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Blue mind: Why we love water

"Life on The Beach" by Motorito via Flickr/CC

One of my favorite things to do after a stressful work day is drive up the Pacific Coast Highway – to Point Mugu – and plant my rear-end in the sand or on a rock, or walk a few feet into the Pacific. The smell of the salt water, the sound of crashing waves – it’s zen for me.
I certainly don’t think I’m alone. …

Environment, Headline, News »

James Cameron’s Malibu land will remain open space

puercocanyon

Oscar-winning director James Cameron has sold a big chunk of his holdings in the coastal Santa Monica Mountains to a conservation group – a move that will create a contiguous stretch of public wild areas from Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu Creek State Park.
The price of the 703-acre Puerco Canyon parcel – the largest privately-owned open space in the Santa Monica Mountains – was …

Environment, Headline, Issues, News »

Am I wasting water?

SONY DSC

California is in the grip of a three year-long drought, a drought that shows no sign of ending soon. In response, water districts across the state are urging their customers to take sensible measures to conserve water.
To convince people to conserve water, agencies like the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power are using both carrots and sticks. The carrots include public education campaigns …

Arts & Culture, Environment, Featured, Headline, Interviews, News »

Photos: Remembering Pacific Ocean Park

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From the late 1950s to the late ‘60s, Angelenos looking for music, dancing and rides, found the party at Pacific Ocean Park.
The beachside theme park – that jetted out into the Pacific – sat on 28 acres of land at the border of Santa Monica and Venice.
It featured rides created by Hollywood set designers, setting it apart from the standard, ordinary rides at Santa …

Environment, Headline, News, Politics, water »

Watering wars: Is brown the new green?

droughtlawn

California residents who are trying to save water during the drought can no longer be punished by homeowner associations concerned about the appearance of brown lawns.
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a new law that removes the threat of fines for people who choose to let their grass and other greenery die.
The bill was spurred by the case of a Bay Area man who was …

Environment, Headline, Issues, News »

Is fracking waste tainting Central Valley aquifers?

fracking

California regulators have ordered seven companies to stop injecting wastewater from fracking operations into underground aquifers in Kern County out of concern they could be contaminating drinking water.
The Bakersfield Californian reports the emergency cease and desist orders apply to 11 wells east and northeast of Bakersfield. State oil and gas regulators are also reviewing more than 100 other injection sites in the Central Valley.
Companies …

Environment, Headline, Interviews, News »

L.A.’s plastic bag ban: 6 months after

These pellets are made at Command Packaging's Salinas facility. The plastic pellets are shipped to Vernon to be made into reusable plastic bags.

Today, the second phase of Los Angeles’ plastic bag ban went into effect. That means smaller grocery stores can no longer hand out plastic bags, and have to charge 10 cents for paper bags. The law went into effect for large grocery stores in January, making LA the newest of over a hundred cities and counties in California outlawing single-use plastic. State lawmakers are …

Arts & Culture, economy, Education, Environment, Food, Headline, Issues, News, Politics, water »

LACMA redesign has museum spanning Wilshire Blvd.

lacma

The L.A. County Museum of Art has unveiled a new design for its proposed $650 million makeover that would have the museum’s main building span Wilshire Boulevard – with traffic passing underneath the structure. The new design by architect Peter Zumthor was created to address concerns that the original plan to extend the museum over the La Brea Tar Pits would cast a shadows …

Arts & Culture, Environment, Headline, News »

An olfactory guide to Los Angeles

KCRW's Steve Chiotakis, left, takes a big whiff of East LA from a scent strip held by artist Brian Goeltzenleuchter.

What does your neighborhood smell like?
It’s not a question we ask ourselves often, and yet it’s something we notice every day. Is it the smell of sea air, freshly-cut grass, car exhaust, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, urine, or something else?
Los Angeles artist Brian Goeltzenleuchter posted a survey online and received dozens of responses. He used that information to create 11 scents that correspond to different …

Education, Environment, Headline, Issues, News, Politics »

LAUSD shifts millions of dollars to close education gap

lausd

The L.A. School Board has signed off on a $6.6 billion budget for the school year that funnels hundreds of million of dollars to the district’s most disadvantaged students. The spending plan calls for a boost in new teacher hires – to up to 12,000 instructors – as well as more librarians, nurses, counselors and tutoring programs. Class sizes will also come down. The …

economy, Environment, Headline, Issues, News, Politics, Sports »

Beds for bucks: L.A. mulls major tax breaks for hotels

GRANDAVE

The L.A. City Council considers giving nearly $180 million in tax subsidies to two big downtown hotel projects. And that could be just the start. The biggest immediate beneficiary would be the long-delayed Frank Gehry-designed Grand Avenue project, which includes housing retail and restaurants, in addition to a hotel. The development would receive $138 million over the next 25 years, according to the L.A. …

