Boulevard Sentinel


News and Views

for Northeast Los Angeles

June 2011



Highland Park Theatre Sign Re-lit

by Tom Topping
    Culminating months of organizing effort, the historic Highland Park Theatre sign was lit last month at a ceremony held on May 17, 2011. The sky was gray, and the air was cool when I arrived at the Old L.A. Highland Park Farmer's Market a little after 7:pm. I had to rush down to the opposite end of the block to join the crowd, already about 400 strong. When I arrived, the speeches were still in progress, but I was rather surprised to see and hear a woman speaking on behalf of the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program.

Above, don’t let the photo fool you, that cake is huge!

Above, Kaisa Barthuli from the National Route 66 Preservation program awards Misty Iwahu on behalf of the North Figueroa Association. 

    She said, "One of the special areas we selected to study in-depth was your community of Highland Park to help us understand how the Route 66 corridor was used in Urban areas like this. And so this (study) is going to be coming out and we appreciate all the help that community members provided us, help to do our research and we hope that this document will be of use to you and we hope that the stories will keep coming about how you all have lived and worked along the Route 66 Corridor through the 20th century and beyond. We hope this document will also be useful to you to help nominate some of the historic properties for the National Historic Register."
    I called Amy Inouye, organizer of the re-lighting project (and mother of Chicken Boy) to ask who this lady was. It was Kaisa Barthuli, Project Administrator for the National Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. Amy explained that Kaisa had experienced the Route 66 interest and fervor of the Highland Park community first hand when several public meetings to do outreach for the program were held the preceding year. One meeting, held in Pasadena, was attended by mostly Highland Park Community members, all of whom showed a glaring interest in the program. It was through these meetings that led Amy to discover the matching grant program which she applied for. Her application ended up winning several thousand dollars for the re-lighting project. (Yay Amy!!) She added that Kaisa Barthuli had been very helpful with everything. The matching grant is also for re-lighting the Manning's Coffee House sign perched high above Las Cazuelas El Salvadoran restaurant.
    However, the study Kaisa was referring to has been collecting stories and information of people's experiences living and working along Route 66. It sounds like it will be a fascinating treasure of information and is scheduled to come out later this year. You can go to to keep up with the latest.

Above and at right, the people representing the contributors who donated to the project get their photo taken holding the letter they sponsored.

    Back at the ceremony, after all the community leaders and politicians were finished speaking, I was struck by the number of folks that attended. It probably topped 600 and was followed by the least tacky acknowledgment ceremony I've ever seen. For all the folks who contributed to the project, each contributing group or individual received a giant letter representing the letter they paid to re-light, and as each came up they received their photo op and applause from the crowd. Then, everyone got together for another photo in order to hold their letter up to spell out the words Highland and then Theatre.
    After that, the Franklin High School Band played and the Franklin High School Cheerleaders did their routines. Then the snacks came out. If you're a fan of either the sweet or the savory, they had you covered. They had nacho chips with beans and cheese and they had a huge celebratory cake. (If you were a diabetic, though, you were out of luck)
    Soon the clock approached the 8 o'clock hour and wa-la; the lights came on! The emerald green of the word HIGHLAND seemed to shimmer as a gentle rain started to fall. It was the perfect finale to a really cool and fun event, and the friendship and the fun continued long after I left.

Cordova Family Sues City of L.A.

Eagle Rock, CA - April 21, 2011

    L.A.P.D. Detectives and personnel from the Los Angeles City Attorney's office shutdown the westbound side of Colorado Boulevard, to investigate the scene of the August 2008 high speed crash that killed 4 young people. Three of the deceased were the children of the Cordova family in Eagle Rock. Antonio and Janis Codova are suing the City of Los Angeles (case number BC442048), saying the city was negligent in allowing the hazard of the tree to be situated so close to a roadway. They are also suing Rostislav Schnayder, the driver of the car that was involved in the crash and Irina Kirichenko, the owner of the car he was driving.
    Will the suit force the city to remove trees and other landscaping work along the roadways of the City of L.A.? Or will the alleged negligence on the part of the deceased and their parents who allowed them the use of the car, along with the criminal conviction of Schnayder for vehicular manslaughter release the city and the trees along the center divider from any liability?

Saving the Dying Highland Park AT&T Mural

Community Teamwork Paid Off- (how did they do that?)

Joe Bravo, from the original team of mural artists puts the finishing touches on the restoration of the History of Highland Park Mural on Meridian Street at Avenue 56, while community volunteer Joe Ramirez watches.

by Tom Topping
    Congratulations, you did it! Northeast L.A.'ers and Highland Park'ers in particular will soon be celebrating a long in coming victory as the restoration of the AT&T mural nears completion. Everybody is excited as they see the artistic and historical images practically coming to life before their eyes. The mural on the AT&T switching station at the intersection of Avenue 56 and Meridian street is looking better than it has in a long- long time, and will soon be looking better than ever. However, many may not know or have long forgotten how the community, the City of Los Angeles and AT&T came together to get this project done.
    The mural, that illuminates the history of Highland Park, has been a source of community pride since 1977. Originally commissioned by Pacific Bell (now AT&T), the community-based project was done as part of a condition of mitigation for the Pac-Bell construction project at this building to address and resolve community concerns when the historic building was enlarged and retrofitted at that time.
    AT&T commissioned the work to be done by Barrio Planners in 1977, who in turn selected Judy Baca and a team of artists that consisted of Joe Bravo, Sonya Fe, Arnold Ramirez, Sonny Williams and others. They researched the subject and created the mural. Judy Baca founded the first City of Los Angeles mural program in 1974 and created between 250 to 300 murals in its first ten years of its existence. As a visual artist, Judy Baca is best known for her large-scale murals, which do a lot more than create murals, they bring different cultures together.
    However, in 2006, the mural, which was designed to last 20 years, was looking poor. Many community members started to notice that the graffiti was no longer being cleaned off any more.
    A Highland Park native and loyal Boulevard Sentinel reader also noticed. In his letter to the editor titled "Save this Mural from Dying," he wrote;
"Of course there are murals out there getting defaced but in a matter of time, they get treated with graffiti removal like a kid getting treated with soap and warm water when getting a cut. That is when I realized something that had disturbed me. As far back as late 2006, I discovered that new graffiti was sprayed on this mural. I know so because its green and red spray paint colors caught my attention. Back then I assumed that just like all previous times, it would be removed as best and as soon as possible. But as of recent, I have come to discover that the same red and green graffiti is still there. Anyone knows graffiti remover is never 100% efficient which is why it is still easy to spot removed graffiti. This explains why I know that the same green and red graffiti I saw on the mural in late 2006 is the same graffiti that still stays put on the mural as of this summer 2007."
    It was clear that this mural had been a source of community pride for him since it was unveiled thirty years before. Seeing the poor condition of that mural, though, just made him hurt.
    His letter continued, "Does anyone not know the importance of this mural? From the 1970's Franklin High football team photo to the famous political figures of Highland Park's early years in the pre-depression era to the chicano friends posing in front of a mom and pop convenience store.... THIS IS HIGHLAND PARK HISTORY FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!!"
    William went on to tell about the frustration he felt after trying to contact City Councilman Jose Huizar's office about it. 
    He complained, "Is Mr. Huizar throwing in the towel, admitting we have lost the war on graffiti? Is he waiting for re-election time so that he can be seen in front of reporters and cameras with a can of graffiti remover in his hands yelling, "we are taking back our walls" in order to get votes?"
    His letter ran in the September 2007 issue of the Boulevard Sentinel. Shortly after it came out, the Boulevard Sentinel was cc'd a letter from the Highland Park Heritage trust, the historical society of the Highland Park community. Mr. Gallegos was certainly not alone in his concerns. 
    The September 12 letter stated, "Highland Park Heritage Trust held our board meeting this past Monday and by unanimous vote adopted the following position concerning this important art preservation matter:
"HPHT requests that Councilmember Jose Huizar contact AT&T to secure corporate funds, professionally estimated at a discount of $45,000, for SPARC and artist Judy Baca to restore this public mural located on the AT&T facility in Highland Park.  If there are additional costs for this work, arising from the extreme conditions being fostered in the delays in completing the restoration work, the Councilmember will find and commit additional funding.  In addition, we request that AT&T also ensure maintenance funds for the restored mural based upon a set of maintenance guidelines and procedures established and provided by SPARC.  HPHT recognizes this is a larger community issue and will also work to gain support for this position with the Arroyo Arts Collective, local schools and parent groups, neighborhood associations, Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council, Highland Park Chamber of Commerce, and the greater Los Angeles arts community.  We strongly request that AT&T secure these funds in 2007 and immediately commence this restoration project before the end of this calendar year."
    They concluded their letter to Huizar in an oh-so-smart way by writing, "Therefore, Highland Park Heritage Trust requests your leadership and immediate intervention on this important issue. AT&T should easily see the marketing potential of this project in addition to just the basic assumption of properly caring for the maintenance of their building in our community. In addition, since there is a new proposed project for this specific facility, AT&T should also see this project as a way to build positive community and government relations. Thank you again for your leadership and attention to this critical issue."
    It was clear that the Heritage Trust had been on this issue all along, but were reinvigorated by Gallegos's letter that appeared in the Boulevard Sentinel.
    Then, on September 24th, 2007, Gallegos e-mailed an update that the Councilman's office had finally responded. 
    He wrote, "Just days after my story "Save this dying mural" came out in the September issue of the Boulevard Sentinel, I did happen to finally receive a response on September 6th from an assistant of Councilman Huizar by the name of Paul Habib ( Of course the only reason why he did respond was because he just happened to have been reading my story in the September newsletter that was mostly criticizing his boss. He did apologize on behalf of those who should have responded back and assured me that this mural has been an ongoing issue for months yet was at a roadblock due to lack of funds... It was good hearing from someone even though I made it clear to him how we both knew that no one was ever planning on contacting me had he not seen the (letter)."
    Not much seemed to happen on the mural since then, until...
    On Saturday, January 29, 2011 (3 years and 5 months after the letter, and 5 ½ weeks before the city council election) Jose Huizar was standing in front of the cameras at the kickoff of the restoration of the AT&T mural. It was right before election time, just as Gallegos had predicted, but of course, that doesn't discount the hard work and persistence that community members and organizations had to put into the project to get to that moment.
    Soon, the mural will be unveiled, and you can be sure that the politicians will be front and center as the cameras shoot, which, after all, is their nature, but the real story is that anything that ever gets done in a community, in the words of Heritage Trust leader Nicole Possert, "takes a village."
    If you want to know more about murals in Los Angeles you should Gooogle the name "Judy Baca Artist," and "SPARC." She and the organization she founded are greatly responsible for so many murals in L.A., including the half mile long mural in the Tujunga wash in North Hollywood depicting the ethnic history of California.
Old Cypress Park Branch Library is a NEW Historic Cultural Monument!!!
    Richard Henry Dana Branch Library on Pepper Street, later known as the Cypress Park Branch, is a former branch library of the Los Angeles Public Library located in the Cypress Park, Los Angeles, California section of Los Angeles, California. It was replaced by the new Cypress Park Library on Cypress Avenue a few years ago.
    The Georgian Revival style building was built in 1926 based on a design by architect Harry S. Bent. In 1987, the Richard Henry Dana Branch and several other branch libraries in Los Angeles were added to the National Register of Historic Places as part of a thematic group submission. The application noted that the branch libraries had been constructed in a variety of period revival styles to house the initial branchs library system of the City of Los Angeles. With respect to the Dana Branch, the application described the building as a charming one-story New England Colonial Revival Style building. It is designed in an L-plan with a high-pitched gable roof. The portico features paired wood paneled doors with an arched canopy supported by paneled posts.
    Thank you to Charlie Fisher for his photos and historic information.


