California Elections, Education, Issues, LA Noir, Politics, Zocalo Public Square »

Mixer: School’s in, iPads out

Posted August 29, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

The Los Angeles Unified School District has scrapped the $1 (B) billion effort to provide all students and teachers with iPad tablets and laptops.
Embattled Superintendent John Deasy says he wants to gather new bids for future phases of the program.
Which is spin for this plan isn’t working.
The change comes in light of alleged improprieties in the awarding of the original contracts with Apple and …

Arts & Culture, California Elections, Commentary, economy, Environment, Featured, Politics, Zocalo Public Square »

It’s not so easy to send a 5-year-old off to a California kindergarten

Posted August 27, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
Photo by Mrs.F /CC/Flickr

“Wait, Daddy,” you say.
You are 5, and you have your priorities. You are reassembling the wooden train tracks. You are building an airplane hangar out of MagnaTiles. You have a drawing you need to finish.
“Hurry up, Ben” I always say. Don’t you know that I have too many things to do? Don’t you know I need to put you to bed? Can’t you see …

economy, Environment, Headline, Issues, LA Noir, Politics, Power and Water, Summer, water, Zocalo Public Square »

Mixer: Water levels, down; water shaming, way up

Posted August 22, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

As the severe drought continues in California, the state’s water authority is now actively imposing fines of up to $500 on people who are wasteful.
The Los Angeles Times reports the city’s Department of Water and Power has increased its patrol of water wasting by quadrupling the number of its city-wide inspectors: from one to four.
Los Angeles has about four million people.
Water tables are at …

Bad Driving, economy, Environment, Headline, Issues, LA Noir, Summer, Zocalo Public Square »

Mixer: Lane-splitting motorcyclists

Posted August 8, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

I don’t have to tell you how much time we spend in our cars here in Southern California. You’re probably reading this in your car right now.
I hope not.
Because it’s hard (and illegal) enough to take your eyes off the road to avoid crunching the guy in front of you. You also have to look left or right to make sure you don’t cause …

Environment, Issues, Politics, Power and Water, The New Mayor, Zocalo Public Square »

When LA’s infrastructure fails, who pays?

Posted August 1, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
friday mixer square

Tens of millions of gallons of water poured down Sunset Boulevard and onto the UCLA campus Tuesday, the result of a rupture in a massive, high-pressure water line more than nine decades old.
Hundreds of cars that were parked in underground decks were flooded and ruined, and at least a half dozen buildings on the college campus suffered various degrees of damage.
The court inside of …

economy, Issues, LA Noir, News, Politics, Zocalo Public Square »

Mixer: High LA rents; are wages keeping up?

Posted July 25, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
friday mixer square

As cities go across the country, Los Angeles isn’t the most expensive. Rents are not as exorbitant as San Francisco or New York, but they’re pricey enough.
Average rents have been on a skyward trajectory for the few years following the financial and housing crisis. And that has people in town scrambling for cheaper areas of town in which to live.
Joe Mathews is California Columnist for Zocalo …

economy, Education, Featured, Interviews, Issues, News, Politics, Zocalo Public Square »

Mixer: The state of a border state, where Murrieta marks the spot

Posted July 18, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

This week, House Speaker John Boehner said it’ll be difficult to monetarily address the flow of undocumented kids across the U.S./Mexico border, until the 2008 law that allowed their travels to the aforementioned place is changed. Boehner said the anti-trafficking regulations that were put in place during the waning year of the Bush administration are being abused, and that he doesn’t foresee much progress …

Arts & Culture, Commentary, Headline, News, Zocalo Public Square »

L.A. graffiti artists inspired by 400-year-old books (Photos)

Posted June 6, 2014 by | 5 Comments | ]
Foreground: wall at ESMoA’s “Scratch” exhibit curated by Defer, featuring Cryptik, Patrick Martinez, Saber, Prime, Big Sleepz, and Gajin Fujita. Background: wall curated by Eyeone, featuring Gorgs, Tanner, Kozem, and Swank
Courtesy Getty Research Institute

When Johnny Cash covered Nine Inch Nails, he revealed the beautiful dissonance of kindred spirits from two different worlds interpreting a single piece of art. “Scratch,” a new exhibition opening tomorrow at the ESMoA art laboratory in El Segundo, puts that same sensibility on display through the work of street artists inspired by rare books from the 15th to 18th centuries.
In 2012, art collector …

Commentary, Headline, Zocalo Public Square »

Reflections on the Santa Monica College shooting, one year later

Posted June 6, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
SMC community members set up a memorial for those killed. (Photo: Avishay Artsy)

Terror arrived at my college a year ago this month. On June 7, 2013, a man, wielding a .223 caliber assault rifle and a handgun and strapped with 1,300 rounds of ammunition, killed his brother and father in Santa Monica and set their house ablaze. Then he commandeered a passing car, shot up a bus and sprayed bullets across an intersection, before ordering the …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Headline, Politics, Sports, Zocalo Public Square »

Is Donald Sterling a product of Los Angeles?

Posted April 29, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
sterling

Late in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 film Pulp Fiction, Marsellus Wallace—a criminal boss played by Ving Rhames—banishes prizefighter Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) from Southern California. “You lost all your L.A. privileges,” Rhames says with lethal menace, and Willis leaves the Southland on his motorcycle.
If only it were that easy to kick Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling out of L.A. But, alas, Tarantino’s film is …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Zocalo Public Square »

Do you belong somewhere?

