economy, News »

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

Posted November 12, 2015 by | 10 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 …

economy, Issues, News »

L.A’s Banamex bank hit with huge fines, closing down

Posted July 23, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]

If you bank at Banamex USA, you’re going to have to find a new place to do your business.
The L.A. bank has been hit with heavy fines and agreed to shut down because it hasn’t done enough to stop money laundering by drug gangs and other bad actors.
Banamex – which operates primarily around the U.S.-Mexican border – is owned by banking giant Citibank, which …

Arts & Culture, News, Tijuana Resurgent »

A new art scene flourishes in old Tijuana

Posted April 14, 2015 by | 2 Comments | ]

Tijuana is in the midst of a burst of artistic and entrepreneurial creativity as new surprising riffs are rising out of the Tijuana of old.
Velvet painting was once Tijuana’s only connection to art; the work of velvet painters planted the seeds for what is now a large and experimental modern-art scene. A town once known for cantinas and strip clubs is home to microbreweries …

Arts & Culture, economy, News, Tijuana Resurgent »

The murals of Pasaje Rodriguez

Posted April 14, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]

In April, 2010, a group of a dozen artists and bohemians arrived at a darkened corridor named Pasaje Rodriguez.
The corridor, running between Avenida Revolucion, the city’s tourist strip, and Avenida Constitucion, a main transportation hub, had years before been packed with souvenir shops catering to American tourists.
The artists instead found the place dark, stinking of urine, littered with trash, windows broken and ceilings crumbling.
Drug …

economy, Environment, Issues, News »

More Mexican trucks rolling onto California roads

Posted January 14, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

The United States, Mexico and Canada negotiated the groundbreaking hemispheric trade agreement known as NAFTA 20 years ago. Now, a controversial and long-delayed part of that pact looks like it’s finally ready to be enacted – and it will have an impact on California drivers.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation – will soon make a …

Commentary, News, Politics, Zocalo Public Square »

Mexicans stand by their missing students

Posted November 12, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Photo by Elías Nahmías, a filmmaker based in Mexico City.

Forty three students from a small rural teachers’ college in Mexico’s mountainous southern backwater have jolted this nation out of its decade-long immunity to a proper outrage to mass violence, and threatened to hijack President Enrique Peña Nieto’s triumphant narrative that Mexico was back on track, destined for First Worldliness. These poor students did this, tragically, by disappearing, at the hands of local security …

Environment, Issues, News »

Napa quake gives warning system an early test

Posted August 25, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]

The temblor that rocked California’s wine country this weekend gave researchers at U.C. Berkeley a chance to gauge the effectiveness of an experimental earthquake alert system. They say it worked.
Ten seconds before Napa and surrounding areas began to shake, an alarm started squawking inside a Berkeley lab.
The system is not yet available to the public. State officials say it should be ready in the …

Arts & Culture, News »

Artists riff on immigration themes with blend of history, humanity

Posted August 13, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
China Mary, Wyoming 2 by Hung Liu (courtesy the artist and Walter Maciel Gallery)

Meet “China Mary.” That wasn’t her real name, of course.
Like other Chinese women sold by their families to work as slaves or prostitutes in the United States back in the 19th century, she was renamed for the convenience of the Americans who employed them. This portrait is by the artist Hung Liu, who immigrated to California in the 80s.
View the complex issues of immigration through …

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

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

Posted June 24, 2014 by | 3 Comments | ]

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. …

Sonic Trace »

Tracing Points: 5 immigration stories you missed this week

Posted May 16, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
(U. S. Army photo by Sgt. Barry St. Clair)

Each week, we put you on the map with immigration and transnational culture stories you might have missed throughout the week. And if you’ve come across any articles worth mentioning, write to us or tweet us @SonicTrace_KCRW.
 Secure Communities program up for review
The program that sends immigrants, who are booked for local crimes,  to immigration officials is being looked into by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh …

Education, Environment, Issues, News »

Head of the L.A. NAACP is a casuality of Sterling affair

Posted May 2, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]

The president of the L.A. chapter of the NAACP has resigned over questions about the organization’s ties to disgraced Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Sterling was banned for life from the NBA this week after being caught on tape telling a female friend that he didn’t want her bringing blacks to games. The NAACP then rescinded a humanitarian award it planned to give the 80-year-old …

economy, Environment, Interviews, Issues, Politics, Warren Olney, Water and the Drought »

L.A. banks billions of gallons of water in San Gabriels

Posted March 5, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]

