Environment, News, Santa Barbara »

Southern California Prepares for El Niño

Posted November 20, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
El Nino 2

At a recent town hall meeting in the San Bernardino County community of Chino, residents packed an auditorium to hear from local, state and federal officials about the need to get ready for a very wet winter because of predicted El Niño storms.
“The bottom line is El Niño is here,” said Alex Tardy, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “It’s record-breaking already. …

economy, News »

Crossing Borders: Inside L.A.’s Bicultural Bakery Chain

Posted November 12, 2015 by | 9 Comments | ]

In Los Angeles’ immigrant neighborhoods, it’s not uncommon for the grand opening of a store or restaurant to be accompanied by a live mariachi group. That happened recently at the opening of La Monarca bakery and café in L.A.’s Highland Park neighborhood. It was the seventh store to open in a growing Los Angeles-area chain specializing in traditional Mexican baked goods and sweets like pan …

Arts & Culture »

Inside L.A.’s first transgender modeling agency

Posted October 23, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]

On a recent afternoon, lots of very beautiful people gathered in a downtown Los Angeles hotel ballroom. They were all models, there to audition for clothing designers participating in L.A. Fashion Week. Many of the models were female, many were male, but some identified themselves as transgender. Those models were represented by Los Angeles-based Slay Model Management, the first modeling agency in L.A. specializing …

Commentary, News, Politics »

How a 1965 immigration law shaped today’s Los Angeles

Posted October 2, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

What does Lyndon Johnson have to do with the creation of L.A.’s Koreatown?

The lasting effects of the Immigration Act of 1965 were apparent at a recent swearing in ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Over 6,000 people from 140 countries sat in neat rows before a stage and a giant American flag. Some of the largest numbers of people came from countries like the Philippines, China, Armenia and …

News »

On the edge of LA’s tallest skyscraper, the Wilshire Grand

Posted September 23, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

If you’re in downtown Los Angeles or just driving by, it’s easy to spot the construction of the Wilshire Grand Tower as it rises ever higher into the sky. When it’s done, the Wilshire Grand, at 1,1100 feet high,will be the tallest building in L.A. and the tallest west of the Mississippi.
I recently got an opportunity to visit this skyscraper-in-the-making. A ride inside a cage-like construction …

Arts & Culture, News, Santa Barbara »

Sainthood for Junipero Serra, California’s controversial founding father

Posted September 21, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

One of the acts on Pope Francis’ agenda important act on his agenda while he’s here is to bestow sainthood on Father Junipero Serra, the Spanish priest who founded California’s mission system in the 18th Century.
Orange County’s Mission San Juan Capistrano is a reminder of the time of Juniper Serra. The ten acre site includes manicured gardens, gracious stone arcades, and atmospheric 18th Century chapels (ancient by Southern …

economy, Education, News, Politics »

Why is the LAUSD building affordable housing?

Posted September 3, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

If you look around Los Angeles, you’ll see lots of new housing being built, especially in gentrifying neighborhoods like downtown and Hollywood. But most of that housing, whether rental units or condominiums, are luxury units and far too expensive for hundreds of thousands of working L.A. residents to ever live in. And if it needs saying, that’s bad.
Recent studies show that the average renter in …

Education, News »

What’s next for the anti-vaccine movement?

Posted August 20, 2015 by | 3 Comments | ]

Following the measles outbreak earlier this year that originated at Disneyland and infected 183 people and the passage of California’s tough new vaccination law, California has become ground zero for a national debate about vaccinations. At the center of the debate is whether mandatory inoculations should be required for all children before they start school, no matter what the personal beliefs of parents.
To better understand the issue …

News, Watts Riots: 50 Years Later »

A walk through today’s Watts

Posted August 11, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Watts Sign

“Six days of rioting in a Negro section of Los Angeles left behind scenes reminiscent of war torn cities, more than a hundred square blocks were decimated by fires and looters and few buildings were left intact.”
That’s how one news broadcast reported the immediate aftermath of the Watts Riots in August of 1965. The unrest was sparked by the stop of a black motorist …

News »

Gentrification comes to the L.A. River

Posted August 4, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

For decades, the Los Angeles River was a kind of civic embarrassment to L.A., the butt of jokes and the waterway that many Angelenos forgot even existed. If people wanted to see a great and beloved urban river, they’d go to Paris for the Seine or to London to gawk at the Thames.
But the L.A. River’s reputation and fortunes are turning around. Looking long …

News »

Photos: Sidewalk vendors face possible legalization

Posted June 25, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

Los Angeles is in the midst of a debate about what to do with the city’s large population of sidewalk vendors. It’s a issue that touches on such issues as entrepreneurship, business fairness, and how best to use public space in the city.

