying on food pantries for help that supplies are running out. So the Salvation Army is requesting donations of food and money. Spokesman Robert Brennan says, in the last year, requests for food assistance have increased by half. But donations are down, he says, and two-thirds of the Salvation Army’s pantries are empty or running low.
Robert Brennan: “These are people who many times both parents are working and they’re just getting by. And when you have to spend a hundred dollars to fill up your car, sometimes the groceries get a little thin.”
Brennan says his organization prefers cash contributions; $100 can feed a family of four for a week. But non-perishable food is welcome too. The toll-free phone number to call with donations is 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
Some big museums would like to see your stuff. Something of historical or cultural importance might be hiding in your attic or basement. KPCC’s Brian Watt says tomorrow, there’s a day of presentations and activities on how to keep those things from just collecting dust.
Brian Watt: Antiques Roadshow, this isn’t. The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture wants people to bring old items to the Japanese American National Museum in downtown L.A. There, they can learn from experts, not how much the items will fetch on eBay, but how to take care of them.
Charmaine Jefferson runs the California African American Museum, another sponsor of the event. She says old farm tools, documents, and military uniforms can tell future generations a lot about where they come from. She recalls being invited recently to look at the belongings of a deceased friend of a friend.
Charmaine Jefferson: “They had some wonderful photos of some children from 1900. Waving flags and celebrating the 4th of July. It was just priceless! And it was just something in somebody’s home.”
Brian Watt: The photos, said Jefferson, might wind up on display at her museum. But the first step was to take them out of an old photo album for safer storage in a dust and acid-free sleeve.
Note: The free event starts at 10:00 tomorrow morning and ends at 4:30 in the afternoon. People with items for review must call and reserve a spot: 1-888-249-8033
Most of the Southland’s newest American citizens are from Mexico, El Salvador, and the Philippines.
Officials swore in almost 20,000 immigrants today during three ceremonies at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Here’s why some of them say they took the big step:
New citizen #1: “I’m from Nicaragua. I don’t know, just being able to obtain a government job if I want to. That’s one of the reasons.”
New citizen #2: “Russia. I’ve been here, so I want to be a citizen. My daughter is here, so we have roots.”
New citizen #3: “I come from Sinaloa, Mexico. I’ve always wanted to become a citizen and I had the money to do it. So, I did it.”
Thousands of legal residents took the plunge before citizenship application fees increased last year. During that year, federal statistics show that citizenship applications nearly doubled to one-and-a-half million.
Another reason for the surge is a national campaign that Spanish-language TV giant Univision organized with Latino groups across the country. The goal was to involve more Latino voices in the immigration reform debate this presidential election year.
Almost 20,000 more Southland immigrants became American citizens today, including 43-year-old Nole Poquic.
He came to the United States from the Philippines about 20 years ago. But until now, he hadn’t traded in his native country’s green passport.
Nole Poquic: “Well last year, we went back home. I have three kids and a wife. They all have blue passports. I’m the only one with a green passport, so I felt kinda bad.”
Immigration officials organized three separate swearing-in ceremonies at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Most of the newly-naturalized citizens are from Mexico, El Salvador, and the Philippines.
- July 11, 2008 3:43 PM
- Categories: Society/Culture