    Have you mourned the loss of a beloved pet recently or even from years in the past? Do you have to anticipate the death of your pet? Felt alone in your grief because of not being understood for the deep connection you felt with your pet? Friends of Hermon Dog Park (FHDP) invite you to their next Pet Education seminar on Sunday, June 26 at 5:30 p.m., under the Avenue 60 Bridge next to Hermon Dog Park. Certified Pet Loss and Bereavement Counselors Dr. Sandra Grossman and Ellie Freedman will present "Pet Loss and Heart Recovery," helping pet owners heal from the loss of a pet.
    There is no charge for this event, but tax-deductable donations are gratefully accepted to continue to bring more pet education seminars to the community. There will be refreshments and door prizes. Dogs are welcome, just bring them a bit early and exercise them at the dog park so they'll happily snooze through the seminar.
    From the 110 Arroyo Seco Parkway, take the Via Marisol exit. Turn right on Via Marisol and left into the park. Go to the end of the parking area. The seminar will be held in the overpass right before the dog park.
    FHDP Pet Education Seminars are also sponsored, in part, by the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council and the offices of City Councilmember Jose Huizar.
    Friends of Hermon Dog Park, a non-profit support organization founded in 2005 as the dog park was being completed, exists to enhance the Hermon Dog Park, keep its environment safe and healthy, teach responsible pet ownership and further humane education, organize dog training efforts, organize pet adoption events, and support other organizations that provide for the care of animals.

Gatto Gray Water Passes Assembly

    For many Californians, water scarcity and increasing water costs are a daily battle. But both of these issues can be substantially ameliorated by water conservation, and many innovative new technologies exist to help homeowners conserve water. However, homeowners and businesses wishing to conserve water by installing a "graywater" system (for example, to use their shower water to water the lawn) face a confusing patchwork of regulations across California, with many jurisdictions or local building inspectors simply prohibiting installation of water-recycling systems.
    Today the California State Assembly passed a water-conservation bill authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) to help homeowners wishing to install such systems. The bill eliminates the confusing regulations applied by certain local building inspectors and replaces it with a clear state standard, which encourages graywater water recycling. It further requires cities that wish to apply stricter standards for graywater systems to make public findings showing that a stricter standard is necessary for climatic, geological, or topological reasons in their locality.
    "The state has already set a great baseline standard for graywater water-recycling systems based on scientific and public-health considerations. Local governments and building inspectors shouldn't be able to opt out of that standard because of personal prejudices based on misinformation," says Gatto.
    AB 849 passed the Assembly on a 70-0 vote and enjoyed bipartisan support throughout the process. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
    Mike Gatto is the Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore of the California State Assembly.  He represents the cities of Burbank, Glendale, and parts of Los Angeles, including Los Feliz, North Hollywood, Silver Lake, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, and Van Nuys.  He has served in the Assembly since June 2010.

Looking Back

100 years ago this month-Eagle Rock

    On June 9, 1911, The headlines blared: EAGLE ROCK IS REJOICING.; Highway Commission's Decision Gives Pleasure to Residents as the City and County road departments approved a widening and modernization of Colorado Blvd from the soon to be built Colorado Street Bridge to the Glendale border. This was eventually known as Route 66.
    On June 14, 1911, the Women's Twentieth Century Club elected their offices and announced that their building fund had a whopping $586 in its treasury. Mrs. Charles Young was appointed to push the proposition of locating a "humanitarian fountain for man and beast" in the area. Essentially, this was one of the first public drinking fountains to be built.
    Later that month, 16 Eagle Rock boys were awarded the badges of the Humane Animal League of Eagle Rock, organized by Mrs. AC Davis of Neola St. The League eventually became what is now known as the Humane Society, and consisted of volunteers who reported abuse of local animals and livestock.

90 years ago-Highland Park

    Three year old Hubert Whitaker sang at the Sunbeam Theater located at 5722 N Figueroa. The building, heavily altered since then, now houses several businesses, including the old typewriter repair shop that has been there for more than 40 years.

Eagle Rock

    On June 14, 1921, a delegation of Eagle Rock residents met with City of Los Angeles officials to discuss the possibility of becoming part of Los Angeles. The enhanced water and sewage issues was the prime reason that advocates of annexation used to advocate becoming part of the larger city.

85 years ago this month - Highland Park

    Los Angeles County Sheriff William Traeger talked to the Highland Park Kiwanis Club on June 1, 1926, discussing the widespread problem of auto theft. he said that there were nearly 12,000 cars reported stolen in LA County the previous year. Traeger was also running for re-election that year, a race he won. In 1932 he left the office of LA County Sheriff and was elected to one term in the US Congress. He died in 1935.

