Issues, LA Noir, News, Politics, Summer, Water and the Drought, Zocalo Public Square »

Mixer: Will California’s economy dry up?

Posted April 10, 2015 by | 19 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

Governor Jerry Brown has ordered cities throughout California to cut their water use by 25 percent – or more – as the state struggles with a fourth year of an historic drought.
Meanwhile, state residents cut their water use by less than three percent in February. It’s the lowest reduction since last July.
Are people getting the message, or do they not care? And can California’s economy continue …

California Elections, economy, Environment, Interviews, Issues, News, Politics, Zocalo Public Square »

Mixer: Dry land and deaf ears

Posted March 20, 2015 by | 33 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

We’re well into the fourth year of a severe drought in California.
And this week, Governor Jerry Brown and legislative leaders from both parties announced more than a billion dollars in emergency aid that’s being introduced as legislation in Sacramento.
But at a press conference, the governor also faced question after question over whether the State Water Resources Control Board’s new conservation actions are enough.
John Myers is …

Bad Driving, economy, Environment, Issues, Zocalo Public Square »

Mixer: LA’s decelerating car culture?

Posted March 13, 2015 by | 17 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

Gas prices have been on a roller coaster ride in Southern California the past few weeks.

From rock-bottom lows at the start of the year because of an abundant global supply, to a quick rise of a dollar or more per gallon because of a new summer gasoline blend that’s being produced and a refinery explosion in Torrance. There’s no shortage of complaints. And, of …

Commentary, Environment, Zocalo Public Square »

Let’s brag about California’s weather while we still can

Posted March 13, 2015 by | 3 Comments | ]
Photo by Tony Hisgett via Flickr/CC

One of the little joys of being Californian is the opportunity to taunt folks back East about their terrible winter weather. Hey, Boston, how does it feel to have been colonized by Eskimos?
But this winter, we seem to be overdoing it, sending out a blizzard of social media postings of palm trees and blue skies. It’s enough to make you wonder if all our …

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

Mixer: Who’s on the ballot, and what’s up for grabs?

Posted February 27, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

Voters in Los Angeles County will head to the polls on Tuesday.
They’re set to cast ballots for City Council, School Board and Community College District Board members.
And then there are also a couple of charter amendments that would change when we hold local elections, with the goal of boosting voter turnout.
Only 23 percent of voters turned out for the last mayoral election.
Dave Zahniser covers city …

Arts & Culture, economy, Issues, LA Noir, Oscars2014, Zocalo Public Square »

Mixer: Hollywood’s diversity problem

Posted February 20, 2015 by | 30 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

This Sunday, hundreds of millions of people around the world will gather at their sets to watch stars walk the red carpet, and then award each other with golden trophies.
It’s an annual tradition, but one thing you won’t see this year is a lot of diversity. In fact, the last time there were this few Oscar nominees of color was in 1998.
The Washington Post even had …

Health Care, Zocalo Public Square »

If you opt out of vaccinations, should everyone know where you live?

Posted February 11, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
vaccination

Shouldn’t we know where they live?
California’s measles outbreak has touched off a debate about how to reduce the number of parents who choose—in defiance of all credible public health information—not to vaccinate their children. So far, the debate has focused on tightening California laws that make it easy for parents to obtain exemptions from school vaccination requirements. Newly introduced state legislation would eliminate the …

Zocalo Public Square »

They tried to arrest me for planting carrots in my South L.A. neighborhood

Posted February 10, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Photo via Flickr/CC/jbolles

In 2003, long before a warrant was issued for my arrest for the crime of planting vegetables, I remember going to a store in South Central L.A. and picking up some tomatoes. The stickers on them read: “Coated with shellac.” I thought to myself: Isn’t that the stuff we used to coat wood in my high school woodshop? Why is it on these tomatoes? …

Arts & Culture, Zocalo Public Square »

Photos: Unearthing L.A.’s improvised past

Posted February 9, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Photo: Lynell George

For some time now, I’ve been thinking and talking about Los Angeles in the past tense. Not in a nostalgic way—rather, my memory of place had become an overlay, filtering the way I see and move through the here-and-now city.
Vanished landmarks are still active points on my personal map of the city where I was born and raised—touchstones I remember from the ’60s, ’70s …

California Elections, economy, Issues, News, Politics, Zocalo Public Square »

Mixer: The Haves and the Have Nots

Posted February 6, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

We’re just into 2015, and here we are, talking about the presidential candidates for 2016. In speech after speech, Republican and Democratic candidates are weighing in on income inequality and the wealth gap. Or, as Jeb Bush called it this week, the “opportunity gap.”
A new multimedia series for Capital & Main launched this week, in a cross-California analysis of poverty and an increasing income …

Commentary, Zocalo Public Square »