News, The Minimum Wage »

The battle to raise the minimum wage in Los Angeles

Posted May 19, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Minimum Wage rally

Update: The LA City Council has voted 14-1 in favor of drafting a plan to raise the minimum wage.

At a recent event at Los Angeles’ City Hall to honor L.A.’s small business owners, Mayor Eric Garcetti trumpeted the city’s economic achievements during his time in office.
The audience, business owners listening to Garcetti, sat politely; but just under the surface there was anger and anxiety about proposals …

Arts & Culture, News »

California’s new production tax program aims to keep and create jobs

Posted May 12, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]

A big budget movie called “San Andreas” is coming out just in time for the summer blockbuster season. It’s a film with a very California storyline: Monster earthquakes strike the state, flattening both Los Angeles and San Francisco.
California may play a starring role in San Andreas, but most of the movie wasn’t shot in Golden State. It was shot an ocean away in Queensland, Australia. That’s because the …

News »

California’s nearly forgotten history of resettling Vietnamese refugees in 1975

Posted April 22, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

Forty years ago this month, the final shots of the Vietnam War were being fired. In the besieged city of Saigon, desperate South Vietnamese, who had allied themselves with the Americans, were looking for a way to get themselves and their families out by airplane, helicopter or boat.
A hasty rescue effort dubbed “Operation New Life,” organized by the U.S. government would eventually bring more than 130,000 Vietnamese …

Education, Issues, News »

Ay yi iPad: SEC is latest to investigate LAUSD program

Posted April 17, 2015 by and | 1 Comment | ]

Providing every student with an iPad was supposed to revolutionize education in L.A. schools and prepare students for the future. Instead the computer tablets are creating a billion-dollar headache for LAUSD leaders.
Just a couple of days ago, LAUSD officials demanded a refund from tech giant Apple because the district says educational software on the devices doesn’t work. The software was provided by the New …

Arts & Culture, economy, Environment »

How your garden tells the story of immigration in Southern California

Posted March 19, 2015 by | 6 Comments | ]

The buzzing of leaf blowers, weed whackers and lawnmowers are part of Southern California’s sonic landscape. And the people usually holding those machines are Latino immigrant men, who call themselves jardineros, Spanish for gardeners. It’s their labor that gives curb appeal to so many homes, keeping lawns neatly trimmed, hedges pruned and weeds at bay.
The story of the jardineros also reveals the long relationship between immigration and the …

News »

Conflict over the Nixon Presidential Library

Posted February 17, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Richard Millhouse Nixon was the 37th president of the United States. He built his early political career as a conservative and staunch anti-communist, but as president he went on to normalize relations with communist China and establish the Environmental Protection Agency. He was known for his keen intellect and deep interest in foreign policy, but critics say he could also be ruthless and paranoid when it came to his political enemies. (Photo: National Archives)

If you love 20th Century American history or are just a political junkie, visiting the Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum in Yorba Linda is a little like being a kid in a candy store. The library is an enormous storehouse of memorabilia related to the personal and political life of the man who went on to become America’s 37th president. Beneath the public areas, …

News »

As the bullet train picks up speed, neighborhoods fight back

Posted February 3, 2015 by | 7 Comments | ]
There are two routes being studied to get the train between Palmdale and Burbank. One involves essentially paralleling California State Route 14 in a series of bridges and tunnels, and then bringing the train through the communities of Sylmar and San Gabriel so that it eventually reaches Burbank. Another possible route for the high speed rail system, called the Eastern Corridor, means tunneling through the Angeles National Forest and building a bridge across the Tujunga Wash, seen in the photo above.  Another tunnel would then be dug under the community of Shadow Hills so that the train can get to a station in Burbank. (Photo: Saul Gonzalez)

After years of discussion and planning, California has finally started construction on its high speed rail system, which is supposed to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco by the year 2029.
There are countless engineering challenges ahead for the project, but there also challenges when it comes to dealing with communities potentially in the path of the bullet train. How do you choose a route that’s …

economy, Environment, News »

The bullet train is finally coming. Who are the winners and losers?

Posted January 14, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]

Spend anytime at all in Fresno and you’ll likely see and hear trains. That’s because the tracks of one of California’s busiest freight train lines cuts right through the center of Fresno.
But the railroad everyone is talking about doesn’t exist yet. However, construction of the $68 billion dollar system to run California’s high speed passenger rail, has finally started after years of discussion and planning.
Many in Fresno …

News »

Photos: Breaking ground for California’s bullet train in Fresno

Posted January 7, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]

After decades of talking about it and years of planning and preparation, California officials gathered in Fresno this week for a ceremonial groundbreaking for the state’s $68 billion bullet train project.
When finished in 2029 (or so it’s hoped) the train will connect San Francisco and Los Angeles, whisking passengers from one city to another in 2 hours and 40 minutes. The first 29 mile-long …

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