80 years ago this month - Eagle Rock

    On June 3, 1931, The Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce filed a protest with the LA Police Commission over their decision to remove a police substation that was stationed in town. They contended that the increased traffic and population deserved full time officers.
    94 graduates from the senior class of Eagle Rock High School received their diplomas from assistant superintendent of schools Warren Cross Conrad.
    2705 entries were made to the Stop Forest Fires Committee for a slogan contest. The winnder was Helen Nonam of Eagle Rock, who proudly accepted a $100. check. Her slogan: Life to the Forest-Life to the Tree.Fire Prevention-That is the Key" Ms. Nonham died in 2009 at the age of 87. In June, 1931, Roberts and Roberts store at 1660 W Colorado Blvd offered the new Norge Pacific Refrigerators. Until then, most homes had ice boxes which kept food cold with big blocks of ice delivered to their homes. This is roughly the same building as where Sofa's and More is now.
    Mrs. Georgia Korten, 19 years of age and married to Ernet Korten, lived at 6070 Hayes Ave, Highland Park. Undoubtedly bored and much too young for marriage, she disappeared one weekend and came home with a story of having been kidnapped by three mysterious men who were planning on taking her to Mexico. She told police and her suspicious husband that she broke loose in the Wilshire District and they drove away. Later, her sunburned shoulders and dance tickets to the Ocean Park resort in Santa Monica made her husband tell her she was not welcome back home and she returned to her parents home. The identity of her captors or her weekend suitor was never revealed.

60 years ago - Eagle Rock

    Conrad Buff, a well known Eagle Rock artist, was a featured artist in June, 1951, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Buff, (1886-1975), was known for his brilliantly colored Western scenes. His paintings have sold at auction in the past several years for $30,000-$90,000.
    On June 24, 1951, the Bank of America moved into their new building at 2263 Colorado Blvd, Eagle Rock. They are in the exact same building today.

Highland Park

    Richard Van Veghten, of 1201 Nolden St, Highland Park, suffered a fall when he was seven years old and scar tissue had formed around his brain, leading to numerous surgeries. He was able to finish high school and become involved in the Los Angeles Police Department's Deputy Auxiliary Police, also known as DAPS. Formed right after World War II, it was a way for young people to stay busy and consider a career in law enforcement. Van Veghten was proud of his service and in typically police like ways, arranged his funeral at Forest Lawn, even picking out his grave. When he finally succumbed to his injury on June 21, 1951, a large contingent of fellow DAPS and LAPD Officers were out in force to honor their fallen comrade.

50 years ago this month-1961

Highland Park

    George W. Smith of 6230 Saylin Lane, Highland Park considered himself lucky to be alive when the freight car he was working on in his job for Southern Pacific broke loose in the Burbank switching yard, sending 50 tons of lumber and a runaway train car speeding through Burbank and into Glassell Park towards Taylor Yard in Cypress Park. Starting at speeds of 14 MPH, it eventually got up to 60 MPH. At the corner of San Fernando Road and Fletcher Drive it crashed into another train, killing two. Smith jumped off the train right before the deadly collision.

Eagle Rock

    Mrs Thomas Snow was chosen as president of the Eagle Rock High School PTA for the 1961-1962 term in June, 1961.
    The building firm of Abbott and Bestor was chosen to construct a new senior citizens center at Yosemite Park. The low bid was $35,690 and was approved on June 10, 1961. On June 15, 1961, Gary Rice, a baseball player at Eagle Rock High School, was chosen for the LA Times all star team. The short stop had a batting average of .333. (Was he related to the Coach Rice who was at ERHS a few years later?)
    Having a policeman in the neighborhood can be a very good thing. In June, 1961, LAPD Deputy Chief Noel McQuown heard screaming outside his home at 5305 Mt. Helena Ave, Eagle Rock. He found three boys attacking a girl they knew from school in Glendale. McQuown saved the girl from harm and the suspects were quickly arrested. McQuown went on to many more years wit the LAPD, including being the commanding officer in charge of Senator Robert Kennedy's 1968 Los Angeles assassination.

40 years ago this month-1971

    In response to the massive earthquake that occurred on February 9, 1971, the LAUSD Board approved $50,000 to repair the damaged ceiling in the auditorium building at Franklin High School. It also approved the demolition of the academic building at Eagle Rock High School, which was built in 1929-1932 and not earthquake safe. Another $16,772 was approved to demolish the main building at Rockdale School in Eagle Rock for the same unsafe conditions.
    On June 4, 1971, the LA Times named Eagle Rock High School high jumper Eric Ritterraugh as their athlete of the week. Ritterrath captured the All-Los Angeles city championship with a leap of 6'6" Coach John Oden raved about Ritterrath's performance, saying he was clearly able to go higher. According to LAUSD records, he holds the #2 spot at ERHS for high jump, beat in 1973 by 1/4" by Rich Volk.
    On June 17, 1971, 391 graduating seniors from ERHS gathered at Occidental College for their commencement  ceremony. The next day, 598 Franklin High School seniors made the same proud march.
    On June 23, 1971, Assemblyman David Roberti (D) and economic consultant Bill Brophy were headed for a  runoff in the race for the 27th State Senate District. Roberti beat out Alex P. Garcia for the nomination, who later held the same seat for many years.

35 years ago this month-1976

    The L.A. Unified School District spent more than a 1/2 million dollars for a Bicentennial Extravaganza at the Coliseum. While there was a lot of opposition, most of the students who attended enjoyed it. One letter from a 10th grade student at Eagle Rock High School in the June 4, 1976 edition of the Los Angeles Times, put it well: "As a student who was one of the 72,000 at the Bicentennial Extravaganza, I would like to say it was worth the $600,000 and I will remember it the rest of my life. Normally, when 72,000 kids get together-blacks, whites, Chicanos and Orientals, from rival high schools-there're bound to be minor skirmishes. But to my surprise, there weren't! You could hardly hear all the speakers because of all the cheering. And these kids weren't cheering for their high schools. They were all cheering for one common cause-freedom" Joe Walker, Los Angeles."     Highland Park was rocked by revelations in June, 1976, that a local osteopath, Dr Joseph Emory, had negligently contributed to 25 deaths of newborn babies at several clinics he operated in Los Angeles. One that his family ran was at the corner of Ave 66 and York Blvd. It now is called Chiropractic Family health care.

35 years ago this month-1981

    More trauma hit Eagle Rock this month as the owner of a nursery school at 1525 Colorado Blvd, Eagle Rock, pleaded not guilty to felony child molesting charges stemming from thousands of photographs found in his possession of undressed children. Edwin James Meacham, 48, ran the school with his wife, Isabel. It is now the location of an auto parts store. Meacham served prison time and is listed in the California Megans Law database.
    On June 2, 1981, incumbent Councilmember Peggy Stevenson of the 13th district easily beat off a challenge by local businessman Michael Woo. Calling him a carpetbagger and supported by "radical interests", she won 62% of the vote. Four years later, Woo would challenge Stevenson to a rematch and become the first Asian American on the Los Angeles City Council from 1985 to 1993.
    Highland Federal Savings at 6301 N. Figueroa St. offered 90 day CD's at 14.5%. Today, those same CD's would be around 2%.
    The Ivers Department Store at Ave 58 and N. Figueroa offered women's top quality blouses at $2.99-$6.99 each, reduced from $14-$17. Sizes were for sizes 7-14 only.
    Questions or comments?

