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kenratboy
Sep 8, 2006, 9:25 PM
My take is people in general are too stupid, selfish, and shallow to back these massive urban renewal projects - and with the land-rights issues, it would be so difficult to make this stuff happen.

Obviously, the people on this forum, and people who are smart, understand $1 today will save $100 in 10, 20 years and make life a lot better in the mean time and future.

I hope something does happen, and the majority of the people and the government back it so a few rotten apples don't spoil the project (but if it involves property, they need to get what is a bit better than fair and have first dibs for what goes in its place at a reasonable price).

BrighamYen
Sep 9, 2006, 8:13 AM
I guess ppl's opinion of LA could be even shakier (http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=593), as it was back in 1997.

:gaah:


That Harris Poll is far from being an accurate way of gauging people's choices for their top living spots. Obviously, the LA area continues to be one of the fastest growing metropoli in the country. It's ironic that some of these places that people quixotically dream about as somewhere they would live (such as Portland, Ore) are also some of the smallest in terms of population.

Honestly, as long as we have the great weather that we have today, LA will continue to grow. The issue here is OBVIOUSLY mass transit. People love NYC because of the energy the city provides its residents/visitors. That energy is created by mass transit and density. In LA, we are currently in the process of creating that "NYC feel" by developing our downtown. We NEED the subway down Wilshire Blvd. to create a truly substantial urban setting that matches something like NYC or Tokyo. It's not just the size of an area, but the density, remember that that creates the energy.

kenratboy
Sep 9, 2006, 2:38 PM
Amen to that LosAngelesBeauty (that name kinda creeps me out...anyway) - a subway in the area you are talking about would be awesome.

From downtown, get Wilshire and Santa Monica Blvd, hopefully all the way to the ocean.

Without question, this line would also go to LAX.

Then, get a loop from downtown up to around Universal Studio (think tourism as well), thru Burbank, thru Glendale, past the stadium (hit Oliveras Street, again, tourism and such) and back downtown.

Basically, start by making subways in the busy, high-profile areas that would serve tourists and locals. It would be AWESOME!

citywatch
Sep 9, 2006, 6:33 PM
That Harris Poll is far from being an accurate way of gauging people's choices for their top living spots.By itself, I wouldn't take it too seriously. However, for every person who reacts like this (http://skyscrapercity.com/showpost.php?p=9881353&postcount=1), there seems to be way more ppl whose opinions result in things like this (http://www.travelandleisure.com/afc/results.cfm?cat=14) or this (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showpost.php?p=2269548&postcount=77).

BTW, if you add up all the numbers in that poll & divide them by 8, LA, even though we reached 5th place in 2003, still has an average that's lower than most of the other cities, esp the well known ones like NYC or Chicago.

And at first I wanted to say that survey is unfairly tilted in favor of towns that get the most publicity. But San Diego isn't in the news all that much, & gets way less national press compared with LA & all the free publicity we get because of things like the entertainment industry.


The issue here is OBVIOUSLY mass transit.Getting stuck on jammed roads & fwys certainly doesn't help ppl's regard for LA, but I don't think that's the main reason many ppl have such a lukewarm or neutral, at best, reaction towards the city. I think the core of the problem is what I described here (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showpost.php?p=2226473&postcount=1909).

And if too many of the ppl who are building up the city's population are resulting in figures like this (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showpost.php?p=2251675&postcount=54), that's gonna end up being a case of more quantity than quality.

Wright Concept
Sep 19, 2006, 3:40 PM
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-homeless19sep19,1,3710370.story?coll=la-headlines-california

Plan Would End Homeless 'Tent Cities'
A compromise by the LAPD and ACLU limits the hours and skid row areas where people could sleep. Skeptics say it wouldn't work.
By Richard Winton
Times Staff Writer

September 19, 2006

Los Angeles officials and the American Civil Liberties Union have reached a compromise to settle a lawsuit that has prevented police from arresting homeless people who camp on the streets and sidewalks of skid row, Police Chief William J. Bratton said Monday.

Bratton, speaking to The Times' Editorial Board, declined to provide details. But sources briefed about the compromise said it would allow police to arrest people camping, sleeping or lying on sidewalks between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.

The sources said the settlement also would prohibit encampments at any time within 10 feet of any business or residential entrance.

Such rules would effectively prevent homeless people from creating "tent cities" that the Los Angeles Police Department and downtown business leaders have been trying to remove.

The settlement would also establish a downtown area — bounded by Central Avenue and Los Angeles, 3rd and 7th streets — where homeless people would be allowed to sleep on sidewalks at night without challenge by police or business owners.

Downtown development and business interests were immediately skeptical of the plan. They had hoped the LAPD would be given more sweeping powers to remove tents day and night, and they fear the agreement will attract homeless camps within the boundaries covered in the law.

"Any settlement that leaves people living on the street in filthy conditions and permits chaos from 9 to 6 every night in one critical area of the city is unacceptable," said Carol Schatz, president and chief executive of the Central City Assn.

The agreement, which the Los Angeles City Council is expected to consider on Wednesday, would end a four-year stalemate that Bratton said has stymied his department's effort to clean up skid row.

It comes after months of closed-door negotiations with a federal mediator that involved the ACLU, LAPD, city attorney's office and the office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Council approval is considered the last step in the process.

Villaraigosa has said that improving skid row by increasing affordable housing and improving homeless services is one of his top priorities. There's also been a flurry of legislation in Sacramento aimed at reducing the "dumping" of homeless people downtown and at beefing up law enforcement.

The debate stems from a federal appeals court ruling in April. The court ruled in the ACLU's favor, saying the LAPD cannot arrest people for sitting, lying or sleeping on public sidewalks in skid row.

Such enforcement would amount to cruel and unusual punishment because there are not enough shelter beds for the city's homeless population, the court ruled.

Because of the lack of shelter beds, Judge Kim M. Wardlaw wrote, prohibiting homeless people from sleeping on the streets was a violation of the 8th Amendment, which bars cruel and unusual punishment.

The suit was brought on behalf of six homeless people, including Robert Lee Purrie, who has lived in the skid row area for four decades and "sleeps on the streets because he cannot afford a room in [a single-room occupancy] hotel and is often unable to find an open bed in a shelter," Wardlaw wrote in the 2-1 majority opinion.

Purrie was cited for sleeping on the street twice before police arrested him in 2003.

Purrie spent a night in jail, was given a 12-month suspended sentence and was ordered to pay $195 in restitution and attorney's fees.

When he was released, all his property — including his tent, blankets, cooking utensils and personal effects — were gone, according to Wardlaw's opinion.

In dissent, Judge Pamela A. Rymer wrote that the LAPD "does not punish people simply because they are homeless. It targets conduct — sitting, lying or sleeping on city sidewalks — that can be committed by those with homes as well as those without."

Bratton on Monday said the ACLU case has stymied the LAPD's fight against crime and blight on skid row, which the chief said is getting worse. Before April's court decision, he said an LAPD count found 1,345 homeless people living on skid row and 187 tents. A July 25 count found 1,527 homeless and 539 tents; a Sept. 18 count found 1,876 homeless and 518 tents.

"Wednesday will be very crucial. I hope they decide to vote in favor of this," Bratton said. "[I am] only as effective as tools I get to work with."

He called the situation "a very significant impendent to dealing with the problem down there."

After the ruling, the court allowed both sides to enter federal mediation to settle their differences.

The agreement, completed during several closed-door mediation sessions over the last month, has been the subject of lobbying among City Council members in the last few days.

Councilman Jack Weiss said the agreement is crucial to the city's moving forward to fix skid row's many ills.

"If the ACLU and LAPD have reached an agreement, it would be foolish for the council not to follow suit," said Weiss, who represents parts of the Westside and Valley.

"After all," he said, "if the council continues to appeal, the process would take years, and during those years, the LAPD wouldn't be able to enforce the law on skid row. That would be disastrous."

But Estela Lopez, executive director of the Central City East Assn., said her organization would oppose any compromise that allowed homeless people to set up camps and sleep on the streets at any time.

She said such rules would set a dangerous precedent and worsen the crime and filth that plague the area.

"What they are saying to people in this business district is there will be an open-air drug market outside," she said. "People coming to these businesses will be afraid."

When Bratton took office in 2002, he vowed to apply the same "broken windows" theory of law enforcement to skid row that he successfully used in New York's Times Square when he was chief of that city's Police Department in the early 1990s.

But the department slowed its efforts after the ACLU filed its lawsuit in 2003.

Some of the region's top political leaders, including Villaraigosa and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, have vowed in the last several months to make skid row a top priority. The area has long had the largest concentration of homeless people in the Western United States and is the site of about 20% of all drug arrests in the city.

The focus on skid row has also coincided with a boom in residential development downtown, with luxury lofts and condos rising on the fringes of the district.

Bratton said the compromise would allow the city to move forward immediately with a cleanup plan rather than spend years sitting by as appeals continue.

"If we wait two more years, the area is gone," the chief said.

The LAPD is about to deploy 50 more officers to the skid row area, hoping to crack down on street crime and drug sales.

Legislators are pushing a package of bills designed to help skid row, including a $150,000 pilot program in Los Angeles County Superior Court for probation supervision and treatment of nonviolent offenders with mental health problems, substance abuse problems or both.

The legislation would also require municipalities to devise plans to help their homeless populations rather than dump them in other areas where treatment programs already exist.

Earlier this year, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreed to the establishment of five centers across the county that would provide temporary shelter for transients, a bid to reduce the concentration of homeless services in skid row.

Bratton said Monday that settling the ACLU suit won't by itself solve skid row's ills. Policing will work, he said, only if it is combined with more social services and long-term shelter for the homeless.

"We are not the solution to the problems of skid row," Bratton said. "It is a much larger social and societal issue."

*

Wright Concept
Sep 19, 2006, 9:58 PM
LA WEEKLY

Green Without Envy
Written by LINDA IMMEDIATO

http://thumb14.webshots.net/t/59/459/1/29/17/2104129170061249974aWLmMj_th.jpg (http://community.webshots.com/photo/2104129170061249974aWLmMj)

Less space, more fulfilling You’ve seen them — glass-walled wonders of shining environmentalism, fly-ash-concrete monuments to the evolution of the home. They have in-floor heating, triple-paned glazed windows, solar panels and low-flush toilets. They’re splashed across architecture magazines, the new batch of high-tech, high-design green homes and sustainable houses. It’s enough to make you want to tear down your own house and start over. But should you?

http://thumb14.webshots.net/t/26/27/2/87/72/2784287720061249974CHuZUw_th.jpg (http://community.webshots.com/photo/2784287720061249974CHuZUw)

Tearing down perfectly good homes to build environmentally friendly ones can create more harm than good. Every year 136 million tons of waste from demolished houses makes its way into landfills worldwide.

Pushing the concept of green building will take more than throwing around words like “renewable,” “sustainable” and “eco-friendly.” The terms are on the precipice of becoming meaningless marketing tools like “free range” and “all natural.” And like the farmers-market-driven whole-foods movement, building green is becoming associated with a higher income bracket. But greening your home doesn’t have to be a million-dollar venture. A simple remodel, or just changing a few key elements, can create a more energy-efficient living space.


http://thumb14.webshots.net/t/59/759/7/50/90/2801750900061249974RYXJMZ_th.jpg (http://community.webshots.com/photo/2801750900061249974RYXJMZ)

Open house: Pocket doors make walls disappear


“What’s happening here in America happened 20 to 25 years ago in Switzerland,” says Swiss-born Roger Kurath, of Culver City’s Design 21. “When I came here, I was shocked.” Sure, Kurath has designed his share of new builds, including the home belonging to Santa Monica’s green-building commissioner, Greg Reitz. But he’s really all about the remodel.

“When I did my first house, I met my client and we were looking at the property, and he said, ‘Okay, we want to knock the house down...’ I stopped him mid-sentence. ‘Whoa,’ I said, ‘knock the house down?’” Kurath’s eyes widen at the proposition. “That was a completely different experience for me. In Switzerland, we don’t knock houses down, we remodel, we add on. We don’t knock them down. Some of the houses I worked on were from the 1700s; they were really built to last. I would never come in and tell a client to tear down if the house was in good shape.” He shakes his head, moving his wild mane of hair, making him resemble an 18th-century composer.