Posted April 25, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
Photo by Matthew Rutledge/CC/Flickr.

Forty-four years ago—well before the advent of the mobile phone, Wi-Fi, and social media—fabled futurist Alvin Toffler predicted a “historic decline in the significance of place to human life.” No country has proven him more right than the United States.
Let’s face it. We are a nation of commitment-phobes, always eager to liberate ourselves from life’s constraints. Unhappy with your family of origin? Form a family …

Arts & Culture, Zocalo Public Square »

LA bus videos that inspire you to breathe during your commute

Posted April 10, 2014 by | 3 Comments | ]
bus

Whenever I am swinging my arms — a simple warm-up exercise as part of the practice of qigong, which cultivates energy by aligning mind, breath, and body — I imagine that I look like a repenting soul performing self-flagellation to random passersby.
I’ve mused for a long time about creating an urban opera involving scenes of bus riders spontaneously starting to hurl their arms in …

Education, Featured, News, Zocalo Public Square »

Where are the safety-net programs for low income college students?

Posted March 17, 2014 by | 3 Comments | ]
Photo by j.o.h.n. walker/ via Flickr/ CC

If I were to get pregnant, I would know just where to go for help: the local offices of Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the federally funded food and nutrition program; Planned Parenthood; and the Family Resource Center. All three are places where I stood in line for hours with my siblings as a child growing up in Watts. But finding local resources to …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Zocalo Public Square »

The perilous life of a camera operator

Posted March 14, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
From the Slates for Sarah Facebook page.

Less than two weeks ago, I found my Facebook feed flooded with remembrances of 27-year-old Sarah Elizabeth Jones, a second assistant camerawoman who was struck by a train and killed in a terrible set accident in Georgia. My mind reeled for days. In my 10 years as a camera assistant in New York, from 1981 to 1991, I was endangered many times. But I …

Commentary, Environment, Featured, Zocalo Public Square »

Fed to the lions: Marius the giraffe and conflicting zoo cultures

Posted February 14, 2014 by | 2 Comments | ]
Via Wikipedia: Copenhagen Zoo, Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark.

A few years ago, I attended a biannual convention of zoo nutritionists in Oklahoma for the book I was writing. Hanging out one night at the hotel bar with a group from around the United States, we got to talking about a practice in some European zoos that sounded shocking. It was called carcass-feeding, and like most Americans, I had never heard of it. …

Featured, Zocalo Public Square »

Quitting the NFL cold turkey

Posted January 30, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Photo by Parker Knight/ Flickr/ CC

Sunday’s national holiday has me feeling stressed out. The holiday, of course, is the Super Bowl, as likely to clear the streets and bring family together as Christmas. But this year it reminds me of all the insults I received when I wrote about my decision to boycott the NFL this season. One reader called me a “Nancy,” several called me a “nerd,” and someone …

Arts & Culture, Commentary, Featured, Zocalo Public Square »

Sweet, high art at the Museum of Donuts

Posted January 29, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
The museum of Donuts in Ontario.

I’m used to the reaction now: a snicker, a raised eyebrow, and a pause, as they wait for the punch line.  My husband, Jan, and I couldn’t possibly run something called the Museum of Donuts in Ontario, California, could we?
In fact, we could and we do.  We turn donuts into art and hang them from the walls on the downstairs floor of our apartment, …

California Elections, Commentary, Headline, Politics, Zocalo Public Square »

Is it even possible to be an informed citizen?

Posted January 21, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
Photo via Flickr by Loco Steve/ CreativeCommons

To be an engaged, informed citizen in California is to be hopelessly behind in your reading.
We’re told that we need to follow the big issues in California, that we need to be informed about policy debates, and that policymakers want our feedback on major proposals.  It all sounds reasonable enough, until you see the homework. The governor stresses the importance of his budget, but …

Arts & Culture, Environment, Headline, Zocalo Public Square »

Deck the halls with California holly

Posted December 18, 2013 by | 4 Comments | ]
Photo via Flickr by docentjoyce/ CreativeCommons

In Nancy Dale’s 1986 epic tome of Southern California native plants, “Flowering Plants,” she has this to say about toyon—aka California holly, Christmas berry, or, if you’re a botanist, “Heteromeles arbutifolia”: “It is thought that masses of this native shrub growing on the hills above Hollywood gave the community its name.”
This idea of floral origins for Hollywood is romantic. It’s also not true. Hollywood …

Commentary, Environment, Featured, News, Video, Zocalo Public Square »

Remembering the Baldwin Hills Dam disaster

Posted December 13, 2013 by | 4 Comments | ]
Firemen escort flood victims in Baldwin Hills in the aftermath of the Baldwin Hills Dam disaster. They wade through the street using a safety rope. Photo dated: Dec. 15, 1963. 
Photography by Joe Rustan, courtesy: Los Angeles Public Library

 
My grandpa bought me a Honda 50 minibike for my 10th birthday. It was 1972, when the sight of a 10-year-old driving a motor bike raised few eyebrows, and I rode that Honda all over the Westside neighborhood where I lived at the time. I roared up and down the alley behind the UCLA married students’ housing on Sawtelle Boulevard and around the church …

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