Kevin James Mayoral Meet and Greet in Eagle Rock

Radio host and LA mayoral candidate Kevin James makes stop in Eagle Rock bringing a message of ethical responsibility and conciliation

by Ted Ayala

    KRLA radio host and political commentator Kevin James is one of those people that seem ready-made for pursuing public office. By turns affable, folksy, photogenic, and passionate about his political views, it is no wonder that James has earned renown - some would say notoriety - via his national and local radio shows.
    "By tapping into these [viewers], we'll already be a force to contend with in the elections", James told assembled local residents and business leaders at Colombo's Restaurant in Eagle Rock last Tuesday night, May 24th.
    Despite his legion of radio acolytes, Kevin James may still have his work cut out for him. The forthcoming 2013 Los Angeles mayoral race is looking to be one of the most hotly contested in recent memory. Though Angelenos won't be casting any ballots in this race for another two years, aspirants to the city's highest office have already crowded the field. Feeling worn-out and betrayed by the political culture ("a culture of corruption", noted James)  fostered by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, various candidates have picked up on the scent of this discontent and have been clamoring for the attention and support of voters and interest groups eager to put the Villaraigosa era behind them. Adding to James' challenge is that two of the most viable and visible mayoral candidates today - Rick Caruso and Austin Beutner - share James' vision of fiscal conservatism, desire to rid city hall of deeply entrenched pernicious elements, and making the city's economic climate friendlier for businesses.
    In such a field it's easy for James to get overlooked. But don't call him a "dark horse".
    "I prefer to be called an 'outsider'", he said. "I have an outsider's perspective on what needs to get done - and that's important. […] I'm the only candidate willing to make the tough decisions that have to be made."
    Aside from his work in radio, James possesses an enviable record of community involvement and work in the private sector. Most notable is his work for AIDS Project Los Angeles, where he served on its board and as chairman of the organization. James has also worked as an Assistant US Attorney and as an attorney in the entertainment business, the latter which James refers to as being an especially relevant asset.
    "[Los Angeles] has slipped in the entertainment industry", he said. Citing how entertainment jobs have fled to Canada and James' home state of Oklahoma, James noted the importance for a city that has prospered off of the entertainment industry and made its name synonymous with cinema to regain those jobs.
    "To get those jobs back, because of our entertainment infrastructure that we already have, we really don't need to be as business friendly as other [states]. We have the head start here. We have the infrastructure here; we've got the talent pool."
    Touching upon the need for Los Angeles to be more accommodating to businesses, James dismissed the "business tax holiday" for companies to relocate their offices to Los Angeles - an incentive championed by Mayor Villaraigosa, and mayoral candidates Austin Beutner and Eric Garcetti - as a "gimmick".
    'I'm all for lowering the business taxes. But I don't want to do it [piecemeal] for only a few companies. Because if you lower the tax burden for company A, what happens to company B? They are undercut […] by the new guy coming to town. My argument is […] that if you lower the taxes, businesses will come. With lower taxes, more businesses will come […] and that means a higher volume of revenues."
    The incoming mayor will also need to wrangle with the city's public employee unions, a formidable force in the city, and work together with them for the greater public good and for the sake of a balanced budget.
    "We need to fix the budget structurally. […] I will present [cuts in union benefits and hiring] to our public sector unions in a different way. I'm not out to get them, but I am out to work with them in a way that's effective for the city. I really would present them with this not in a threatening way, but as a way to provide them a little bit of job security. […] What [public sector unions] need to understand is that in for us order to be able to afford their contracts, salary, benefits, and healthcare, the private sector needs to do really well. Because the better the private sector does with a more attractive business environment, then the better we'll be able to afford [public sector union] contracts. […] We need to keep their jobs without all these crazy furloughs and lay-offs."
    James stumbled a bit when asked for his opinion on the I-710 extension and what sort of vision he has for the Northeast Los Angeles area.
    "I don't know the answer to that," James candidly admitted.
    But it is that candidness and sense of friendly forthrightness that works well in James' favor. Whether he will prove himself to be a contender has yet to be seen. But time - and his position as an outsider and gadfly - may be on James' side.
    "We've done good work on [my radio program]. The voters will recognize that and get energized."

Local Father's Day Fun:

Shiny Cars,

Hot Cheese & the Coldest Beer in Town

by Jim Hughes

    As Father's Day approaches and kids throughout Eagle Rock, Highland Park and Mt. Washington scuttle down to the mall to pick out yet another tie, I thought a dad's view on what works - the traditional and non-traditional - might be in order. If you're a dad, then great, it's your day. If your dad is still around, even better! Let's run down a perfect day for dad, from sunrise to sunset.
    Food is number one on the Father's Day Fabulous List, and serving up a nice breakfast hits the bulls-eye from the start. Dads are always up for a tasty meal - perhaps a ginormous breakfast burrito from Pete's (see the 5 under $5 article in April's Boulevard Sentinel) or anything slathered in Tommys chili (now available in to-go containers). Surprise dad with a beer in bed! Eagle Rock friends Chris and Frank would probably enjoy a cold IPA at 7 a.m., since they're morning people. (A note to their kids: have mom buy sixers of IPA before the big day - there are several stores that claim to have the coldest beer in town.)
    Now to the day's activities that show dad you care. First, wash and vacuum his car. It can be cleaned with quarters (you could do it before you pick up the breakfast burrito or the chili, wink, wink), have it professionally done on Saturday, or do it yourself with a bucket and wax, early in the cool of the morning.
    Grab your dad, get in his clean, shiny car and hit the road for some bonding. I'm going to suggest staying in town - a Father's Day trip to the beach one year left me sunburned, so that one's off my list this time around. Dads might want to bring their tots and older ones to Kidspace in Pasadena for outdoorsy fun that includes a root beer-making workshop as well as knot-tying and tent-setting races over the weekend. There's the Pasadena Chalk Festival at the Paseo that promises spectacular murals on concrete; kids can create Father's Day cards in a fun and mysterious area named Chalkland. Highland Park's Heritage Square will feature a vintage auto and classic car show (from Model Ts to 1950s hot rods) set among their historical buildings. And Descanso Gardens is throwing a bash with music and BBQ on the greens (remember, at Descanso no outside food is allowed).
    How about the sporting life? I'm a big fan of bowling and a quick trip in that newly-spiffy car will get you to All Star Lanes for a few lines of kegeling. My father worked as a pin-setter in his youth, and any time he can hit the lanes and not be back with the pins is a good thing. For me there's also the allure of miniature golf, and over at the Arroyo Seco Golf Course we have one of the best nine-hole, homemade courses (as well as Par-3 fun) that's spitting distance from Garvanza. Rather be a spectator than a participant? There's apt to be a playoff game that on Sunday that can be watched on the big screens at local establishments including The York, The Coffee Table or maybe even Columbos.
    Culture. Dads need culture, and a film at the Highland Theater is a low-impact experience for fathers, their fathers, and the entire family. The movies are first-run, the prices are affordable, and there's usually a variety of films that interest kids and adults alike.
    Wait, you're saying. Maybe your dad's not around anymore or just not in town? Well, that shouldn't stop you from doing something rewarding on Father's Day. No, I'm not saying you need to take yourself to the Hollywood Bowl for a swinging time - but the mightily-fun Playboy Jazz Festival is in town that day. You can still celebrate Father's Day by offering to volunteer at a local senior center or assisted-living facility. A few minutes helping out can bring smiles from older dads in the neighborhood.
    Dinner time approaches and a barbeque for dad is a smokin' great idea. June is fantastic for lighting up the grill in your backyard or at a local park. Ribs, chicken or burgers can hit the spot, and cleanup is easy. Try picking up the meat at Figueroa Produce on York - the grass-fed beef is tasty and far less expensive than Whole Foods. For something special, I'd suggest making dad a Juicy Lucy burger - a Minneapolis specialty that puts the cheese inside the burger for a molten, cheese-squirtin' experience. Shape the hamburger around a ball of your favorite cheese, grill normally, and protect your lap when you take the first bite. Seriously, grab it by the sides and lean over a plate -- the cheese will squirt out the back and be hot. Most dads love adventure with their dinner!
    Ending out the day is easy - every dad wants to release his inner Al Bundy. So give him a moment to kick off his shoes, settle in on the couch, reach for a cold one and cherish his family near and far. Dads are easy - we're genuinely glad when kids remember its Father's Day - so take a few minutes to smile, enjoy the day, and create a few memories to share.
    Jim Hughes is an Eagle Rock dad who's received many ties (and tie-dyed shirts) from his daughter.

"Still Cruisin"

Greetings hot rod fans!

    Hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend. Lot's of folks were out of town. Although it was a small turnout we did hold a cruise-in and a raffle adding to our charity monies. Thank you to all who participated! The Gearheads and Some of the Trompers were up in Santa Maria for a hot rod show. Our hearts and prayers are with the family of the driver killed on Friday morning when he was ejected from the vehicle and his wife hospitalized. They were traveling the 101 fwy on their way to the show.
    This month we would like to acknowledge some of the ladies that drive hot rods! When Amy Peters (club member) bought her 1968 SS Chevy El Camino 22 yrs ago it was her daily driver. She needed a vehicle and bought this from her brother-in-law for $900. It only had one headlight on each side, no grill, no eyebrows, the interior shot, and the headlining held up by a pin. At least it ran and had a place for her kid's car seats.
    Amy is a car enthusiast and replaced the headlight buckets, taillights, and front fenders herself. She added a new tailgate, new interior, leather bench seat, chromed the bumpers, replaced the trim on the car, and added a cowl hood and Rally rims. Now it was looking good. Her friend Kirk Munday did her body work and built her motor for her. The engine is a 327 small block with 375 HP. She runs a Holly 600 carb, 270 Isky cam, headman headers, 202 heads, hi-volume oil pump, Flowmaster exhaust, and B&M shift kit. Now she sounds good too! Amy loves her hot rod and says "it's still a work in progress and anybody who has a problem with the primer grey paint job can kiss her #%&!". Thanks Amy for clarifying that!
    Next we have the daily driver of club member Sheila Roeper. This beautiful 1972 GMC 3/4 ton pickup is owned by her sweetheart of a husband, Ron. The engine is a ZZ4 350 with 355 HP and it has a 6 speed turbo 400 transmission with a shift-kit. This truck has really got some power but with disc brakes, A/C and power steering it's a comfortable ride.
    Since buying it in 2002 they've made lots of modifications including installing electric cut outs into the exhaust, replacing both front and rear bumpers, and adding a full set of Stewart Warner gauges. The interior is now flawless with 10 speakers in the headlining and the finishing touch, a DVD player. Sheila says "they just drove her on a long trip up through Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and back with no mechanical mishaps. She ran great!" We all wish our vehicles would perform like that.
    Well that's it for this month. Stay safe everybody and stop by Tommy's and say howdy on June 25th.

Santa Cecilia Orchestra's End of Season Concert

by Ted Ayala

    Amid the din of the ecstatically raucous coda of Revueltas' La Noche de los Mayas (The Night of the Mayas)--reverberating thunderously through Occidental College's Thorne Hall after the last blazing chord cut forth - and with the audience at the Santa Cecilia Orchestra's (SCO) end of season concert erupting into an equally raucous standing ovation, it was obvious not only that the SCO had scored yet another musical triumph. With each concert, it becomes clearer that the SCO is perhaps one of the best-hidden cultural gems in the Los Angeles area. This orchestra has emerged as not a meek, well-meaning community orchestra content to saw away lackadaisically at a mattering of the same hackneyed classics time and again, but as a highly disciplined and energetic ensemble who seek not only to spread the joy of great music to the surrounding communities, but to foster interest and inquiry into musical roads that have yet to gain the attention they deserve from the North American and European musical establishments.
    Case in point last Sunday's SSCO concert. Sharing the program were two composers who are not only the very greatest Mexico has bequeathed to the world. These are two composers who--different as they are from each other - stand eye-to-eye with the United States' and Europe's most acclaimed composers; even rising head-and-shoulders above some of their better known contemporaries.
    Revueltas and Catán, sitting at opposite ends of the 20th century, represent two very different facets of Mexico's musical soul. The veins of Revueltas' muse course hot with the lifeblood of Mexico's folklore and street vernacular. Often dismissed as a musical primitive, Revueltas' extensive writings and musical criticism display the mind of a man of profound erudition and culture who turned his back on European tradition not because he was incapable of working in traditional forms, but because his unique musical language had no use for musty traditions at odds with his searing vision. In his music beats - like in the work of his musical kindred soul Modest Mussorgsky - the voice of a people, long downtrodden, yearning to be heard. Revueltas, belonging to the first generation to come to maturity after the Mexican Revolution, was keenly aware of his musical raison d'être.
    Catán's oeuvre, sitting astride the 20th and 21st centuries, represents altogether a different vein. In his music breathes the romantic languorousness and open-hearted gregariousness of the Latin American temperament. Throughout this lissomely melodic music is stamped not only the imprint of Catán's classical forebears, especially that of Puccini, but also the honeyed romantic ballads and boléros of Agustín Lara, Gonzalo Curiel, and their like. Catán's musical voice is also one that reflects his time and place, where the old nationalist ethos has given way to a new musical that seeks to be a citizen of the world.
    Daniel Catán's music opened up the first half of the program beginning with the wistful overture to the Mexican telenovela, El Vuelo del Aguila (The Eagle's Flight), a historical drama surveying the rise and fall of Mexican military hero and president Porfirio Díaz. The nostalgic waltz melody that serves as the overture's principal theme vividly resounded with the echoes of Mexico's "Porfiriato" era, which spanned the close of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century and came to an end with Díaz's resignation and the start of the Mexican Revolution.
    An intermezzo from Catán's final completed opera Il Postino followed. Its gentle melancholy was made all the more poignant in the wake of its composer's untimely passing. Featuring principal oboist Sarah Beck on the oboe d'amore, a mellower sounding cousin of the standard oboe, she effortlessly allowed Catán's voice to speak with an eloquently elegiac tone that left the audience utterly rapt in her wake. Beck's plangent tone was a wonder of hushed beauty.
    But it was perhaps Catán's percussion concerto Caribbean Airs that best reflected the man's temperament. Subverting the notion that music for percussion is by nature loud and coarse, the concerto presented the percussion soloists (Jason Goodman, Bruce Carver, and Brad Dutz) with music of an eloquent and almost melodic quality. The dance-hall music popular in Latin America during the mid 20th century echoed eloquently. In fact, Caribbean Airs had a distinctly retrospective quality. Almost as if Catán was penning a bittersweet farewell to the popular idioms of his youth, now long supplanted by extraneous musical forms of dubious quality. It was a loving embrace of memory--and played warmly by the SCO and Maestra de León de Vega.
    The panoramic musical frescoes of Revueltas' La Noche de los Mayas, originally incidental music for an eponymous Mexican film, with its bold lines and primary colors was worlds away from Catán's gentler aquarelles. From the very opening bars, with its pounding bass drum and regal main chorale theme, the music gripped the audience by the throat. Through this music, one felt the very voice of the Mexican soul speaking. Now teeming with energy; now defiant and acidulously humorous. But also, as in the Noche de Yucatán movement, tender and as sublimely romantic as one could ever dream. In this movement, the SCO and de León de Vega were breathtaking. With controlled and pliant playing from the string and superb woodwind work, one could almost see the tapestry of limitless stars in the night sky hovering over them; the expanse of the Mexican coast before one's eyes. Especially memorable in this movement was principal flautist Salpy Kerkonian's playing. Towards the end of this movement, Revueltas has a flute gently intone an ancient Maya melody that was one of the very earliest recorded in Western musical notation. Kerkonian's moonlit playing nearly suspended time with its beauty and eloquence.
    But with the snap of fortississimo bass pizzicatos came the work's final movement, La Noche de Encantamientos (The Night of Enchantments). Drawing forth a panorama of wild jubilation, Revueltas closes this symphonic suite with ritualistic and orgiastic music requiring a veritable troop of percussionists. Topping this is the repeated crazed conch shell cry (played brilliantly by Bill Roeper) that pierces through this music, fomenting the rest of the orchestra into ever frenzied waves of rhythmic abandon. Maestra de León de Vega had full measure of the music here, leading the SCO into a blazing coda that conquered all before it.
    After such a brilliant close, it's going to be even harder to wait a whole Summer until the next SCO concert. But with the level of musicianship and the creative programming displayed here, you can bet that I'll be waiting - impatiently, to be sure - but ever ready for their next season.

Laws of Attraction

An exploration of the invisible connection represented in the visual art of artist couples.