But sometimes, even Kurath finds that tearing down is inevitable. That was the case with the Stokman residence in Santa Monica. Kurath had been hired to remodel the home, but after an initial inspection revealed cracked walls, demolition became the only choice. A cost analysis proved repairing was pricier than rebuilding. But in Santa Monica, unlike most cities, demolition permits come with a fee that works a lot like the tax on bottles. You can get most of your money back from the city if you bring in a receipt proving that you brought your materials to a recycling plant.

“Most people don’t do it,” says Kurath. “They go to Home Depot, pick up a few people and tear a place down.”



Ricky Cappe, of Green Built Consultants in Santa Monica, a company that helps architects, homeowners and contractors build more eco-friendly structures, agrees that deconstruction needs to be done more responsibly. “Every construction site has a big Dumpster in front of it,” he says, “where all the waste gets dumped and eventually taken to a landfill. It’s one of the first things I target when I’m hired.”

Cappe recommends deconstruction companies who come in and dismantle houses so that old wood studs, copper, electrical wiring, steel, even drywall can all be recycled. Actually up to 90 percent of a house can be recycled — that’s a large chunk not going into a hole in the ground. Materials are sent to nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity or to resale outlets. “But if conservation isn’t enough of a reason,” Cappe says, “there are huge tax breaks to deconstruction.”

So why don’t more people do it? “Part of the problem,” explains Cappe, “is everyone has this ‘I gotta go, I gotta get it done now’ mentality. It takes a little more time to take apart a house than to bulldoze it and throw it all into a bin — that’s easy. You can do it in a day.”

The ReUse People have rescued more than 200,000 tons of reusable building materials to date from all over California. The group started in 1994 with a few borrowed trucks; now ReUse works with contractors statewide and encourages homeowners to consider the benefits of deconstruction. Materials go to Silver Lake Architectural Salvage, Alameda ReUse Bazaar, Habitat for Humanity and other places around the state.

And what are people building once they’ve torn down an existing house? In America, the average size of a home has grown 50 percent in the past 30 years, despite the fact that families have shrunk. And when you see a 7,000-square-foot “green” house built for two people, the notion of its sustainability becomes ridiculous. To live green also means to live on a human scale — wasted space is wasted materials. For years now, modest homes have been razed to make room for lot-filling McMansions and Lego castles, but Kurath hopes the supersize-my-house trend might be slowing down.

“I think people are beginning to realize you don’t need to have five bedrooms that are always empty,” he says. “I can design a house that feels way bigger than it actually is.” When he remodeled a 700-square-foot house in the Hollywood Hills — putting in huge windows, pocket sliding doors and skylights — the client, who initially wanted a 2,000-square-foot house, couldn’t believe how much bigger her house felt.

http://thumb14.webshots.net/t/26/27/6/55/90/2047655900061249974OnunAF_th.jpg (http://community.webshots.com/photo/2047655900061249974OnunAF)

For a green makeover of a 600-square-foot house in Culver City, Kurath applied the same ideas he would for new construction. He installed insulation made from recycled materials, moved windows around and used fume-free paint. “I don’t call them ‘tricks,’” says Kurath of his methods. “It’s just common sense.”


He says the most important thing to look at is the orientation of the lot — “where is the sun going?” Well-placed windows can eliminate the need for electric lights during daylight hours and create enough cross ventilation to make air-conditioning unnecessary. Windows also can open up a small house, making it feel much larger. Moving and replacing windows can make a big difference and doesn’t cost that much.

Same with removing walls — walls block heat and air from flowing, and that means you have to use more energy to heat or cool your home. Removing corners can save you money on your utility bills.

“Let’s face it,” Kurath says, smiling, “most doors are open anyway, right?” For bedrooms or other areas where a little more privacy is required, he recommends installing walls that don’t go all the way to the ceiling. Insulation can make a big difference too. Many houses in Southern California were built without insulation; adding something like a new cellulose product made from 100 percent recycled materials can save money on energy bills. Holes are punched in the walls, and the cellulose is blown in; pressure is used to pack in the material, filling every crevice to make everything airtight (unlike the old fiberglass variety, which leaves gaping areas, contains cancer-causing formaldehyde and can release tiny glass particles into the air and scratchyour lungs).

http://thumb14.webshots.net/t/22/23/7/34/99/2335734990061249974SLajvO_th.jpg (http://community.webshots.com/photo/2335734990061249974SLajvO)

Depending on the extent of the remodel, Kurath would recommend in-floor heating, where a series of pipes carrying hot water zigzag through the floor. He says it can save lots on energy bills. “The concept is simple,” he says. “If your feet are warm, you feel warm; if your feet are cold, you feel cold. Most developers put the heating vents on top near the ceiling, because that’s where it’s easier to install. But heat rises — it just doesn’t make sense.”

A green house is also a healthy house. Cappe says he received a phone call from a client who wanted to “green her life.” He went to her home and evaluated it room by room, making a list of things she could do that wouldn’t cost a fortune — everything from changing her shampoo to using energy-efficient light bulbs. Replacing cabinets that contain formaldehyde, or chairs, couches and beds that “off-gas,” or pollute the air in your house, even using cleaning products made from natural ingredients are all relatively cheap ways to green your home. But where can you find an organic cotton mattress? “Most places carry organic, or recycled lines — they just don’t advertise it,” says Cappe. “The consumer really has to ask the questions. There are alternatives for every product. Whether remodeling or building, if you stop and think about it, you can come up with an alternative. When you go looking for something, say, tiles for your bathroom, the salesperson will try to sell you something in your budget and in your color. It’s up to you to ask if they carry any tiles made locally from 100 percent recycled materials. You’ll be surprised at how many products exist.”

In the end, Kurath says, green building is more about time than money. “People still talk about green houses and all that stuff,” he laughs, “but right now it’s more of a selling point. It should be thought of automatically.Developers and architects should take the responsibility to show people that you don’t have to spend more money. It’s all out there.”

Damien
Sep 19, 2006, 10:32 PM
Double post

Damien
Sep 19, 2006, 10:37 PM
All these loaded developers and investors in the city and we can't build AND FUND a few fricking shelters for 2000 people?

There's no need to complain about working through bureaucracies or needing to increase taxes or pass bonds. All it would have taken were a few philanthropic events to create several shelters throughout the southland by the hundreds of developers hungry to establish a rich-man's paradise downtown.

citywatch
Sep 20, 2006, 12:57 AM
:no:

Wages Lag in L.A. County, Study Says

Report shows a pay gap between local workers and their counterparts in the rest of the state.

By Joe Mathews, Times Staff Writer
September 18, 2006

The wages, education and benefits of workers in Los Angeles County lag those of their counterparts elsewhere in California, according to a report to be released today by the nonpartisan California Budget Project. The report, titled "Left Behind: Workers and Their Families in a Changing Los Angeles," relies on data from the Census Bureau as well as the state Employment Development Department and Franchise Tax Board to paint a portrait of California's leading city as an economic world apart.

The typical Los Angeles worker — one whose earnings are in the 50th percentile — makes 83 cents for every dollar earned by the typical worker in the rest of the state, according to the report. Over the last generation, that wage gap has widened. From 1979 to 2005, the inflation-adjusted hourly wage of the typical L.A. worker decreased by more than 6%, while increasing nearly 6% in the rest of the state.

Over the last 15 years, the number of jobs in L.A. County — home to more than one-quarter of California workers — declined by 2.8%, while increasing in the rest of California by 28.5%.

"The breadth of the disparity between Los Angeles and the rest of the state is important, and it really is pervasive," said Jean Ross, director of the California Budget Project. "Los Angeles was at the center of the bust in the early 1990s and on the periphery of the boom in the late 1990s." Ross pointed in particular to figures on construction jobs, an area of growth in most of California but not in Los Angeles, where the number of such jobs, 145,000, was the same last year as in 1990.

Mary Gutierrez, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, said the report did not seem out of line. "I'm not really surprised by all those numbers," she said.

The report, while focusing on low-wage workers, also found that the purchasing power of the top 20% of workers in Los Angeles had lagged the rest of the state. And while the share of Los Angeles taxpayers with an inflation-adjusted annual income of at least $100,000 more than doubled from 1989 to 2003, the increase was even greater in the rest of California. "That surprised us," Ross said.

The report draws few hard conclusions about the causes of the disparity, but points to a number of factors. Half of L.A.'s workers are foreign-born, compared with less than a third in the rest of the state. In 2005, the percentage of workers who had not completed high school was the same as in 1979 — a little more than 20%. In the rest of the state, 13% of workers had not finished high school. Also, the value of a high school diploma is less in L.A. than in the rest of California. Workers with a high school education here earn 86.7 cents for every dollar earned by workers with the same schooling in the rest of the state.

After accounting for differences in education and ethnicity, the wage gap narrows but does not disappear, the report states.

Ross and the study's lead author, Alissa Anderson Garcia, acknowledged that the numbers do not reflect Los Angeles' considerable underground economy and self-employed people who have not incorporated. "There are some mitigating things: There's a huge cash economy, and reported wages are quite different than wages," said Joel Kotkin, the author of "The City: A Global History."

The report identified a number of bright spots, including a 40.4% increase in entertainment industry jobs from 1990 to 2005. Los Angeles also is minting more millionaires than the rest of the state; that number more than doubled from 4,011 to 9,208 between 1998 and 2003.

Union members have done well, seeing their wages increase over the last 15 years as pay has declined for nonunion workers, the report concludes.

"We do definitely have challenges in Los Angeles County," said Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. "We have no economic development strategy, and this is very dangerous in the type of global economy in which we operate."

Damien
Sep 20, 2006, 1:57 AM
I'll bet it has more to do with the freeways than any "lack of an economic development strategy" (READ: tax shelters and giveaways). It makes it too easy for businesses to survive outside the city core and allows businesses to play cities off of one another in the effort to secure bribes.

And if we want to increase the number of construction jobs, lets get to building an extensive urban rail system like now.

BrighamYen
Sep 20, 2006, 4:21 AM
All these loaded developers and investors in the city and we can't build AND FUND a few fricking shelters for 2000 people?

There's no need to complain about working through bureaucracies or needing to increase taxes or pass bonds. All it would have taken were a few philanthropic events to create several shelters throughout the southland by the hundreds of developers hungry to establish a rich-man's paradise downtown.

I agree! It would actually be a smart move for a large developer to start a foundation to fund more homeless services (even if it is under the radar) for their own benefit of being able to attract more residential buyers in a market as hot as Downtown LA. If they could help resolve/ameliorate the homeless issue, it would only benefit them and the future residents of Downtown LA.

The idea should be definitely be diluting the dense concentration of filth and homeless. Diluting it entails spreading out the shelters to other areas of the County. The Board of Supervisors (most of them) agreed to this, and I wonder where this stands today...

citywatch
Sep 22, 2006, 5:04 PM
This PDF document (http://www.livableplaces.org/news/documents/LANYDensity_report_000.pdf) on density patterns in LA vs NY is a good reason why NIMBYites here should move to the east coast, because then they'll have a lot more to complain about. :cool: But it also is an example of why we're more vulnerable to falling apart, not only because there are fewer ppl within our hoods who can support businesses (like the new Ralphs mkt in DT) & various cultural or social activities (the contemporary art museum in DT has a surprisingly low yearly attendance figure), but because a lot more of them are poorer & less well educated.

citywatch
Sep 22, 2006, 5:13 PM
I just saw this in today's paper & is the reason I mentioned that the city is very vulnerable to falling apart:


:no:

Gary Toebben, president and chief executive officer of the chamber, agreed later that the business leaders and mayor have "forged a good working relationship." Toebben is among the local leaders who will travel with Villaraigosa to Asia next month, the mayor's first extended trip abroad since taking office.

Toebben acknowledged that chamber leaders continue to press Villaraigosa to make job creation a central plank of his administration. But he said they are optimistic that the mayor is listening to them, especially since they presented him with figures showing that over a 15-year period, Los Angeles has added 1 million people and lost 50,000 jobs.