Arts & Culture, Environment, Headline, Issues, News, Summer »

Commission gets more power to ensure coast access

BEACH

Beach access activists have won a big victory. Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a law giving the California Coastal Commission the authority to fine property owners who illegally block beach paths to the beach. The commission has never had that authority before. Previously, it had to go to court to have fines imposed on intransigent property owners. The new powers come as a …

California Elections, economy, Environment, Issues, LA Noir, News, Politics, The New Mayor »

Mixer: Tripping on sidewalks and all those pot shops

friday mixer square

A Los Angeles City Council committee has voted to conduct a pilot program to replace some problem sidewalks, with a material that’s a bit more resilient and porous.
Those are things like rubber, crushed asphalt, or decomposed granite.
Adrian Glick-Kudler, senior editor at Curbed LA, says the idea is that the more porous the material, the more water that material will allow to seep into groundwater …

Arts & Culture, Environment, Headline, Issues, News, Politics »

Drought-stricken California keeps getting dryer

droughtmap

California’s drought is getting worse: The National Weather Service says one-third of the state is now suffering from “exceptional” drought, the highest category of drought conditions. The latest areas to be added to the “exceptional” list are in Central and Northern California. The U.S. Drought Monitor – yes, there is such an office – says no part of the state had “exceptional” drought conditions …

Education, Environment, Headline, Issues, News, water »

Garcetti works blue as Kings celebrate Stanley Cup

Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup Victory Parade

Thousands of fans poured into downtown Los Angeles for a parade and rally to salute the Stanley Cup champion L.A. Kings. The hockey players drew the biggest cheers, but L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti generated the most buzz when he let an “F-bomb” fly during the celebration. Garcetti’s expletive got a roar from the crowd and some Kings players. But not everyone was thrilled with …

Environment, Headline, News, Santa Barbara »

A drought in paradise as Santa Barbara struggles with a very dry year

In response to its dwindling supply of water, Santa Barbara City's Council has declared a Stage Two drought alert, requiring a 20% or more reduction in residential and commercial water use. That means the watering of gardens is limited to the early morning and evening hours, the washing or hosing down of pavement is generally prohibited,cars must be washed at commercial facilities instead of homes, and drought notices are required at hotels and restaurants. (Photo: Saul Gonzalez)

Communities across California are  implementing emergency conservation measures to save water during what has become one of the state’s worst droughts.
One of the places most affected by the drought is also one of the state’s richest communities: Santa Barbara.
For decades, Santa Barbara has sold itself as a kind of seaside Shangri-La. It’s a place of beautiful beaches, gorgeous Spanish-inspired architecture and lush gardens. But …

California Elections, economy, Environment, Issues, LA Noir, News, Silicon Beach, The New Mayor »

Mixer: Smooth electric technology, bumpy LA roads

friday mixer square

Dave Zahniser reports for the Los Angeles Times. Alan Ohnsman is with the LA Bureau of Bloomberg News, who covers Tesla.
This week the LA City Council nixed their push for a half-cent sales tax increase to pay for more than 8,000 miles of much-needed street repairs.
City Council members Mitch Englander and Joe Buscaino dropped their ballot measure proposal that would’ve raised the city sales tax rate to 9.5 …

Environment, Headline, Issues, News, Politics, Sports »

Would $23 cap on L.A. parking tickets be just fine?

parkingticket

The rising cost of parking tickets is a sore subject for many Angelenos. Now a group of citizens is taking their beef with the city’s parking enforcement policies to City Hall. A group calling itself the Parking Freedom Initiative is scheduled to meet with members of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s staff today to discuss the high cost of tickets in L.A. The cheapest parking …

economy, Environment, Headline, News, Politics, Sports »

Grocery workers struggling to put food on own table

Grocery negotiations deadline passes

One in three grocery workers in California is receiving some type of public assistance, according to a new survey. And 20 percent say they are rationing food to avoid having to go hungry. The study was done by University of California researchers and funded by the United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council labor union. It says average wages for the state’s unionized …

California Elections, economy, Environment, Headline, Issues, News, Politics, Sports, water »

Republican rivals are tied heading into Election Day

kashkari

On the eve of Election Day, a new poll shows the two Republicans vying to challenge Gov. Jerry Brown are in a dead heat. Former U.S. Treasury official Neel Kashkari has been trailing Assemblyman Tim Donnelley through the primary election campaign, but he’s now has pulled into a statistical tie with his rival. The USC Dornsife-L.A. Times Poll finds that 32 percent of likely …

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