Curator's Statement -

    The reflections and refractions between partners are the guiding influences for the exhibition, The Laws of Attraction. The working relationships between artists that are also couples is complex. With each partnership there are profound complementary moments of difference and of symbiosis.
    The objective of The Laws of Attraction is to celebrate the individual artists participating as well as explore the impact of personal relationships on art practices. Couples sought for the show are both visual artists who have shown their work independently.
    In many careers, the work of couples sharing the same profession may go unnoticed. In art practices, we can more readily access bonds through visual representation. However, the concept of exhibiting the visual art of couples invites the viewer to navigate a more intimate vantage point of the artists, as the work itself becomes a testimony to compatibility.
    There is an invisible, yet present, support between them. Despite the differences in medium and subject, much of the couples' work naturally gravitates. The NELA artists have been selected to participate have their own careers in art to share a space together. Photography, Ceramics, Drawing, Sculpture, Textile Art, Painting and Mixed Media, as well as Digital Art are all represented. Each artist selected has participated in our exhibitions at the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock at least once over the last twelve years. This showcase of artists as couples will be the first group show of its kind at Center for the Arts Eagle Rock. It is an exploration of how the personal and professional lives of artists intersect. - Renee Dominique.
    Artist include Carl Smith and the late Donald Krieger, Brian and Mary Jean Mallman, Cidne Hart and Kevin Haas, Marcos Lutyens and Yi Ping Hau, Jeff Klarin and Rebecca Johnson, Jamison Carter and Margaret Griffith, Samatha Fields and Andre Yi, John O'Brien and Cielo Pessione. A video produced with each couple at their studio or at the Center will document each artist and how they discovered their artist partner created by flim makers and couple Barbara Green and Michell Boyaner. This will give the exhibition a personal accessibility, as well as connect the artist, their art and make a little more tangible the bond that connects people. In conjunction, during the course of the exhibition, there will be a free discussion with the artists who choose to share their journey and the merging of their path with their partner.
    This exhibit is made possible by a generous grant by the Pasadena Arts Alliance. Through June 17, 2011. Gallery Hours: M-F 11am-5pm or by special arrangement


The "New" York Blvd. Picks 3 Projects

Will it Bring Gentrification?

by Tom Topping
    The process to revitalize and beautify York Boulevard continued on April 6, with the latest community workshop. Landscape Architect and U.C. Berkeley lecturer Steve Rasmussen Cancian led the meeting attended by about 60 residents, business people and community leaders.
    The effort is called the living streets project and the above description of revitalizing and beautifying does not completely describe what it is that could come of this. In fact, although some beautifying and revitalizing is likely to happen, the real result is or should be a little more complicated. It will probably be a considered an improvement by most, but may look a bit different than you'd expect.
    Old Town Pasadena was revitalized around 20 years ago. The revitalization led to gentrification, which basically is the displacement of everyone currently in the area as developers take over to create a "go to" destination. The process creates winners out of connected developers, who reap the benefits of redevelopment dollars, soaring rents and property values. They buy low and then sell high just a few years later.
    Now, Pasadena's downtown areas are occupied by high end retailers and restaurants. It has a theme park feel to it now. Gone are the panhandlers and drug dealers, but also gone are the people and anchor businesses that kept the town alive for decades (In many cases kicking out the very same folks who worked and paid for the improvements). Gone is the Barber College where you could get a $3 hair cut. Gone are the dive bars where you could listen to live music and get a $1.50 beer. Gone is Ernie Jrs Taco House where you could take the family for dinner without ending up with a ballooning credit card bill.
    The revitalization of Eagle Rock that started 15 years ago is a faint shadow of Old Town Pasadena, with some very nice eating and drinking establishments, coffee houses, workout studios and other retail businesses. But thankfully, the lack of parking prevents the Abercrombie and Fitchs, Banana Republics, Cheesecake Factorys or Hooters from coming in like those that now grace the streets of Old Town Pasadena.
    However, even in Eagle Rock, as developer-speculators (shopping centers, live/work lofts, senior and low-income housing developments) come in, historic buildings, real affordable housing and mom and pop businesses get pushed out.
    Steve Rasmussen Cancian and his Living Streets concept does something different.
    After getting some experience in community organizing and working for the campaigns of politicians like Jesse Jackson, he developed an interest in landscape architecture, as a way to address the needs he saw in communities, one of which was to prevent gentrification.
    While a student at Berkeley, he noticed that when people are out on the streets, the developers stay away. He began coming up with affordable street furniture that encouraged people of West Oakland, California to come to the street, much as people would gather at the town squares of  years ago. (Or the Plaza, in the case of the original Pueblo de Los Angeles- you know, at Olvera Street?) He discovered that where this occurred, the streets would become much cleaner, and safer, too.
    Much like a "living room" on the sidewalk, people who wanted to be there would keep it cleaner, just as they would their own living room. And as the neighbors gathered to visit, talk, or play cards, the criminal element lost their anonymity, and would go somewhere else with their nefarious intents.
    But that wasn't the only asset. The redevelopers and speculators were repulsed as well, because high-end condominium buyers don't buy in a neighborhood where people of color are gathered on the street, right across the street from your future home.
    I didn't really get where Cancian was coming from until I researched him a little. Although consultants are criticized as the only ones financially benefiting from a process like this, I am convinced he is coming from the right place, and Highland Park is lucky to have him. (Nice one, Jose! How did you find him?)
    The agenda for April 6 was to first go over the voting from previous meetings. Previously, people were showed samples of improvements, came up with their ideas of the improvements they wanted for York Boulevard, and voted on the projects as a way to decide what to get to work on, and spend the $100,000 grant money on. Tonight they would add other projects to the list, and then vote on that expanded list.
    Steve listed all the latest ideas on large sheets, and instructed everyone that they could vote for only three things on the list. As each item came up, there was a count of hands, and below is the ideas and the tally for each item.
    I counted the total votes and was surprised to determine that no one voted more than the three times allowed. If anything, they voted less. Out of the 19 items, the top three were chosen to be the projects to take on this year. The three top projects chosen this night would be a pocket park for the old Shell station lot at Avenue 50 and York, antique lighting for a section of the boulevard and a welcome arch, monument or signage to identify the section that might be described as "York Village."
    There was discussion that followed that basically asked folks to reconsider their decision. What they voted for did not really fit the concepts that Cancian had developed through his years of experience. They would be improvements for sure, but not really ones that would dissuade gentrification or get the most bang for the limited bucks available.
    Projects that could have been completed easily and quickly were overruled by those that use the money only as seed money to raise funds to buy and build a Shell Station pocket park. And an affordable push for street furniture for people to sit with the tree plantings to provide the shade would be forgone for the antique lighting to support the short distance of the tavern row between Avenues 50 and 52. Not mentioned was the idea that worked well in Eagle Rock, where business owners and property owners could get matching funds to improve their store fronts, or a sub-program of that program where business and property owners got free professional architectural and design help, so they could do something classy and tasteful when they were ready to spend their own money on a remodel, or just a paint job or new signage.
    The York Boulevard improvement effort will, no doubt, create some improvements on that boulevard. However, the livable streets concept, that worked in the areas of ethnicity and color in West Oakland, does not yet seem to be taking hold here in Highland Park. Is it that the suburban mindset now overshadows the urban in the adjacent neighborhoods, precluding the desire to inhabit the streets? Or is the second stage of gentrification already taking hold, as conservative upper middle class couples move into the long time trendy and artsy neighborhood?
    If you have an opinion on the projects, perhaps now might be the time to get involved. Call Jose Huizar's Eagle Rock/Highland Park field office and ask to be put on the list so you'll know when and where to get a chance to speak up. 323 254 5295

Lost and Found Animal Companions

    I recently lost a pet and discovered there was no coordinated website that related to just northeast L.A. For posting information about lost or found animal companions. I am starting this here to publicize and generate interest in having a very local bulletin board for such notices. A web based program is in the works that will allow folks to post lost and found animal companions on-line and browse though them.

New Northeast L.A.

Pet Lost and Found

At 9:45 this morning a Boston bulldog (presumably) showed up at 976 Montecito. Collar, healthy, friendly. Call 323-221-8225 and give color of collar. Ruthie.