"Those numbers really got the attention of the mayor," Toebben said.

RAlossi
Sep 22, 2006, 5:27 PM
LA isn't going to fall apart. It survived riots, fires (arson and wildfires), homicide rates, white flight, earthquakes, collapse of industries...

I need to see some actual comprehensive information stating that we have lost 50,000 jobs. Does this report include the self-employed? Does it take into account that job growth in satellite cities (Burbank, Glendale, Culver City, Beverly Hills, etc) employs many people living in LA?

Hopefully this group is really concerned with increasing job growth in LA and not simply trying to get tax breaks with no regard for the job arena.

RAlossi
Sep 22, 2006, 5:41 PM
Also, I just looked at that density report. They aren't using fair comparisons.

They're using outdated population information for LA (2000 census) and using 2004 population information for NY. Hello??

Estimated LA population in 2006: 4,097,340. Population density (469.1 sq land miles) is approximately 8,734 people per square mile. The outdated density report estimate is 7,828 people per square mile.

Damien
Sep 22, 2006, 6:24 PM
I never understood this whole New York vs. L.A. density debate. No one who has been to both cities would claim with a straight face that LA is more or as dense as New York. We only have a handful of pockets of density that compare to the entire island of Manhattan.

Anyone know if the population estimate includes undocumented immigrants?

Wright Concept
Sep 22, 2006, 6:37 PM
I just saw this in today's paper & is the reason I mentioned that the city is very vulnerable to falling apart:


:no:

Gary Toebben, president and chief executive officer of the chamber, agreed later that the business leaders and mayor have "forged a good working relationship." Toebben is among the local leaders who will travel with Villaraigosa to Asia next month, the mayor's first extended trip abroad since taking office.

Toebben acknowledged that chamber leaders continue to press Villaraigosa to make job creation a central plank of his administration. But he said they are optimistic that the mayor is listening to them, especially since they presented him with figures showing that over a 15-year period, Los Angeles has added 1 million people and lost 50,000 jobs.

"Those numbers really got the attention of the mayor," Toebben said.

Is there a link to the article?

Also with that figure does it mention any relative trends, such as the big loss of the Aerospace industry in the early-mid 90's and some civil unrests and coporate takeovers. And are they comparing the City of LA or LA metro region which RAlossi pointed might be where some of those jobs are going but they live in the city of LA, I know because I am one of those statistics, Live in Central City and work in the S.G. Valley.

To my knowledge, for the last 4 years the city has been on an upward trend in terms of job growth.

citywatch
Sep 22, 2006, 8:52 PM
Anyone know if the population estimate includes undocumented immigrants?That estimate definitely isn't based on the size of what originally was the largest group in LA.

I'm surprised that the actual number of ppl in LA who are white is lower today than at any time since the 1940s. IOW, I once thought the stats I've been hearing & reading about for several yrs regarding whites/Anglos referred to their percentage of the total population of LA, & not an actual head count of them.


http://www.usc.edu/schools/sppd/research/census2000/race_census/research_reports/Contours_PRR_2001-04e.pdf


While the most obvious fact about the county is its great diversity, notice also that even by 1980, a most important feature of the overall patterns is that Whites reached the apogee of their population size as early as 1960, and have been declining in absolute numbers ever since.

The Black population peaked in 1990, but has remained almost constant since 1980, at just under one million persons. Indeed, despite spectacular growth of the Los Angels metropolis since 1940, Whites in 2000 are only slightly more numerous than they were in before the Second World War.

In other words, the growth of Los Angeles County since 1960 is almost entirely the work of non-White and non-Black groups.

citywatch
Sep 22, 2006, 8:59 PM
Is there a link to the article?
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-mayor22sep22,1,945079.story?coll=la-headlines-california

One indication that there certainly hasn't been a lot of job growth in the city, at least in terms of office based employment, is that owners of various bldgs in DT & Hollywood haven't been able to fill up their vacant space for over 10 yrs.

Wright Concept
Sep 22, 2006, 9:04 PM
^ On that note, it is also possible that more of the home based businesses/freelance work field has increased in the last 4-5 years. More so in the last 3 years when those business recieve a tax breaks from the city. Also that job market has shifted away from Office style/corporate environments to more freelance and network based job structures where everyone is a consultant to someone else.

BrighamYen
Sep 22, 2006, 10:07 PM
Gary Toebben, president and chief executive officer of the chamber, agreed later that the business leaders and mayor have "forged a good working relationship." Toebben is among the local leaders who will travel with Villaraigosa to Asia next month, the mayor's first extended trip abroad since taking office..





Wow! I wonder what countries our mayor will be visiting! Hopefully he'll visit such cities as Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Seoul, and realize just how far advanced they are compared to LA (infrastructure-wise) and further strengthen his cause for extending our Purple Line subway down Wilshire Blvd.!!! I wish I could go with Villaraigosa and see his reaction when he sees Asia's great cities.

citywatch
Sep 22, 2006, 11:54 PM
^ I've long believed that too many ppl runnning the city, inc mayors & council members, have been clueless for too long about the way LA stacks up against other towns. I think too many of them (& everyone of us, for that matter) often drive or walk through the city & think "this is good enough for me!" Or refuse to say "goddamnit, this is unacceptable!" or "this hood is a dive---what the hell is wrong with us for letting things remain this bad or get this bad in the first place?!!!"

Worse of all, some of the ppl in the city become NIMBYites, or are totally oblivious of why problems, like those facing the farmers mkt in Little Tokyo, are always lying below the surface & why a hood remains so vulnerable to falling apart.

This story also makes me worry about the kind of conditions the new Ralphs on 9th St may encounter when it opens next yr. It's also why none of us should be surprised when the owners of stores like Trader Joe's apparently still are leery about opening a branch in DT:


Turning Away From Starving Artists

Arts District/Little Tokyo Farmers Market to Hit Up the Weekday Crowd

Citing scarce patronage and a gradual exodus of staple vendors, the Arts District/Little Tokyo Farmers Market is giving up on Saturdays. Instead, the market will adopt a strategy common to the three others held each week in Downtown Los Angeles: Try and make weekdays work. Starting Oct. 3, the market will assemble at Weller Court in Little Tokyo on Tuesdays instead of Saturdays.

"I really think that people will come to the market if the market has enough stuff in it," said Susan Hutchinson, the market's manager. "If we get back some of our farmers and we get back some good, prepared food, then when people discover us at lunchtime... we might attract some more Downtown people."

It's the latest growing pain for the market that started last summer on Traction Avenue in the Arts District. Just months into the experiment, the initial crowds of 500 had dwindled to fewer than 100 shoppers. In January, the market moved to Weller Court, at Second and San Pedro streets in Little Tokyo.

Flush with $15,000 in advertising funds raised by a consortium made up by the Los Angeles River Artists and Business Association, builder Howard Klein and developer the Kor Group (the latter two have housing projects in the area), and with the weekend population of Downtown briefly multiplied by immigration marches, the market had a bit of a resurgence in the spring.

"The location... made for a very interesting and diverse group of shoppers," Hutchinson said in an email. "Some days were a surreal mix of Buddhist nuns, women in kimonos, sleepy hipsters and artists, German and Japanese tourists and protesters waving flags. There was no better market for people-watching."

The market keeps 10% of the gross sales by prepared food vendors and 6% from the farmers. With roughly 20 vendors, receipts in the spring averaged about $4,000 and topped out at $6,500, with the market regularly keeping around $500 or $600, Hutchinson said.

But, as happened early on, crowds dwindled. The ongoing poor turnout has meant meager returns for the handful of remaining vendors, the most successful of which, the neophyte bakery Breadbar, recently decided to abandon its farmers market experiment entirely. "It wasn't a positive one for us," said Rogelio Marhx, Breadbar's executive chef. "Sometimes, it wasn't even. We had a lot of leftovers, even though we were the one that was successful."

Part of the problem, says Panagiotis Theodoropoulos, owner of Eliki Olive Oil, one of the vendors making the move to Tuesdays, is that Downtown, with its focus on serving the white-collar crowd, isn't yet suited to a farmers market in the purest sense of the term. Eliki, one of the Arts District/Little Tokyo market's founding vendors, also sells its olives, oil and a selection of Greek appetizers at a handful of other markets. Among them is Downtown's most successful edition, the year-old Financial District market held Wednesdays on Fifth Street near the Central Library.

That type of market - more temporary food court than what can be found on Thursdays at the 7+Fig or Chinatown markets - does well in Downtown, Theodoropolis said. "People come down from their buildings to have lunch. They may buy one or two other things, but that's it," he said. "It's the same thing as the Century City farmers market."

It's possible the market arrived too early in a district undergoing change with each new residential development coming up in the area, Hutchinson said, although she had expected a bump in business when the Savoy condominium complex opened in February. So far, it hasn't materialized. Despite the challenges, Hutchinson is hopeful that the move to Tuesdays will mean that a regular crowd will take advantage of the market's alternative choices for lunch.

Which isn't to say that it will necessarily work out. When the market originally started, Hutchinson had high hopes for her Arts District community, but the sentiment quickly went down the tubes. "I thought for sure, that when we were over there, that it would really take off, that people would really get into it because of [having to drive] to Trader Joe's in Silver Lake," she said. "At first, it was, 'It's too early in the day. Artists don't get up in the morning.' Then it was, 'Artists don't eat vegetables,' That's bull, because I go to the Hollywood Farmers Market, and I see all my neighbors over there."

9/25/2006




This repeats what I pasted in a previous post & is the kind of info that makes me talk about a city "falling apart."

I know ppl sometimes say a TV show has "jumped the shark" when it gets really bad & never recovers from that moment onward. I sure don't want to see that happen to the city, or a time when ppl will be claiming that LA jumped the shark.


[b]Report Says Local Workers Lag Others in State

Sacramento Group Paints Grim Employment Picture, But Some Disagree With Findings

by Jon Regardie

A report issued last week says that workers in Los Angeles County are lagging behind their counterparts across the state, earning less money and having reduced purchasing power. The result, according to the study, raises troubling questions for the future. But those aren't the only questions. Some local observers are expressing doubts about the findings and the stances of the organization that came up with them.

Last week, the nonprofit California Budget Project issued a report titled "Left Behind: Workers and Their Families in a Changing Los Angeles." The 27-page study describes a county that has undergone massive shifts in the last quarter century, sparked by the defense build-downs and the decline in the aerospace industry that began in the 1980s. The earning power of local workers has been further diminished by a market where thousands of manufacturing jobs have given way to service-based employment.

"By any dimension, no matter how you cut the data, Los Angeles is falling behind," said Jean Ross, executive director of the Sacramento-based CBP, during a Monday morning teleconference.

"Our findings give rise to the question of whether or not Los Angeles will continue to be the place where people come to realize the California dream and whether or not they will have sufficient economic resources to support themselves and their families once they get there," Ross continued. A trend, said Ross, has been a shift from the local production of durable goods, such as automobiles, planes and tires, to the creation of non-durable goods, such as apparel, said Ross. "From an employment and job-quality standpoint this is important because durable goods manufacturing pays a lot more," said Ross.

Key Findings

For "Left Behind," CBP Budget Analyst Alissa Anderson Garcia examined numerous reports and data, including Census Bureau figures, Franchise Tax Board information and hourly wage findings. The CBP found that Los Angeles was at the center of the economic bust of the late 1980s and early 1990s, but was on the periphery of the late 1990s boom. The study said that Los Angeles had 811,600 manufacturing jobs in 1990, but only 475,900 in 2005, a 41.4% drop.

Other findings from the report included:

Los Angeles County recorded a 2.8% decline in jobs over the last 15 years, while the state as a whole increased by 28.5%.

The ethnic makeup of the workforce has changed. Whereas caucasians comprised 58.8% of workers in 1979, no ethnic group was a majority in 2005. In that period, Latinos rose from 22.7% to 45.5% of the workforce.

Local purchasing power has dropped, with the inflation-adjusted hourly wage of Los Angeles workers falling by 6.4% from 1979 to 2005. During that period, workers in the rest of the state saw a rise of 5.9%.