The town I loved, the protester I became

Posted February 3, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Phtoto by Danny Birchall/CC/Flickr

If you want a classic portrait of middle Americana in the middle of the 20th century, you had to look no farther than my hometown of Rialto, in inland Southern California, 50 miles east of Los Angeles.
My youth on King and North Verde streets was about American kid stuff—baseball, bugs, riding my bike, my crush on a grammar school classmate named Katherine, playing John …

Commentary, Zocalo Public Square »

On Route 66, a gas station is history worth saving

Posted February 2, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Photo by Vicente Villamón/CC/ Flickr

In 1964, my parents packed up our old Ford and took my brother and me on a cross-country trip from San Diego to Washington, D.C. and back. Part of our trip was along the famed Route 66. Even though I was only four years old, I still have vivid memories of that trip and watching the ever-changing countryside.
Route 66, dubbed the “Mother Road” by …

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

Mixer: A progress report on California cops

Posted January 30, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

There’s a new poll that came out this week from the Public Policy Institute of California, that asked residents how they feel about Governor Jerry Brown’s job performance, his budget proposal and also things like water use and higher education spending. All important topics, sure.
And then there was this nugget: the poll found that a solid majority of adults think their police departments are doing …

California Elections, Commentary, Zocalo Public Square »

When it comes to elections, LA is in a state of emergency

Posted January 28, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Los Angeles voter Amanda Sutton casts a ballot in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Photo by Avishay Artsy

 
Like a man who bangs his head against the wall to cure a headache, Los Angeles will hold more municipal elections this March. The certain result: another low-turnout embarrassment that draws the usual lamentations about how our democracy is in peril.
Enough crying. If California’s civic leaders are so sure that Los Angeles elections are democratic disasters, then why don’t they declare an official state …

Arts & Culture, Commentary, Zocalo Public Square »

What Californians can learn from snow days

Posted January 27, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
snow-600x450

I’m sitting here in Maine having a snow day. I can only see about 30feet in front of my cabin; everything beyond is obscured by white frosty particles, which weather reports tell me are falling at the rate of two to four inches an hour. It’s quiet outside, except for the wind.
There are 985 closings in the state of Maine today, and the governor has …

Arts & Culture, Zocalo Public Square »

Why does Wisconsin get all the monsters?

Posted January 23, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
PJ Nelson Werewolf

The Pine Barrens of New Jersey may reverberate with the fetid screams of the cloven-hooved demon known as the Jersey Devil. The redwood forests of the Pacific Northwest may shake from the footfalls of the 9-foot, fur-covered primate known as Sasquatch, and America’s Southern swamps may teem with scaly, web-fingered lizard men. But my home state of Wisconsin is as well-known for sightings of …

economy, Zocalo Public Square »

Inglewood isn’t what you think it is

Posted January 23, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
Space Shuttle Endeavour Move (201210120012HQ) 
Space shuttle Endeavour is seen next to the Randy’s Donuts landmark in Inglewood, Calif.
Photo: NASA

To live in Inglewood is to have people make assumptions about you. Recently, people have been making assumptions about what a new pro football stadium, proposed by the owner of the NFL’s Rams, would mean for us. One such assumption now prevalent in the media is that we’ll embrace it, because we’re assumed to be economically desperate—because Inglewood is “over 90 percent minority” (L.A. …

Commentary, Zocalo Public Square »

Think big, California!

Posted January 21, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
San Jacinto Mountains and San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm
Photo by Chuck Coker/CC/Flickr

In today’s California, we set big, ambitious goals for improving energy efficiency, fighting climate change, and, well, not much else.
Governor Jerry Brown’s inaugural address this month was a case in point. The governor again expressed his famous skepticism of big plans and big spending, then made an exception for energy and climate change, proposing three ambitious goals for the next 15 years: to derive …

News, Zocalo Public Square »

‘I had strong feelings for my Ralphs': A supermarket love story

Posted January 20, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
2A

I have a life-long affinity for markets. Before I was born and then when I was a small child, mom-and-pop grocery stores supported all my relatives. My paternal grandfather owned a small market in Chicago where his sons, my father and two uncles worked with him. My maternal grandfather owned Witmer Quality Market in Los Angeles where his two sons (more of my uncles) …

Arts & Culture, Zocalo Public Square »

Celebrity, scandal and a 1922 murder

Posted January 15, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
William Desmond Taylor directing the silent film Top of New York (1921), several months before his death. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

I was 9 years old when I first learned about the murder of 1920s movie director William Desmond Taylor. Taylor’s killing was one of several scandals—others included the “Fatty” Arbuckle trial, and the drug-related death of Wallace Reid—that led to a backlash against Hollywood and the beginning, in the early 1930s, of decades of film censorship. Of course, the cultural impact of the case …

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