Very friendly and sweet female calico cat, approximately 1 year old. If you've lost your pet, please call Janice, 323-258-1925

German Shepherd Mix "RUFUS" Pepper Street and Cypress Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90065, Missing Since 05/29/11 around 3pm - Gentle, Shy, Neutered German Shepherd mix last seen on Sunday around 3pm wearing a grey thundershirt and brown/red bandana. is microchipped and had a collar with tags on. Needs his medication. May be shy with strangers but responds well to his name. Has a broken toe on his right paw which makes his toenail protrude. If you do see him and can't catch him (very friendly, but probably scared) please call Megan. 310-381-9030

Dr. Richard Dyke Receives Service Award

    Dr. Richard W. Dyke, of Highland Park, was recently honored by the California- Neveda-Hawaii District of Kiwanis International during the official visit of the District Governor, Thomas Millham, on May 22, 2011 at the Angeles National Golf Club.  He received the Kiwanis Distinguished Community Service Award for his service on the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council 2003-2010.
    His professional skills enabled him to produce beautifully written council communications and documents; he served as committee chair, Vice President, and a total of 3-1/2 years as President.
    Dr. Dyke also wrote and successfully received a Tony Hawk foundation Grant for the Garvanza Skate Park, which raised the profile of the Highland Park skate Park within the world of skate park design and popularity.
    Together with Heinrich Keifer, Todd Taylor and Chris Devlin, the four men were able to expand the design into one of the best skate parks in the city of Los Angeles.
For more information go to:
Pictured left to right: Lt Governor Marko Swan, Dr. Richard W. Dyke, Governor Thomas
CCUWC vs. Citibank - RD. 2
Dear Editor,
    Just an update on the little brouhaha my grass roots organization (CCUWC) had with Citibank last month concerning their refusal to do service with me because of my small educational non-profit being associated with 'medical marijuana'.
    At this time Citibank has decided to review my application for opening a bank account with them. We are currently engaged in open and rational discussion and my belief is that in the end this little bump in the road will be worked out to the benefit of both parties.
    My overall opinion of Citibank and its employees is one of great respect and admiration. They are always very friendly to me when I conduct financial transactions in the bank and have never had any problems with any of my other bank accounts there. (I wish they would get the clock tower working again, though).
    I definitely understand the somewhat controversial nature of the whole emerging industry of 'medical marijuana' and am quite aware of the current International Law which tells our Federal government to enforce Prohibition on our citizens.
    And I greatly respect a businesses' right to refuse serve to any customer but really it should be for only for a good and valid reason.
    That being said, I still believe that our individual right to Freedom of Speech must, at times, be fought for even though one may seem to be speaking in the minority at the time and facing a much more powerful adversary.
    I'll try to keep the community posted on how this ground breaking situation plays out.
    I started the CCUWC last year after feeling that the local Medical Marijuana Collectives were being unfairly persecuted by the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council and some of the local prohibition crusaders. I respect the fact that the City of Los Angeles is trying to figure out how to tax and regulate this new industry but I just couldn't sit by and let some members on the Council make up all kinds of untrue stuff about these relatively benign small businesses.
    Anyway, CCUWC's medical marijuana support group will be meeting as usual next month at Columbo's restaurant on Saturday, June 25th from 12noon to 2:00pm. See you there!
Tim Ryder
Cannabis Clubs United With the Community




Christopher Nyerges

[Nyerges can be reached at Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041, or at www.ChristopherNyerges. com]
    I attended a talk recently about the flora and fauna of the Arroyo Seco, which is the canyon to our east, more or less between Eagle Rock and Pasadena, approximately 21 miles long from the mountains south to Dodger Stadium where it flows into the Los Angeles River.
    Mickey Long gave the talk, and many of you may know Long as the naturalist who was the director of Eaton Canyon Nature Center for many years. He had a well-known open-door policy where you could bring in any plant or animal to have it identified, and if Long didn't know, he'd work with you to find out. "That open door policy was when I was young and I didn't even have a door on my office," said Long to much laughter.
    Long began his talk by defining the five plant communities that can be found in the Arroyo Seco: coastal sage scrub, southern oak woodland, chaparral, riparian, and alluvial fan sage scrub. He began studying the ecology of the Arroyo Seco in 1960, and shared some of the field notes he recorded over the years, which showed what species of plants and animals he observed and how many.
    "We can't know if species are declining if accurate records are not kept," he points out. He pointed out that the Arroyo Seco is one of the "type localities" where certain animals can only exist. In the Arroyo Seco, this includes the side-blotched lizard as well as the frog known as Rana boyli muscosa.
    In Long's presentation, he shared photos of the most common riparian plants of the Arroyo Seco, which he called the "big four." These include the common willows, which are abundant and reseeds readily from the seeds that are carried in the wind like little parachutes. The white alder is another common riparian plant, which appear like white telephone poles that line the water ways. There is also the black cottonwood with its heart-shaped leaves, and the sycamore with its characteristic puzzle bark.
    Introduced plants were also shared, though not all are invasive. The tree tobacco, not a native, grows tall and its yellow tubular flowers provide food for hummingbirds.
In fact, birds are Long's greatest love, and he shared many of the birds he's observed over several decades in the Arroyo Seco. He's noted for example, that the Allen's hummingbird now seems to stay here through the winter, and this might be, in part, due to the food provided by the tree tobacco flowers.
    On June 18, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Mickey Long (and about a dozen other authors of natural history) will be signing books and giving a talk at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center in Pasadena. The summer book festival, called "Books That Enrich Our Lives," will feature local authors and their books on science, nature, indigenous culture, local history, self-reliance, and green living. There is no charge for the event.
    Mickey Long, who wrote "Birds of Whittier Narrows," will talk about his book and have copies available. Authors on books of local history, landscaping, and science will also be present. The event is free, and will be held at Eaton Canyon Nature Center, 1750 Altadena Drive, Pasadena. If you have questions, call (626) 398-5420.
    Currently, I'm doing a weekly "podcast" radio show called Weekly Report. Each new show airs on-line on Thursdays at 7 p.m. at Preparedness Radio Network. Check You can also find the podcast by going to my web site at and going to Links.
    We often forget the many sacrifices that "good fathers" make for their children, and the roles they played in shaping their children's lives. Father's Day gives us the opportunity to demonstrate our love and care not only to our own fathers, and also to acknowledge those men who give a living model of what is honorable and moral.
    On Sunday, June 19. at noon, join me at WTI's Fathers Day event where we discuss these timeless principles of father-ness, share some light refreshments, and view segments of a film. The event will be at 5835 Burwood Avenue in Highland Park. Call Prudence at 323 620-4720 for details.

The Bugman of Mt. Washington

by Brenda Rees

    "The Bugman" is a nom de plume that David Marlos, a resident of Mt. Washington, didn't actively seek out, but one that he wholeheartedly relishes and embraces with sophisticated gusto.
    As a full-time instructor of photography at Los Angeles Community College in their media arts department and occasional part time teacher at Art Center College of Design, Marlos has been leading a double life as the world-famous Bugman for more than a decade. His charming wit and boundless enthusiasm for learning is the glue that holds together the popular website "What's That Bug?"(, that's been an Internet sensation since its introduction in 1998.
    Because of the success of the popular website – which drew 2 million people last year from 219 countries – Marlos has just published his first book, The Curious World of Bugs: The Bugman's Guide to the Mysterious and Remarkable Lives of Things That Crawl" from Penguin Group publishing.
    So how was "The Bugman" born? Or rather, hatched?
    Marlos got his first taste of entomological writing back in the 1990s when he agreed to help his friend Lisa Anne Auerbach with a Xeroxed publication she was producing aptly named American Homebody. "It was meant to be a friendly alternative to Martha Stewart with recipes, tips and ideas," he says. Marlos told Auerbach that he wanted to write a regular column about bugs, even though he had no background in the subject. "People always want to find out what kind of bug they have discovered in the bathroom, outdoors, etc." he says. "As a child growing up in Ohio, I had – and still do — a great fascination with insects."
    The 'zine moved online in 1998, but over the months it was apparent that Marlos' column struck a chord with readers. People were logging in and sending digital pictures of strange and interesting bugs, insects they found in their homes, while on vacation, hiking or just down the street. Everyone wanted to know "what's that bug?" and Marlos became the self-proclaimed insect expert.
    Overwhelmed with the requests, Marlos reached out to the real experts in the field who could help him identify and give information about the critters people have discovered, including flies, wasps, beetles, caterpillars, scorpions, spiders, etc. Marlos quickly learned that the insect world is a complex, specific and almost magical in its depth and breath.
    In 2002, "What's That Bug?" branched out on its own as a unique website and today receives about 140-200 legitimate emails from readers all over the world per day. Per day. With 15,000 posts under its belt, the website can translate queries from 50 languages, including Arabic and Japanese. Accolades include Yahoo Pick of the week in 2003, USA Today Hotsite in 2004, Earthlink Weird Web in 2006, Real Simple Magazine in 2006, Sunset Magazine in 2007, and a lecture at the Getty in 2008. Gooogle the word "Bug" and the first listing will be "What's That Bug?"
Marlos is proud that the site is child-friendly even with a section on Bug Love (photos of mating bugs accompanied by the occasional double entendre) and the sometimes-disturbing Carnage section (photos of squashed bugs).
    The Bugman is a strong supporter of not killing bugs. "People react fast and don't realize that just about every bug they encounter is perfectly harmless and not worth killing," says Marlos. The website, while it celebrates bugs, understands that there are those out there who shriek from them. To that end, Marlos uses the website as a platform to preach tolerance and encourage readers to look more objectively at bugs as natural engineering marvels.
    Here's a sample of a recent typical email question and the Bugman's response:

Location: Lynnwood, WA
May 24, 2011 12:48 am
Holy crap, I was eating my angel food cake and spotted this thing crawling around in it. I flipped out mentally, but brought it out to my kitchen where the light was better and set it down to take pictures of it.
I went through the rest of the cake pretty thoroughly and found no evidence of other similar bugs, but I can't shake the feeling that this thing was in here before I bought it at the grocery store.
Please help me figure out what it is, and tell me if it's dangerous.
Signature: – Freaked Out

Dear Freaked Out,

    We do not mean in any way to minimize the trauma you felt upon encountering this lost Lacewing Larva while eating your angel food cake, however, we chuckled none the less. The Lacewing Larva, if it was capable of feelings, would have also felt traumatized at the realization that it was no longer in a habitat conducive to hunting Aphids. Lacewing Larvae are found in gardens and among plants and they are very adept hunters that are cherished by organic gardeners because they help to control harmful insects. Lacewings are even sold in quantities, though they are not quite as popular as either Lady Bugs or Preying Mantids in the biological warfare arena. We highly doubt you found any additional Lacewing Larvae in your cake, though we feel quite certain that the entire pastry ended up in the garbage can.
    This month, Marlos is answering requests from Northern Hemisphere readers, while in the winter, emails will come pouring in from the Southern. In addition to his website duties ("The first hours of my day are spent answering emails before I go to school"), Marlos is excited about the buzz brewing about his new book.
    "It's done in the spirit of What's That Bug? but a little more organized," he says calling it a Farmer's Almanac-style book that contains short stories, tidbits and facts. Unlike the website though, there are no photos – just wonderful vintage line-drawings of insects which elevates the book into an artistic celebration of the science of insects.
    The Curious World of Bugs is garnering some great reviews: Good Reads says the book "celebrates bugs for what they truly are: strange, mysterious, cute, beautiful, and occasionally disturbing…[it] offers a glimpse into the magical world of bugs that bite, infest, fascinate, repulse, and inform us all."
    All in all, teacher by day, Bugman by early morning, Marlos sees the world of insects both scientific and artistic. He can rattle off facts and figures about the Iron Cross Blister Beetle but also wax poetic about the charmed life of the Brunner's Mantid, a mantid species of in Texas that have evolved to only be female, no males. They reproduce by cloning, of all things.
    As it goes, Marlos owes a lot to bugs; they have given him a second "glamorous" life as well as a deep appreciation for the natural world. "It's all about the interconnectivity of all things on this planet. We can't eliminate one species without affecting others," he says. "We can appreciate these lower beasts and, in the process, get a bigger picture of the world around us."
    Brenda Rees is an Eagle Rock resident and editor of Southern California Wildlife (, a website devoted to news, information and resources for the diversity of life found in SoCal.

New Surveillance Camera Added at Park Where Jogger Was Attacked

    Councilmember José Huizar joined members of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Community and Northeast LAPD Saturday to announce the installation of a surveillance camera at the sight of a brutal attack.
    The surveillance camera is the second camera installed at the park. The first one has been moved to a more strategic location at the park. "This new surveillance camera gives us another tool to monitor activity at the park and deter crime," said Councilmember José Huizar. "This is a community park enjoyed by children and their families and my thanks go out to the ERNC and all those who have worked with my office to make sure it stays that way."
    While crime is low in Eagle Rock, Councilmember Huizar and community organizations had already had a plan in place to add the second security camera at Yosemite Park well before the attack occurred.
    Safety improvements at Yosemite Park include increased police patrols in and around the park, including truancy checks; additional lighting; new signage prohibiting skateboarding in certain sections of the park, as well as others stating no loitering in the park between 10 p.m.-5 a.m.; additional graffiti removal and a community cleanup.
    The two cameras at the park, along with about a dozen other ones on Colorado, Eagle Rock and York Boulevards are all monitored by the Northeast Los Angeles Police Department.

Lummis Day Print Fair- June 5,

12 to 5 p.m.

    As part of the annual showcase of Northeast L.A. music, dance, poetry, art and food, the 6th Annual Lummis Day Festival presents a survey of original prints by eight artists in an exhibit to be mounted within the historic rooms of Lummis Home as art of this year's all-day event, Sunday, June 5.
    Titled "The Lummis Day Print Fair: An Impression of Northeast Los Angeles," the show was curated by artist Jose de Juan and will be on display at Lummis Home (3800 East Avenue 43) from noon to 5:00pm (immediately following the 10:30 am [poetry reading that begins the day's activities.)
    Artists participating in the exhibition are Olivia Barrionuevo, Kathy Gallegos-Mas, Cidne Hart, Linda Lyke, Don Newton, Poli Marichal, Sonia Romero and Rod Smith.
    Lummis Day is a celebration of the colorful patchwork of cultural traditions that enrich the neighborhoods of Northeast L.A. The dual-site family-friendly Festival runs from 10:30 am - 7:00 pm and admission to all Lummis Day events is free.
    The main stages for Lummis Day's performances will again be located at Heritage Square Museum (3800 Homer Street), where the best of homegrown Northeast L.A. music, dance, food and community resources will be presented amid the historic and architecturally significant buildings that have been preserved at Heritage Square Museum. The Heritage Square site opens at 1:00 pm. Some of the historic building at Heritage Square will be available to Festival-goers via docent-led tours.
    For updates, including parking information and performance schedules, visit
    Lummis Day, 1:p.m., located at Heritage Square Museum (3800 Homer Street), homegrown Northeast L.A. music, dance, food and community presented at Heritage Square Museum. Heritage Square will be available to Festival-goers via docent-led tours. For updates, parking information and performance schedules

Re-KINDLE your love of REAL books; (i)PAD your home library for a few bucks!

    Books, books, and more books! Take a boxload of classics home for the price of one "eBook" download; fill your car's trunk for less than the cost of an eReader.
[NOTE: Centuries of study have shown that paper books: require NO special lighting (just ask Abe Lincoln); run indefinitely WITHOUT needing to be recharged; and seldom BREAK when dropped on hard surfaces (although your bookmark may fall out...). They require no special technological expertise, and "boot up" instantly -- without any wireless connections.]
    Spurred by the recent "retirement" of many hundreds of older books from the library and overflowing storage, the Friends of the Cypress Park Library will host an extra Saturday sale this year on June 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Funds raised will also go towards this year's kids and youth reading programs at the library, as well as other needed supplies for library staff.
    Thousands of used, near-new, and (possibly) rare and out-of-print books for all interests will be made available, as well as some audio books, movies (DVD and VHS), and music tapes and CDs. Everything will again be offered for sale to the public at bargain prices (25 cents to $1).
    For those who miss this larger Saturday sale of all available books, Friends of the Library volunteers also host afternoon mini-sales most other weekends, each Saturday at the branch library.
    Friends' periodic book sales take place in the library's Community Room at 1150 Cypress Avenue (at Alice Street), in the Northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Cypress Park. Contact (323) 224-0039 for general library information.
Friends of the Cypress Park Library extra Saturday sale on June 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the library's Community Room 323) 224-0039 for information.