When it comes to purchasing power, the gender gap narrowed, with inflation-adjusted wages for male workers in Los Angeles County falling 19.2% from 1979 to 2005. Over that time, the earnings of female workers increased 12.8%, including inflation adjustments. That meant, according to the CBP, that women earned 93 cents for every dollar men earned last year, up from 66.6 cents for each dollar in 1979.

The number of Los Angeles workers with job-based health coverage fell from 71.1% in 1979 to 50.5% in 2005. By contrast, coverage for workers in the rest of the state during that period decreased from 74% to 61.3%.

The number of Los Angeles millionaires outpaced the rest of the state. From 1989 to 2003, those with an adjusted gross income of more than $1 million climbed 129.6%, from 4,011 to 9,208. The rest of the state had a 110.2% increase, from 9,333 to 19,619.

Not All Agree

One element not analyzed was the state of Downtown Los Angeles. In an interview after the teleconference, Ross said data was not broken down to individual neighborhoods within the county. Although Downtown has a vibrant apparel industry, and is home to dozens of housing projects and thousands of construction workers (not to mention all those who work in high-rises), she questioned the purchasing power compared to the rest of the state. She said there are construction wage gaps between Los Angeles County and other parts of California.

"Certainly the development has been very positive. The question is are the people are who are out there doing the work reaping the awards?" Ross asked.

Jack Kyser, senior vice president and chief economist of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., questioned some of the CBP findings. He said the study did not take into account so-called non-employers, small companies (often just one or two people) that are growing rapidly. He also questioned the CBP's stance of opposing the renewal of a manufacturing investment credit that he said was helpful for local industries. It expired several years ago. "The manufacturing investment credit was very widely liked by aerospace and the apparel industry, and helped the apparel industry get more productive," he said.

Ross said she has not seen evidence that the credit produced benefits. Instead, she called for investments in education and infrastructure. The CBP has also rejected calls for incentives to the entertainment industry, again urging money be spent on education and infrastructure. However, Steve MacDonald, president of Downtown-based FilmL.A., which oversees permitting in the area, said incentives could help in an industry in which local production has declined almost 7% over the past year. He added that production has increased in competing states, such as New Mexico, Louisiana and New York, that offer tax or other economic incentives.

"If one of their points is that wages in L.A. have fallen behind the rest of the state, the logical thing to do is increase film production in L.A., because those jobs pay wages higher than the average," said MacDonald.

Wright Concept
Sep 23, 2006, 9:38 AM
^ I've long believed that too many ppl runnning the city, inc mayors & council members, have been clueless for too long about the way LA stacks up against other towns. I think too many of them (& everyone of us, for that matter) often drive or walk through the city & think "this is good enough for me!" Or refuse to say "goddamnit, this is unacceptable!" or "this hood is a dive---what the hell is wrong with us for letting things remain this bad or get this bad in the first place?!!!"

Jack Kyser, senior vice president and chief economist of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., questioned some of the CBP findings. He said the study did not take into account so-called non-employers, small companies (often just one or two people) that are growing rapidly. He also questioned the CBP's stance of opposing the renewal of a manufacturing investment credit that he said was helpful for local industries. It expired several years ago. "The manufacturing investment credit was very widely liked by aerospace and the apparel industry, and helped the apparel industry get more productive," he said. Citywatch, I think this the change. More people across the board are working for themselves because they see the corporate manipulation on the big level and have to feel that they need to protect themselves from it. Also with that structure, folks are creating job/work/family lifestyles that are interconnected rather than separate, so that these "freelance workers" spend more time with their families.

Ok Elmo, calm yourself down. Some farmer's markets work in some parts of the city other's won't at the time. It's just a matter of getting a critical mass. Notice in that article they changed their strategy to the weekday lunchtime crowd to at least get some traction. On the other hand having a supermarket brand like a Ralph's does wonders for the hood to allow other ventures like this to happen albeit on a later date.

This story also makes me worry about the kind of conditions the new Ralphs on 9th St may encounter when it opens next yr. It's also why none of us should be surprised when the owners of stores like Trader Joe's apparently still are leery about opening a branch in DT:

Elmo, What are you suggesting that they shouldn't be there at all? That would be more determental to sustaining the increase of residents in this new residential neighborhood. That reasoning will be the exact reason why neighborhoods in your definition turn into dives.

Also if you were out on the streets on a daily basis around Downtown, you would see that nearby Rite-Aid's store hours have closed later in the last few years and that most of those reasons are for the near-by young professional to buy their 12-24 can cases of beer and other baccanalian (sp?)pleasures for their parties. On that note there will be a draw during those concerts and venues just two short blocks away at Staples Center that'll bring customers to the market to purchase small items that they would otherwise be charged an arm and a leg at Staples.

Trader Joe's are some what conservative as are most businesses are in their setting up shop in a new location. They would like to see a critical mass or some basic improvements by city leasders like clean safe streets before venturing into something. If there was a location that had decent foot traffic, I bet they would jump at that opportunity. I'd bet a Trader Joe's would be a big success in Leimert Park compared to Downtown right now, because of the critical mass factor.

citywatch
Sep 25, 2006, 7:46 PM
Elmo, What are you suggesting that they shouldn't be there at all?
Uh, no (and who the heck is Elmo?). I'm merely pointing out that the idea of installing lots of retail into the hood, esp in many of the ground floor spaces of various new apt or condo bldgs, is a lot easier said than done. IOW, ppl forget just how tough it is for at least certain businesses to turn a profit in DT, because even with the addition of thousands of new residents to the hood, it still is a relatively lightly populated area.

And the problems with activities like the farmers mkt in LT should be seen as another warning---esp to those ppl (hello, Daily News!) who like to think a city won't look like a big joke when its DT is a flop---that when a hood is allowed to fall apart for too many yrs, the formula for success will be even harder to find & achieve.

Wright Concept
Sep 25, 2006, 7:58 PM
^ I think we're on the same page.

"They would like to see a critical mass or some basic improvements by the city clowncil like clean safe streets before venturing into something. (This is something that can be accomplished in EVERY community in LA, something the local papers like the Wave and Daily News have said for a long time, so Neighborhoods surrounding certain attractions won't be called "dives") If there was a location that had decent foot traffic, I bet they would jump at that opportunity. I'd bet a Trader Joe's would be a big success in Leimert Park compared to Downtown right now, because of the critical mass factor."

RAlossi
Sep 27, 2006, 4:46 PM
I didn't know where to post this, but since there are other posts re: Skid Row in this thread, I'll post it here.




Drug Offenders to Be Banned From Skid Row
Under a new strategy, those who are convicted of narcotics-related crimes in the area would face prosecution if they return, the D.A. says.
By Richard Winton, Times Staff Writer
September 27, 2006

Frustrated by their inability to curtail skid row's burgeoning drug trade, Los Angeles law enforcement leaders on Tuesday unveiled a new but untested weapon: prohibiting people convicted of drug offenses from returning to the area while on probation.

The strategy seeks to apply elements of gang injunctions, prostitution arrests and "stay away" orders often used in domestic abuse cases to potentially thousands of repeat offenders who buy and sell narcotics in a part of skid row known as Los Angeles' drug bazaar.

The effort is being led by Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, making his first major attempt at dealing with the intractable issue of skid row crime that has bedeviled other leaders, including Police Chief William J. Bratton and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Cooley said that by making the "stay away" order a condition of probation, officials hope to reduce the demand for drugs on skid row.

"At some point, the situation becomes so outrageous, so intractable you have to throw lots of resources at it," said Cooley, who added that the plan would take effect immediately. "Drug buyers and sellers caught there will know once they get caught again, they'll go to prison or jail."

The crackdown focuses on 4th, 5th and 6th streets between Broadway and Central Avenue. The area covers less than a square mile but accounts for 13% of all heroin and cocaine arrests in the city and is considered a magnet for downtown crime.

The plan comes as officials struggle to clean up skid row, which for decades has been plagued by drug dealing, crime and homeless encampments.

Villaraigosa and Bratton have repeatedly vowed to fix skid row by beefing up police patrols and providing more money for homeless services and affordable housing.

But last week, the Los Angeles City Council rejected Villaraigosa and Bratton's proposal to settle an lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union over the way the LAPD deals with homeless encampments.

Despite the intense focus on problems in skid row over the last year, many residents and merchants complain that drug dealing appears to be getting worse, and LAPD headcounts have found an increase in homeless encampments.

The "stay away" plan was drafted by the LAPD, Cooley's office, the county Probation Department and Superior Court judges, who have agreed to make the orders a routine part of drug cases involving people arrested around skid row.

Authorities would keep a database of probationers who are banned from the area. If people on the list are found, they can be arrested immediately on a probation violation even if they have not committed any other crime.

Officials say they see the plan as a way to target outsiders who come downtown seeking drugs.

Such tactics are "an excellent way to whittle down the number of criminals in the area and make it easy to identify the people on the streets who really want and need help," LAPD Deputy Chief Charles L. Beck said.

Until now, police and prosecutors have used such "stay away" orders in much more limited circumstances.

In prostitution cases, for example, prosecutors have received probation orders prohibiting defendants from being in certain red-light districts. Judges have also granted "stay away" orders when sentencing computer hackers and Internet child porn customers, prohibiting them from using computers.

But it's never been tried on such a large scale. In the portion of skid row covered by the plan, there were more than 2,300 drug arrests last year. Cooley said that if it works here, he would consider expanding it to other areas of Los Angeles County as warranted.

To protect those who are serious about getting help, the probation orders would not apply to those attending treatment programs in skid row or people who live or work there.

Critics were quick to point out that the plan is yet another effort by Los Angeles leaders to deal with the problems on skid row without addressing a central problem: a lack of adequate shelter beds that forces thousands of homeless people to sleep on the streets.

Some homeless are drug addicts, and the proximity to drug dealing is a constant temptation. But the skid row drug market also attracts many others from around the city. Last year, actor Brad Renfro made headlines when he was arrested near 6th and Spring streets and eventually pleaded guilty to buying heroin.

"It is another stopgap measure that doesn't address the real issues," said Ramona Ripston, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. The plan may be legal but doesn't address the underlying issue of homelessness, she said.

The "stay away" order is one of several new initiatives Los Angeles leaders are pushing to improve skid row. On Sunday, the LAPD deployed an additional 50 officers around downtown in an effort to reduce street crime and drug sales.

Legislators are advocating a package of bills designed to help skid row, including a $150,000 pilot program in Los Angeles County Superior Court for probation supervision and treatment of nonviolent offenders with mental health problems, substance abuse problems or both. The legislation also would require municipalities to devise plans to help their homeless populations rather than dump them in other areas where treatment programs already exist.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors signed off on an $80-million infusion for homeless shelters and social service programs throughout the county.

The aid is intended to help more than 88,000 homeless people countywide. Among other things, it will beef up programs to protect children and families living on skid row and create five "stabilization centers" around the county.

"Skid row could absorb easily all of the resources that we have in the county, and that really doesn't serve the purpose of the county," said Chief Administrative Officer David E. Janssen.

But it remains unclear how much all these efforts will improve the situation.

Bratton said Tuesday that the extra officers are already having an effect and that he plans to add officers on horseback.

"There has already been significant improvement down there," Bratton said. On Monday "for the first time in anybody's memory, we didn't have a reported robbery in that area."

Bratton said he believes the "stay away" order will be effective, noting the success of civil injunctions that prohibit gang members from congregating in certain high-crime areas.

But he and other officials are still grappling with the issue of camping.

Last week, Bratton and Villaraigosa urged the City Council to approve a settlement with the ACLU that would have allowed the homeless to set up tents at night on skid row but permit police to take them down during the day.

The City Council, however, rejected the settlement, saying it feared that such a deal would open the door to homeless encampments in other parts of the city. Instead, the council voted to have the city appeal a ruling by a federal appeals court that sided with the ACLU.

After consulting with the city attorney's office, Bratton said Tuesday that he would attempt to enforce a ban on sidewalk sleeping between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., one element of the proposed settlement. Some at City Hall have questioned whether the city can enforce terms of the compromise while still fighting the ACLU in court.