About six billion gallons of water poured into San Gabriel Mountain reservoirs during last week’s storm, according to the L.A. County Public Works. That was the largest single deposit of water into local storage facilities in more than two years. It’s enough water to supply more than 150,000 people for a year. Some of the county’s dams are now mostly filled, and water from …

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

Brown’s budget reflects improving California economy

Posted January 9, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]

Governor Jerry Brown is unveiling a budget proposal this morning that reflects California’s improving fiscal picture, with more money targeted for schools healthcare and social services. The governor also wants to increase the pace of paying down the state’s debt and stash money away in a rainy day fund. Brown’s $155 billion blueprint would increase general fund spending by eight percent, repay $11 billion …

Arts & Culture, Food »

We wish you a merry radish: California Oaxacans celebrate an unusual Christmas tradition

Posted December 16, 2013 by | 6 Comments | ]
A nativity scene in radish.  Mostly.

No one knows just why, over 116 years ago, the people of Oaxaca began celebrating Christmas by carving radishes into whatever struck their fancy.  Maybe it was a bumper crop of this root vegetable, which, by the way, isn’t even indigenous to the Mexican state. (“Neither is Santa Claus,” said Gabriel Martinez, a writer and brewer who lives in Santa Monica.)
Regardless, it’s impossible for …

Arts & Culture, Interviews, News »

The celebrated icon of the Virgin of Guadalupe

Posted December 12, 2013 by | 5 Comments | ]
A mural of the Virgin of Guadalupe enveloping Pope John Paul II adorns a wall in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Laurie Avocado via Flickr/CC)

Latino Catholics around the world are celebrating the Virgin Mary. Or as she’s known to them: the Virgin of Guadalupe. Her feast day is today, Dec. 12.
It’s a special and holy occasion to millions, who believe, according to Catholic tradition, that a vision of the mother of Jesus appeared to a peasant in Mexico City hundreds of years ago and asked him to build a …

Arts & Culture, Interviews, News, Sports »

For Chivas USA fans, no place feels like home

Posted November 7, 2013 by | 2 Comments | ]
Members of the Black Army 1850, a Chivas USA supporter
group, cheer on their team in the final minute of the game. (Photo: Avishay Artsy)

Los Angeles is home to two Major League Soccer teams.
The LA Galaxy is in the playoffs again and competing for its third straight title. LA’s other soccer team, Chivas USA, isn’t faring as well.
The team is on its third coach in less than a year, and there’s been high turnover among players and staff. Charges of racism and discrimination on the part of the team’s management …

Sonic Trace »

Sonic Trace: Does the ‘Dream 9′ have a strategy?

Posted October 8, 2013 by | 3 Comments | ]
Lizbeth Mateo and her mother.

Lizbeth Mateo is a 29-year-old Mexican citizen who was raised in Los Angeles. She is a college graduate and considers the United States her home – even though she doesn’t have papers and isn’t legally supposed to be in the U.S. It’s not an easy situation, but one which a young group of activists are trying to change. They call themselves “Dreamers” and have …

economy, Issues, Politics, Today's News »

Today’s News: Businesses could pay higher jobless tax; Protesting at the border; Surf contest ends in a melee

Posted July 29, 2013 by | 7 Comments | ]

Unemployment shortfall. Governor Jerry Brown is pushing a bill that would erase California’s $10 billion unemployment insurance deficit by raising payroll taxes on businesses.
California has been saddled with one of the highest jobless rates in the country in recent years. To sustain the state’s unemployment insurance program, California has had to borrow money from the federal government.
But with unemployment edging down 8.5 percent, Brown …

Education, Environment, Issues, Sports, Today's News »

Today’s News: Developer shrinks Vine Street towers; LAUSD buys 30,000 iPads; Journalist killed in crash

Posted June 19, 2013 by | 1 Comment | ]

Hollywood towers. The developer behind a pair of planned residential and hotel towers near Hollywood and Vine has agreed to reduce of the height of the buildings by about 25 percent.
Millennium Partners told the L.A. City Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee that it plans to build shorter, bulkier structures to address neighborhood concerns that the towers were too imposing. Under the new blueprint, …

Arts & Culture, Environment, Interviews, News »

Oaxacan street artists bring Mexican muralism to Los Angeles

Posted March 13, 2013 by | 7 Comments | ]

In Los Angeles, we mark our neighborhoods with symbols of ethnic and cultural pride. And murals are strong representations of those identities. From South L.A. to Venice, and from Boyle Heights to Hollywood, street art tells us a lot about the people who live in those parts of town.
Bricia Lopez brought in a pair of Oaxacan muralists known as Colectivo LaPiztola to paint the …

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