Ripston said Tuesday that she just hopes city officials decide to end the litigation.

"It is a good thing they are willing to implement portions of what we suggested in our settlement," she said, adding that it raised a question about why officials didn't sign the compromise.

RAlossi
Sep 27, 2006, 4:55 PM
From the Daily News:



Special patrols to continue

BY SUSAN ABRAM, Staff Writer

More than 50 police officers fanned out on foot and bicycles through Los Angeles' Skid Row district on Sunday as part of a plan to weed out gangs and drug dealers who prey on the homeless.

Chief William Bratton said in a morning news conference that specially trained Los Angeles Police Department officers will abide by a court ruling that forbids police from arresting the homeless for sleeping on the street, but instead will focus on drug arrests.

"The condition of being homeless in and of itself is not a crime," Bratton said. "Los Angeles police officers will focus their activities on behavior, not the condition of being homeless."

Three arrests were made in a special patrol Sunday, one of a series planned in the Safer City Initiative.

Cleaning up Skid Row has been a priority for Bratton since he became LAPD chief in 2002. In a press conference last week, he called the area the nation's biggest open-air drug market, and he said it would take all county and city agencies to solve the problem.

But his goal has faced legal obstacles stemming from a 2003 American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against him and the LAPD for arresting homeless residents camped on downtown sidewalks.

The ACLU's lawsuit was upheld this year by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

To expedite his goal of cleaning up Skid Row, Bratton had hoped the City Council would back his proposed compromise with the ACLU, which would have allowed the homeless to sleep on sidewalks at night, when businesses are closed and there are fewer pedestrians.

But the City Council voted against his plan last week and instead decided to seek U. S. Supreme Court intervention.

Advertisement

But Bratton said the LAPD will not wait for a court outcome before continuing to go after gangs and drug dealers who sell narcotics to the homeless.

Near Maple and Los Angeles streets, officers walked down sidewalks littered with chicken bones, paper plates and discarded clothes and approached men and women sleeping inside tents or on cardboard.

"I'm not here to arrest you," Officer Kent Rodriguez said to a sleepy man. "I'd rather help you get something to eat and get a bed."

Dozens of members of the Los Angeles Community Action Network protested the extra police presence, saying the cost of those 50 additional officers could have funded 75 more beds for the homeless.

"There is a drug element down here, but the solution is that we have to help people find permanent homes," said protester Steve Diaz. "Our group's census takers found that there are four extra beds a night in shelters, and there are 7,500 homeless people a night."

But Don Garza, a resident of one of the single-room occupancy hotels, was supportive of the LAPD's efforts.

"My neighbors are dying down here," he said. "There's drug dealers on every corner. It's like a killing machine. People come in and die, and then more people come in."

RAlossi
Sep 27, 2006, 5:01 PM
And the third article in a trio of Skid Row/homeless-related efforts to start this week.


Supervisors Approve Plan To Spend Homeless Funds

(CBS) LOS ANGELES
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a plan that allocates an unprecedented $80 million to homeless shelters and social service programs throughout Los Angeles County.

The money is part of the $100 million "Homeless Prevention Initiative" approved by the board in April as a way to help the county's nearly 90,000 transient residents.

Since then, county officials have met with homeless advocates, service providers and community groups about 20 times to determine how to best spend the funds, Lari Sheehan with the Chief Administrative Office said.

"We set up certain principles and those principles have been the guiding light -- that we can't put (the funds) all in one place and it needs to be for projects that will have significant performance as quickly as possible," Sheehan said.

"We focused services in populations that we could potentially get into housing," Sheehan added. "We focused on specific areas where we know the county has put a lot of dollars in dealing with the homeless."

The major aspects of the plan include a homeless family center on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles, a homeless court, housing locators and a countywide housing database.

"Skid Row is a very important issue for the region, certainly for Los Angeles, but Skid Row could absorb easily all of the resources that we have, and that really doesn't serve the purpose of the county in allocating this money," Chief Administrative Officer David Janssen said.

Under the proposal, $32 million will be allocated to social service providers, cities and unincorporated areas for "locally defined" needs.

That figure includes $11.6 million for emergency shelters, affordable housing and safe havens for adults with mental illness or addiction. About $20.4 million will be given to organizations providing mental health services, substance abuse treatment or counseling.

The other $48 million will go toward county-run programs, including a $20 million loan fund to finance developers building affordable housing.

The rest of the plan includes:
-- $17.3 million to provide housing assistance to individuals released from
county jails and hospitals;
-- $4 million to increase the number of homeless individuals receiving
Supplemental Security Income;
-- $5.9 million for a housing locator, year-round shelters and Homeless
Court; and
-- $800,000 to address "adverse community reactions."

At the urging of Supervisor Mike Antonovich, the board took $4.8 million from the Undesignated Capital Account fund to pay for 50 additional beds for mentally ill residents and 30 beds for people leaving county jails.

County supervisors also agreed to allow the Department of Children and Family Services to hire eight monitors and one supervisor to serve as liaisons between the department and homeless families.

Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke voiced concern that children would be separated from their parents just for being homeless.

"If a child is being abused, the child is at risk. But what we're talking about is whether or not a poor child is at risk," Burke said. "That really is the crux in the difference in approach."

However, DCFS Director Trish Ploehn said a child's housing situation would not automatically determine whether a child is taken from his parents.

The "Homeless Prevention Initiative" also includes a commitment of $20 million in ongoing funding. The Board of Supervisors did not vote on that money at today's meeting.

The next step is for county officials to return to the board in 120 days with contracts that allow cities and community groups to apply for funding.

RAlossi
Sep 27, 2006, 5:05 PM
So to sum up, we're getting a ban on drug addicts or sellers returning to Skid Row right after they're released from the jails (or after treatment). This is probably the most important thing to happen with Skid Row in the recent past.

But that wouldn't mean anything without enforcement. Add in the 50 permanent drug-enforcement police specialists to help with enforcing the above-mentioned rule, and there's a significant piece of the puzzle.

Lastly, $80 million to help fund homeless shelters/treatment centers in the county outside of Skid Row will finally force the suburbs to deal with some of this problem.

citywatch
Oct 24, 2006, 2:48 AM
Trade Mission To Asia Yields $300M In Investments

(CBS) LOS ANGELES Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Monday that his trade mission to Asia yielded $300 million in international investments, and re-affirmed his commitment to public transit and architectural landmarks. The mayor and his delegation, which included Councilmen Dennis Zine, Jack Weiss, Jose Huizar and 45 business leaders, returned yesterday from a 14-day, nine-city mission to China, Japan and South Korea.

"L.A.'s relevance as a world class, international city will be driven by our willingness to engage in the economic forces driving globalization," Villaraigosa said.

During the trip, the mayor said he secured $300 million in foreign investments in Los Angeles by Asia-based companies, launched the "SeeMyLA" campaign in 6,000 Japanese convenience stores, and opened a tourism office in Beijing, the first of its kind in China. The delegation also visited the site of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing in an effort to build support for Los Angeles' bid for the 2016 games.

The mayor met with government officials and the president of China Shipping, a container carrier that moves 49 percent of the goods imported through Los Angeles from China, to discuss cleaning up the Port of Los Angeles. "The response was overwhelming. China, Korea, Japan all understand that we all have to work together to clean up our environment and to address the challenges that come with a global economy, industrialization and the need for us to share technology," Villaraigosa said.

The mayor said he was impressed to see efficient public transit systems throughout Asia. "You go to Tokyo and every major venue is connected to public transit," Villaraigosa said.

"It reaffirmed to me that we need a Green Line to the airport, that we need a Crenshaw line, that we've got to invest in a subway to the sea. This focus on public transit is where the future of L.A. has to be, and it was great going to Asia to reaffirm that."

The trip also motivated the mayor to invest in architectural landmarks similar to the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. "When you travel, you go to great cities to see great architecture and L.A. has to recommit itself to great architecture," the mayor said. "We have got to start saying to our architects and to our developers, we've got to re-imagine what L.A. looks like."

The trade mission cost $500,000 in city funds, which covered travel expenses for Villaraigosa, six of his staff members, Zine, Weiss, Huizar and a number of other officials and security personnel.

Villaraigosa said he plans to go on other trade missions to Mexico, Latin America and Europe at some point during his administration. "We laid the foundation for future collaborations, economic development in L.A. with our trade and tourism partners, China, Japan and South Korea," Villaraigosa said. "We think that our mission established ties, strengthened relationships that will pay dividends for L.A. in the future."





^ The mayor's experience & reaction reminds me of a news show I saw some time ago about newly settled territories in Israel----Israel!!!----which live under the constant threat of bombing & terrorism, that look better than quite a few of the hoods here.

I know there was a tourist from India----yea, I'm talking about that silly woman who became quite insulted when I merely stated the simple reality that her native land is full of poverty & slums-----who visited LA & wrote on her blog last wk that she wasn't too impressed with it!

I remember speaking to a relative of mine who visited Asia several yrs ago & said that things like the new airports he saw in that part of the world made things like LAX here seem very outdated & even rundown.

Now more than ever before, this type of low, dumpy standard just doesn't cut it:

http://www.westcoastroads.com/california/images090/ca-091_wb_app_crenshaw.jpg

http://www.sakowskimotors.com/images/Mvc-051s.jpg

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e135/jreeves76/DSC00175.jpg

solongfullerton
Oct 24, 2006, 3:47 AM
I just went to China this summer, and not only are their airports nicer, they are all being expanded. China is currently in the economic state that the US was in during the New Deal. Tons of money is being invested into the country for everything, including cleaning it up, buildings, transportation and culture. The only difference between the current China and the US of the 40s and 50s, is that China's population is stagnant due to the birth laws that they have.

Anyways, I'm glad that Mayor V got to see China and the amount of growth and investmeng going on there (I even saw a Ferrari dealership in Beijing). I really hope that not only him, but his posse are able to bring even a small percentage of the amont of investment to LA as what is going in Beijing or Shanghai. I also wish the Bush Administration could send some Ambassadors to China to learn some things about investing in infrastructure.

BrighamYen
Oct 24, 2006, 3:48 AM
Villaraigosa is a man with vision and I think LA is so incredibly lucky to have a mayor like him at a time when most people living here have downsized their visions and ambitions for what used to be a great city. He is helping Angelenos feel proud once again to be here!

I am so glad to see that the mayor paid special attention to Asia's incredible public transit system. I'm sure he was just hurting when he saw Tokyo's subway system and wished LA had the same kind of extensive network. The subway to the sea is definitely the most important rail project LA needs and now the talk of the Green Line meeting up with Expo is wonderfully uplifting. It feels like LA, through the guidance of Villaraigosa's powerful influence, has really given our city a second chance at becoming great again.

In addition to his support of the subway, he also saw that great cities DO have interesting architecture. I think people in LA lost their interest in architecture when we lost our ambition to be a world-class city. It came down STRICTLY to cost-effectiveness. Who gives a shit about what a building looks like as long as profit yields are high enough? At least places like Beverly Hills, Pasadena, and some other areas remained little pockets of architectural creativity. Nothing really stood out, but the standard was still better than almost anything you saw in most places in LA County.

Anyway, LA sure loves Villaraigosa!

citywatch
Oct 24, 2006, 7:20 AM
he also saw that great cities DO have interesting architecture. I think people in LA lost their interest in architecture when we lost our ambition to be a world-class city.The only reason I wouldn't want to specify the word "architecture", interesting or otherwise, when talking about what ppl in the city should spend more time taking seriously, is that it sounds almost too technical or overly specialized.

A better approach or concept IMHO would revolve around the word "attractive", in that I think it really would be better if ppl like Mayor Villaraigosa drove & walked around the city & started saying, oh, hell, this hood looks like crap!! Oh, damn, this street is as fugly & depressing as hell! This town is too damn riggidy raggedy!!!! What the hell is wrong with us?! Come on, ppl, it's time we started making a bigger effort to really clean up & improve this city, to make it more attractive & less of an eyesore!!!



planningreport.com, June 2006

Villaraigosa Calls on AIA Architects To Help Transform Los Angeles

L.A.'s mayor visits the country's biggest annual congregation of architects to enlist support and talent for creating 'elegant density.'

From the beginning of his campaign for mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa has talked about his dream of a more livable, more attractive, more dynamic Los Angeles. But even he has admitted that this vision will not realize itself. This is why Mayor Villaraigosa addressed the general assembly of the American Institute of Architects’ convention, which was held this month in L.A. In the following excerpt of his welcoming speech, Mayor Villaraigosa articulates his comprehensive vision for Los Angeles’ built environment, and he implores the city’s countless architects and designers to join his campaign to transform L.A.

Welcome to Los Angeles. I understand that you all haven’t met here since 1994. What a year that was. We were picking ourselves back up after the riots in South Los Angeles and got rocked by the Northridge earthquake. Our urban fabric was torn asunder and in desperate need of repair. Twelve years later, you all can see that we’ve undergone tremendous evolution. I’d like to thank the convention organizers for bringing you all together, back here in Los Angeles, to witness our transformation.

We have some new iconic buildings: The Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angeles, and the CalTrans office building. Our City Hall has been refurbished, and Griffith Observatory will re-open this fall, having undergone years of renovations. And our downtown housing boom is hitting its stride and creating the impetus behind a new urban form here in Los Angeles. It is time for us to truly embrace this unprecedented opportunity to rethink—to re-envision—the way we live together and how we interact with one another . . . .



How we design and construct our environment matters, especially today, when we no longer have a wide-open stage on which to enact our vision. We have reached the outer boundaries of our sprawl and now must turn back, turn inward, building up and taking advantage of infill opportunities.

In designing for these much smaller venues, we must be mindful of who already lives, works, and shops next door and across the street. We must grow up in cooperation with our neighbors. And it is your chance – our chance – to draw from the community what they want from their neighborhood – what they love, what they miss, what it should look like, what it should feel like, how they want to move within it, how it could be better.

One of your esteemed colleagues, Brenda Levin—the architect behind both the City Hall and the Griffith Observatory renovations—has said it with much more eloquence: “we must see density as having a positive influence on the form of the city.” So as our stage becomes more compact and pushed up against existing neighbors, the work you all do cannot simply be a repetition of the past. This should not be seen as a restriction, but as a chance to create bold design for private space and new opportunities for public gathering—such as we do not typically see here in Los Angeles. You must purposefully enhance what exists here now to create a sense of place. This is what Jerry Brown calls “elegant density”: The collaboration of public and private space to create a livable community.

Another one of your colleagues, Bill Fain, talks about “the re-emergence of urban culture here and, with that, the promise for social interaction.” And that’s what we’re all talking about as well. We are in the midst of creating a new urban form—not only forced by the need to accommodate population growth but also encouraged by the desire to live in a community in which we feel at home, with a sense of belonging and a sense of place. We all—or, at least most of us—want a local grocery store, a coffee shop, a neighborhood restaurant—all within walking distance.

And this is the promise of elegant density: To walk beyond your front door, your driveway, your parking garage, to experience your neighborhood on your feet, and to become an integral part of its vibrancy. Every project we build must reflect this ideal – we must enhance how people live in, move through, and become part of their communities. We must take advantage of the fact that this is the most diverse city in the world and use that diversity to connect to one another, to create distinct neighborhoods with distinct flavors.



Thus, we have begun, and must continue, to design our neighborhoods for our residents, not their cars. Here in Los Angeles, our preeminent public connector is our street system. Our streets are what draw us from one neighborhood to the next. In the coming years you will see a world-class public transportation system as well. In the next four years, in addition to the Red, Blue, Gold Line, and Green Line which goes from Norwalk to LAX, or just outside of LAX – those of you who live in L.A. know that that’s a big joke on us – we’re building the Exposition Line, which will one day reach the ocean in Santa Monica. And there’s the Eastside Gold Line.

We’re looking at the opportunity to build a subway all the way to the ocean. We just opened a busway; we thought 6,000 people would use it, and now 16,000 are using it. You’re going to see this city finally come into the 21st century and understand that public transportation is the only way to connect us to one another like in other cities around the world.

At times we will traverse a dozen different neighborhoods just to reach our destination. And most of us still make that journey in our car – separate and apart from our fellow Angelenos. But we have to begin that new trek with public transportation, that new experience. Once people realize that it is faster and convenient and safer, they’ll use it.

These corridors present the single most inspiring opportunity to create an urban landscape in Los Angeles – one that provides welcoming public space for every resident. Space in which individuals want to live and experience, not simply drive through.

Designing this place dictates that we embrace innovation so that each community is pushed closer to its ideal. And this is complicated design, folks—I don’t need to tell you that. New construction anywhere in Los Angeles is not an easy venture because of many constrictive parameters here, like in many other cities across the nation.

Development here requires integration with the existing neighborhood fabric, cooperation with demanding residents who are oftentimes fearful of change, and working within the constraints of outmoded land use policies. Admittedly, those of us serving in the public sector are sometimes slow to embrace your imagination. And when we do, regulatory restrictions sometimes hinder our ability to advance your creativity. Adaptive reuse, small lot, artist-in-residence—all of these ordinances grew out of a collaboration between the design community and the public sector, to fill specific gaps between our lagging land use regulations and your steadfast commitment to innovation.

We must intensify this exchange of ideas as we face unprecedented population growth. I am looking to you—our design community—to be the confident voice for creativity, for how we accommodate this continuing growth into our built-out environment. It’s been said many times that L.A. has more great architects and designers and artists than any other place in the world. Yet, they don’t work in L.A. much. They go to other places. I’ve come today to say, come back home. And no matter where you may live, come to Los Angeles.

We Angelenos are going to accept this growth because we must. Our opportunity – and, quite frankly, our obligation - is that we experience it with grace and balance. The City Planning Commission – a body that I lead and onto which I appointed public members, including one of your own, Bill Roschen. He noted that in 1920 the planning commission believed, “Right from the start, we must understand that we are not the conservative branch of the city government, we are the ones who should ‘dream dreams and see visions’ – visions of the better city to be.” Though they were prescient, they certainly didn’t follow that dictum, but we will now.

So I challenge you all here today: Show us what is possible. Help us envision, design for us, and build with us the city of our dreams.

BrighamYen
Oct 24, 2006, 7:37 AM
^ What a wonderful man he is!

Quixote
Oct 25, 2006, 3:36 AM
AV has such a vision for Los Angeles and thankfully, it's the right one. He's encouraging an urban center, use of public transit, and a densely built-up environment. But I always wondered whether or not he had the intention of actually making it beautiful. Now, my concern has be addressed and I have absolute faith in AV. I trust his judgment and I feel comfortable leaving the future of the city in his hands. By elegant density, I hope he doesn't mean this:

http://static.flickr.com/88/246042740_4a294ee012.jpg?v=0

Maybe this?

http://static.flickr.com/91/246041688_88b11c7cee.jpg?v=0

But I love these new toilets they've installed at the subway stations. You can find these all over London and hopefully Los Angeles in the future. I was thinking maybe we could have these at the new Civic Park or Pershing Square. But I get the need for a restroom where multiple people can use the toilet at the same time.

http://static.flickr.com/10/16033928_236e2a88ce.jpg?v=0

bjornson
Oct 25, 2006, 4:27 AM
Amen, no more Savoys!

citywatch
Oct 25, 2006, 5:46 AM
As I was looking at these photos of SF (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showpost.php?p=2408744&postcount=1), & remembering a set of pics of that same city also posted at SSP a few months ago, I wanna say that if SF is so much more popular than LA is (& polls & comments from various ppl for yrs & yrs & yrs indicate it is), or is so much easier to like than this city is, then we in LA must be living in a really shitty city. I say that because although SF is nice & all, it's not sooooo nice that I can easily understand why a visitor's heart will quickly melt over it &, in turn, quickly become cold towards LA.

BTW, the set of photos of SF that I'm referring to from a few months ago showed several of the hoods of that city being surprisingly quiet, or really not much less free of pedestrians on the sidewalks than what is true of DTLA.

BrighamYen
Oct 25, 2006, 5:57 AM
^ Much of those pics of SF remind me of the Koreatown/Westlake area and some bits and pieces of Silver Lake.

I think we have figured out what exactly makes people like a city or not. You have to have most people congregate in a particular area that the city's most impressive infrastructure and possibly architecture is. The key is SHRINKING the area people go to and calling that whatever city it is.

Downtown Portland is kinda the definition of Portland, and Downtown Chicago IS Chicago. Downtown LA can BECOME LA if it's the fucking best place to be in the future! Then people will really just judge LA on our downtown (which is kinda what has happened already since people make fun of us for not having one). Then if Downtown LA of the future is as great as we dream it to be, then people will naturally change their definition of LA and judge us by that and not what's on Crenshaw.

Wright Concept
Oct 25, 2006, 3:19 PM
^ Much of those pics of SF remind me of the Koreatown/Westlake area and some bits and pieces of Silver Lake.

I think we have figured out what exactly makes people like a city or not. You have to have most people congregate in a particular area that the city's most impressive infrastructure and possibly architecture is. The key is SHRINKING the area people go to and calling that whatever city it is.

Downtown LA can BECOME LA if it's the fucking best place to be in the future! Then people will really just judge LA on our downtown (which is kinda what has happened already since people make fun of us for not having one). Then if Downtown LA of the future is as great as we dream it to be, then people will naturally change their definition of LA and judge us by that and not what's on Crenshaw.

Well if Crenshaw and many other local centers were taken care of, City Council are you listening, then this would really set LA on high marks for visitors and residents. Thankfully making improvements to Downtown is nice but it also needs to look at other regional centers within the City of LA, since LA is polycentric city.

Wright Concept
Oct 28, 2006, 5:15 PM
http://www.ladowntownnews.com/articles/2006/10/30/news/news01.prt
Is Downtown Ready for a Family Affair?

Area May Lack Amenities for Children, But Some Parents and Kids Are Choosing to Call the Community Home
by Kathleen Nye Flynn

On a recent Saturday, Dan Bernier and his two sons, Moe, 5, and Lewis, 8, rode their bikes to Nick's cafe on Spring Street for breakfast. After eating they cycled up and down the paths at the new park at the former Cornfield, and then pedaled to the Little Tokyo library to check out books.


David and Maritza Kennedy and their children Brisa, Max and Malcolm live in the Orpheum Lofts. Most of their activities, including shopping, happen within five minutes of their home. One of the few exceptions is David's job, which requires a commute to Corona. "That's the only thing that sucks," he said about Downtown living. Photo by Gary Leonard.
Eventually, they made their way back home. But what sets their Saturday morning sojourn apart is that the home they returned to is a loft in Chinatown. The Berniers managed the unique feat of having a weekend family excursion in the community where they live - Downtown Los Angeles.

The Berniers, completed by mom Ann, are one of a small but growing number of middle- and upper-middle class families who are choosing to live Downtown. Although no one pretends that Downtown has reached, or even come close to, a critical mass of families, building managers and early family pioneers say there are many more children in the community than just five years ago.

Their presence begs the question: Since Downtown has already mastered dog ownership with fervor, could the next step have the lofties pushing strollers instead of pulling leashes?

"All the residential development Downtown is proceeding in a logical way," said Carol Schatz, president of the City Central Association and the Downtown Center Business Improvement District. "First, we created housing that allowed people to live there, singles and couples who are mostly renting. Then, as markets began to take root, we saw the buildings convert to condominiums... and then, as you begin to build more of a population, we find that some of these couples are having babies."

Families living in Downtown is not a new concept. Low-income workers, many of them immigrants who find jobs in the Fashion District, have called Downtown home for decades. Their children attend schools such as Ninth Street Elementary and Berendo Middle School, as well as Castelar Elementary School in Chinatown, which serves many Asian immigrants.


"The truth is that there are hundreds of families, good families, already in Downtown, but they are poor and can't afford the high-priced condos," said Jacki Breger, principal of CityLife Downtown Charter School, where the students are predominantly Latinos who live in the immediate area.

What's different now is that Downtown is attracting families with higher incomes who can afford the upscale condos or lofts. They are moving into the new buildings in the Historic Core or South Park or are joining the arts community. That population, however, still remains relatively small.

A study that the CCA conducted in 2005 showed that 56.8% of the residents living in buildings that have opened since 2000 are single and most do not have young children (there are no current statistics available on the number of families or children living in Downtown, although the next CCA study on the new population in the area will come out early next year).

The childless demographic is not surprising. Downtown, with its concrete canyons and issues of homelessness, does not immediately seem kid-friendly. Indeed, the new, high-end lofts are not marketed for families; the units generally sell to young professionals and empty nesters looking to cut down on the rush-hour commute.




Then there's the laundry list of family amenities Downtown doesn't seem to have: doctors, baby-sitters, playmates, parks and places to buy diapers (see sidebar p. 21). In a neighborhood where even hip 30-somethings hesitate before plunking down a deposit it is hard to imagine a well-off, overprotective parent taking the plunge.

If, however, the new wave of Downtowners follow that seemingly natural progression - first comes loft, then comes dog, then comes baby - they will follow a few family pioneers.



The Artist's Child


At 14 years old, Marlene Muller only knows urban living. Raised in a loft at Fourth and San Pedro streets, she has seen the city in its rawest state: Her building is near the heart of Skid Row.

"Sometimes, it can get on your nerves a bit. You can't walk outside like you normally do and you always have to be under supervision. You are very limited on what there is to do here," said Marlene during a visit to Banquette, her favorite local cafe. "But, you get used to it."

Marlene, a pretty teen with a braces-lined smile, said she doesn't know other kids her age in the area, but her friends come Downtown to go bargain hunting in the Fashion District and ride her building's old-fashioned freight elevator. ("They are hooked on it," she said.) Her room is carved out of an open-floor loft.

She attended nearby 32nd Street School and took dance classes at the Colburn School on Grand Avenue (she wants to be a dancer, or, maybe, a zoologist). She remembers going to Olvera Street to buy frilly dresses, and says that one particular homeless person has been waving to her ever since she can remember.

Marlene's mom, Lilli Muller, a well-known sculptor, came Downtown in 1992 from Orange County to be part of the art scene. She said that the neighborhood is a tight-knit community of artists and single parents.

"What I like about it here is that the kids get used to all this cultural diversity, as opposed to Orange County, where it is all suburban and white bread-like," said Muller.

Even so, the Mullers' routine doesn't seem too unlike life in the suburbs. The mother and daughter drive almost everywhere; Marlene attends Hollywood High and goes on casting calls for modeling gigs.

But Marlene says her urban surroundings have given her constant exposure to different lifestyles.

"You see so much diversity here that it helps with knowing what you want to do with your life, with what your objective is," she said.

Jessica Shokrian, a photographer and single mother who lives above Groundwork Café in the Arts District with her 12-year-old son, Hunter, also came to Downtown to join the art scene and escape suburban monotony.

"It's awesome watching your child grow up in these conditions," Shokrian said. "It's making them interesting, strong, smart and streetwise. I grew up in Beverly Hills and it's like, whatever, fine. But I wanted to try something different with Hunter."

Of course, the big concern for any family living in Downtown is safety, especially as older children test their independence by venturing out on their own. With the city's streets full of traffic and the problems that follow from so many homeless people, it doesn't seem like a place where kids can roam freely.

One father, who asked not to be named, worried about his 12-year-old son who lives part-time with him in the Fashion District. He noted that Downtown is a different environment than South Pasadena, where the boy's mother lives and where he attends school.

"In South Pasadena, he can walk around by himself, go to a cafe after school, go to a comic book store and nothing will happen to him," the father said. "I don't think I would send him to a corner store for a carton of milk here.

"It's a tough place for children and even our building itself, the type of people who come down here don't lead child-friendly lifestyles. People will be partying at two or three in the morning and run up and down the hallway."


New Wave Families


Many of the new families settling in Downtown could afford homes in other parts of the city. They're making a purposeful decision to raise their children in an urban environment.

The Berniers, the family residing in Chinatown, had been living in an Eagle Rock home that featured a big yard and pool. But after a trip to Rome several years ago, Dan and Ann Bernier, who both work in real estate, came back with the urge for city living. They packed up the kids and started their Downtown experience in an apartment at the Grand Towers on Bunker Hill.

"One of the most fun things to do over there was to go to dinner at the Bonaventure and never have to touch the city streets," Bernier said, describing the network of plazas and pedestrian overpasses that cover the hill and - though they have been criticized for reducing street life - make for perfect child-friendly zones.

When a unit in Chinatown came on the market, they jumped at the chance to buy and become permanent Downtown residents.

"There's so much to do in Downtown, there really is," Bernier said. "Going for a walk, going to the playground, the library - that's all blocks from us."

David Kennedy and his wife Maritza had the same idea. Kennedy moved into the Grand Central Lofts after living in Brentwood. After they had their first child, Brisa, they moved to a larger unit in the Orpheum Lofts on Broadway. Now, three years later, they also have twin seven-month-old boys, Max and Malcom.

"For us, more than anything, the adjustment to life had more to do with that we were married and had kids now, not that we were having kids in Downtown," David Kennedy said.

Brisa goes to daycare at nearby Union Station and their family pediatrician is in Little Tokyo. Maritza, who doesn't drive, takes the Metro when necessary. She walks around with the kids throughout the day and said she feels safe going to the gym or Grand Central Market. Eventually, David said, the children will attend private or Catholic school.

In fact, much of what the Kennedys do is within a five-minute radius of their home, except for David's job as a computer programmer, which is in Corona. "That's the only thing that sucks," he said.


Baby on Board, and Staying


"I can remember when I first got here a young couple would move out as soon as they got pregnant, but that's not so much the case anymore," said Aaron Bazile, a property manager at Grand Tower Apartments on Bunker Hill. The building currently has about five families living there.

Sandra Zane and her husband Damon Summers are about to join the ranks of the Downtown families. Zane is pregnant with their first child.

The couple has wrestled with the choice between living in Downtown versus heading to a neighborhood with reliably good schools and a grocery store with a familiar name. They bought a unit in the Toy Factory Lofts more than a year ago. They had just left New York and wanted a metropolitan lifestyle, and after considering homes in Mt. Washington and Echo Park, they found the Downtown loft scene more affordable.

"We figured that we would be in here for a few years and if all went well we would be starting a family here," said Zane.

Now the couple is converting their loft into a child-friendly residence. Zane said that the amenities in the building, such as the common areas and rooftop patios, make the place accessible for families.

But Zane does hint at the dilemmas she faces: How does one divide a loft into the right amount of public and personal space? Does she find a pediatrician on the Westside? And, when the child is old enough, what about schools?

"In a few years, what do we do?" Zane wondered. "Are we going to grow out of it?"


Downtown Growing Up


The issue of schools in the urban core is probably the most frequently cited matter Downtown parents raise. For some, driving to a private school that is miles away is the answer.

But those living in the area who want to utilize the public school system, or who can't afford private schools, face more challenges.

The LAUSD is opening four new public high schools in and around Downtown, including the arts-oriented academy at First Street and Grand Avenue. The site of the former Ambassador Hotel, at 3400 Wilshire Blvd., will offer three schools serving kindergarten through 12th-grade students. The Downtown Center Business Improvement District is working on a project to recruit private schools of all grades, said Schatz.

"The main catalyst for people moving down here is the educational system," said Yuval Bar-Zemer, a partner in Linear City, the firm that developed the Industrial District's Toy Factory Lofts. "By the time the babies are ready for school, if there is no decent place to go here then they will have to move. On the contrary, if they open one or two decent schools in Downtown then it would be like a magnet. The LAUSD keeps opening high schools, but we need a decent elementary school."

Bar-Zemer, a Downtown family man himself, should know. When the Toy Factory Lofts opened, he moved in from Santa Monica with his wife and teenage daughters, who attend a private school in Hancock Park. After watching some of his residents have babies, then seeing entire families buy in his buildings, he is planning to add a daycare center in Linear City's third project, the Mill Street Lofts.

After living in the neighborhood for more than two years, Bar-Zemer calls his family some of the "first pioneers of Downtown" of their sort, and said his daughters Mirian and Yasmin have acclimated well to Downtown life.

"I still argue with my wife about if they can go around on their own or not," he admits. "But I think the environment around here may look more threatening than it is. I think there are more crazy people on the Westside than here."

Family Secrets
What to Do With Junior in Downtown

Child-friendly places in Downtown Los Angeles are hard to find. But families who live in the area have sniffed out the nooks and crannies, from the pocket parks to museums with family workshop days. Here are some of the ways that Downtown moms and dads entertain the kids and find necessities.

Outdoor Recreation: The hardest-to-find but most-wanted commodity for Downtowners with children is green space. That's why many parents are heading to the new Los Angeles State Historic Park (on the land formerly known as the Cornfield), which has wide, smooth paths, 12 acres of grass and easy parking. "There's not a tree there for anybody to hide behind," said Dan Bernier, whose sons Moe and Lewis ride bikes there. Another option, Grand Hope Park at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising between Ninth, Olympic, Hope and Grand, sits on two and a half acres and has a playground and a fountain. Full of art installations including life-size bronze coyotes, hawks and snakes, the park has plenty to keep the kids entertained. Elsewhere, there are various pocket parks perfect for strolling, including some hidden inside Downtown buildings. There is a garden on the roof of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, a Zen garden in the New Otani Hotel & Garden and an open plaza at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Kids can also enjoy the playful, accessible fountains on the Music Center Plaza and at the California Plaza Watercourt.

Family Entertainment: Catch free music at the Walt Disney Concert Hall's outdoor children's theater, or spend a day strolling the exhibits at the California Science Center, the Natural History Museum or the California African American Museum in Exposition Park. While there, meander around the Rose Garden or visit the giant dinosaur statues. The Central Library offers an elaborate children's room with various activities, and frequently programs events for children and families. The Museum of Contemporary Art on Bunker Hill and the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo offer child-friendly amenities as well as family days with hands-on art projects. Olvera Street and the plazas in Little Tokyo and Chinatown are closed to traffic and have family-style restaurants and toys for kids. Speaking of toys, the Toy District, east of Main Street, has tons of (inexpensive) goodies for children to look at, although the street life can be dicey.

Picking up Odds and Ends: Although Downtown lacks a Trader Joes and the new Ralphs won't open until the middle of next year, families have found hidden markets good for grocery trips or just picking up a carton of milk. Little Tokyo has a full-service grocery store called Mitsuwa on Alameda Street. Bunker Hill families get the basics at the Bunker Hill Market. Grand Central Market has a wide selection of produce and ready-made foods, as do the farmers markets in front of the Central Library (on Wednesdays) and at the 7+Fig mall (every Thursday). Meanwhile, parents with small kids say the Big Lots store at Seventh and Hill streets has the best deal on diapers.

Contact Kathleen Nye Flynn at kathleen@downtownnews.com.

page 1, 10/30/2006

LA21st
Oct 28, 2006, 7:28 PM
^ Much of those pics of SF remind me of the Koreatown/Westlake area and some bits and pieces of Silver Lake.

I think we have figured out what exactly makes people like a city or not. You have to have most people congregate in a particular area that the city's most impressive infrastructure and possibly architecture is. The key is SHRINKING the area people go to and calling that whatever city it is.

Downtown Portland is kinda the definition of Portland, and Downtown Chicago IS Chicago. Downtown LA can BECOME LA if it's the fucking best place to be in the future! Then people will really just judge LA on our downtown (which is kinda what has happened already since people make fun of us for not having one). Then if Downtown LA of the future is as great as we dream it to be, then people will naturally change their definition of LA and judge us by that and not what's on Crenshaw.


I agree, but I think visitors look at Chicago has more than downtown. Wicker Park, Lakeview, Wrigleyville, Lincoln Park draw just as many raves as downtown does. Chicago to most people is the "Lakefront", not just downtown. I see what you mean though, by "shrinking the city" into a specific concentration of attractions etc.

Its the same as Manhattan with NYC, or Downtown DC being "DC". Most people I know here in Chicago who have visited DC cant believe how much poverty and grit is so close to the Capitol. The city isnt really impressive to them.

edluva
Oct 28, 2006, 9:22 PM
^Yeah, Chicago's "downtown" is much more central - it's home to the vast majority of the metro's retail and instutional nexuses. Michigan Ave is their Rodeo/Bev Center/La Brea/Melrose (sorta) rolled into one, and it runs right through downtown. The AIC, UoC, and virtually all of Chicagolands major landmarks are in or around downtown. All within walking distance or el. And even counting the entire lakefront, it's still a very simple geography to navigate. It's linear. It may be an oversimplification, but compared to LA, Chicago is essentially a North-South city, especailly considering the only neighborhood you listed that is not on this general axis is wicker park.

DTLA will never be as central to its metro, relatively speaking, as this. LA's points of interest are too disparate to group into a conceptualizable locale. Where are our flagships? Getty in Mailbu and the 405, LACMA in mid-city, UCLA in westwood, The Huntington and Norton Simon in Pasadena, shopping in Bev Hills/Melrose/SaMo/La Brea depending on what you're looking for, and our Times Sq (Hollywood) is in, well, Hollywood. If anything, we should aspire toward London with its emphasis on The City, and its lesser nodes tied together by rail. Like London, LA's points of interest sprawl across an expansive carpet of mid-density built-env't. Though Central London is still much more concentrated than the DTLA area will ever be (in terms of landmarks)

LA21st
Oct 28, 2006, 10:05 PM
Yea, Chicago city limits border the lake for a good 20-25 miles or so but it doesnt go far inland (except for OHARE).

I agree for the most part. I do think the subway down Wilshire is critical. It will create that spine Chicago enjoys. You can bounce on and off the red line in Chicago and visit all kinds of different neighborhoods for a good 10-12 miles.
I can see this happening with Wilshire. The neighborhoods are there to visit.
Koreatown, Mid-Wilshire, Westwood, BH, C.C, etc. If you can connect LA's myriad business districts by rail, you will hear tourists/visitors constantly rave about the place. Not to mention quality of life issues for residents. That is the key.

Chicago's lakefront is served by all kinds of mass transit, its easy for visitors to get around, hence they probably enjoy the city more than one that is difficult. Personally, that is true for me.

citywatch
Oct 29, 2006, 11:13 AM
OK, this article is about OC, not LA per se. But if too many of LA's hoods can't attact the kind of ppl described in the story, or even worse, repels far too many of them, then the city is gonna end up not much better than this (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/46/1973_Delhi_Slum.jpg/800px-1973_Delhi_Slum.jpg).


U.S. Asians Drawn to Life in Irvine

Good schools, low crime rates, well-paying jobs lure many, especially Chinese Americans.

By David Kelly, Times Staff Writer
October 29, 2006

In the world of highly manicured Orange County communities, few are polished to the luster of Irvine. The master-planned, upscale city of cookie-cutter homes and broad boulevards looks every inch the stereotype of suburban living — orderly, safe and homogenous. Yet just beneath the surface lies another Irvine, one of Buddhist temples and teahouses, a city with bustling Chinese markets and a university where nearly half the students are Asian.

Once the epitome of conservative, white suburbia, Irvine is now a place where a person can spend a lifetime never having to speak English.

"I used to think I would retire someday and move to Chinatown," said Yvonne Wang, who moved to Irvine from New Jersey in 1994. "Now Irvine is like Chinatown."

Attracted by good schools, low crime and well-paying jobs, Irvine has become a destination for Asian American professionals, especially Chinese Americans. It's home to one of the country's biggest Chinese language schools, the largest Buddhist temple and monastery in Orange County, a Chinese orchestra and clubs for artists, students and senior citizens. More Chinese Americans live in Irvine than any other city in the county. "A lot came in the last decade. The education system has clearly been a magnet; people don't end up living here by accident," said Irvine Mayor Beth Krom. "We are a Pacific Rim community, so it's natural to see more Asian people."

According to U.S. census estimates, 36.7% of Irvine's 185,000 residents are Asian American. Of that, 21,757 are Chinese, up from 14,973 in 2000. Koreans, Vietnamese and Japanese constitute most of the remaining Asian Americans. Irvine schools, where classrooms are often heavily Chinese American, have become among the most competitive in the region. "I have heard parents say they don't want to send their kids here because they aren't high achievers," said Jung Kang, who teaches Chinese at University High School. "The students are very competitive, but that is an incentive for others to do better."

Yet despite the heavy influx of Chinese, there is no Chinatown or strictly Chinese neighborhoods. Such enclaves are more often found in lower-income immigrant areas, places that don't exist in Irvine. New arrivals here tend to be doctors, lawyers, engineers and academics with the language skills and money that many traditional immigrants don't have. And they are catered to in typical Orange County fashion, with neatly kept shopping centers and strip malls. The largest is Culver Plaza, home to Chinese banks, restaurants, tea shops and the sprawling 99 Ranch Market, which carries pickled lettuce, quail eggs, live catfish and moon cakes. For culture, Chinese plays and operas are performed at the Irvine Barclay Theater.

Nancy Cheng, 75, a teacher and nurse, came to Irvine from Villa Park because she was constantly attending Chinese functions here. "I never spoke so much Chinese in my life until I moved to Irvine," she said.

The rapid transformation of the town from a predominantly white enclave to an increasingly Asian one can startle even the Chinese Americans. "I came from San Bernardino, where I was the only Chinese girl in my school," said Belinda Vong, a member of UC Irvine's Chinese Assn. "I felt special. Not anymore."

Kevin Lee is president of the association. He said UCI, which is 40% Asian, is often referred to as University of Chinese Immigrants. "When you leave Irvine, it hits you that this is really a bubble," he said. "A lot of Asians here take their culture for granted."

Not those who came first. They remember when there were only a handful of Chinese Americans, when there were no clubs, when buying ingredients for dinner meant driving to Los Angeles and the idea of staging a Chinese opera was simply unthinkable.

"Ten years ago there was not one Chinese store. When I first came there were a few, mostly Taiwanese, residents. China had not opened up yet," said Jimmy Ma, a leader in the Chinese American community. "The big reason people came was because of the schools. Chinese stress education. That's how we compete." Ma and others rented high school classrooms for a Chinese language school. When the rent was raised, they decided to build their own facility. After years of planning, the $12-million, 44,000-square-foot South Coast Chinese Cultural Center opened in April.

The center's Chinese school now has more than 1,000 students. It also offers Japanese and Korean language classes, along with Chinese dance, art, basketball and badminton courts. Students can also get academic tutoring and SAT preparation. "We want our children to combine the good part of both cultures — Chinese and American," said Joy Chao, who runs after-school programs at the center.

The school system has had to adapt to Asian immigrants. They have hired Chinese, Korean and Japanese-speaking staff. They hold regular meetings with parents to explain how the schools operate. Often, educators say, parents are keenly interested in what sort of academic performance is required to get their students into Harvard, Yale or Stanford.

"People talk about culture and they focus on the exterior, superficial things like food and festivals, but it's really about a person's worldview," said Melodee Zamudio, who coordinates language programs for the Irvine school district. "Many of these kids come from a culture where education is such a precious gift, and you bring honor to the family by studying hard."

At University High, 41% of the students are Asian American, the vast majority Chinese Americans, said assistant principal Chuck Keith. The Academic Performance Index is 891, putting it among the top 2% in the state. "I think the Asian family is a factor in that score," Keith said. "I think it is part of the culture of our school and I see kids rise to meet those expectations."

Asian American students admit there is pressure to perform academically, though some say it's easier here than where they came from. "My parents are very serious about school. They don't push extracurricular activities," said Charles Jawa, 16. "If I want to do it, fine, but studying comes first."

Jacob Chen, 11, moved from Taiwan three years ago. "It's much better here than Taiwan," he said. "In Taiwan they give you four times as much homework."

Some Chinese Americans privately complain that other parents ask them what grades their children get or what college they will attend. Others send their children to schools with fewer Chinese students, hoping it will be less competitive. Many struggle for a balance. "It's an extremely competitive place even at the preschool level," said Isabel Mah, 39, as she waited for her 5-year-old son to finish Chinese class at the Chinese cultural center. "I want my kid to be a kid but I want him to do well in school."

As Chinese influence grows, local political leaders are learning that international disputes can now erupt at home. That's what happened in June when Mayor Krom went to China to establish a sister city arrangement with Xuhui, a region of Shanghai. She said a city staffer signed the agreement before she saw it. The deal required Irvine to recognize the One China Policy — meaning China and Taiwan were one, not two, countries. It also demanded that Irvine officials not travel to Taiwan where they have a sister-city relationship with Taoyuan.

Shortly after, nearly 200 protesters, originally from Taiwan, showed up at a City Council meeting, angry at what they saw as Irvine's kowtowing to China. The council quickly rescinded the sister-city deal and said it would renegotiate another only if it was strictly nonpolitical. "Regardless of what was signed, we don't take our marching orders from other countries," Krom said.

Taiwanese and mainland Chinese residents of Irvine insist there is no tension between them. "We treat the Taiwan-China debate like religion — you don't talk about it," said Rose Cheung.

Her friend Susie Chu said, "It's a fact, there are differences between the two."

Chu and Cheung belong to the Irvine Evergreen Chinese Senior Assn., a group of about 400 senior citizens engaged in a wide array of cultural activities. "My mom is 86 and never thought she could live in a place like Irvine and not have to speak English," Chu said.

Despite their growing numbers, the Chinese Americans worry how they are perceived by the community. "I think we have set a good example," said Yvonne Wang, 70, president of the Evergreen association. "We have been very constructive to society here." Cheung nodded.

"We still have our individuality," she said. "But collectively we are very conscious about how we present ourselves."

Across town, along a busy street of low-slung warehouses, the sloping red roof of the Pao Fa Temple rises. Guarded by stone dragons at the door, it is calm and quiet inside. Incense burns. Buddhist nuns with shaved heads and brown robes chant sutras in the Great Hall, where 3,000 golden Buddhas stare down on them. The $5-million temple, one of the biggest in the nation, opened in 2002. Irvine was selected, according to a nun, because the abbot received a sign during meditation to put it here. After a recent service, a collection of worshipers — men on one side, women on the other — silently ate in the spartan cafeteria.

When she finished, Ying Chow, 62, stepped into the library. She revels in time spent at the temple, remembering when she had to drive to Hacienda Heights to attend services. "Most of my friends are in Irvine now. It has become a real community for the Chinese. But it's still surprising to see this temple here," she said, folding her hands and smiling. "Orange County has really changed. I feel good about it, I feel very special."

bjornson
Oct 29, 2006, 5:26 PM
Oh, that Irvine. It just never stops!

BrighamYen
Oct 30, 2006, 6:34 AM
^ I always make fun of my Asian American friends who live in Irvine! haha

bjornson
Oct 30, 2006, 6:51 AM
Hahah, that's a good thing! I don't know any, but if I did I would, too! I'm Asian by the way.

citywatch
Oct 31, 2006, 5:24 AM
This story from the LADN generally covers the same ground that other articles posted here have been about regarding the mayor's trip to Asia. However, some of the quotes in it I haven't seen before, & they're even more specific than previous ones.

What Villaraigosa has done by visiting other cities & then returning home & saying, in so many words, damn, we've been sitting on our asses & the world has passed us by, has long been needed.

I really think if more ppl here had been like the mayor a long time ago & for a greater length of time, LA wouldn't be similar to (& using this analogy again) a person going to a big job interview with a pretty good resume in his briefcase, but who's dressed like (& smells like) a homeless guy at 5th & Main St.



Mayor Declares Mission a Success

Villaraigosa says he finalized $300 million in investments in L.A.

BY RICK ORLOV, Staff Writer
10/23/2006

Declaring his 14-day Asian trade mission a success, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Monday that he'd planted seeds for Los Angeles' economic growth in other countries while learning about the competition the city faces in the future. At a City Hall news conference, Villaraigosa said he returned with a renewed commitment to invest in the infrastructure of Los Angeles.

"Folks, I tell you that if we are going to compete in the future, we need to make the investments in our ports and airport, in our transportation system, in our buildings. We have to make this a priority.

"You look at what some of these cities have done. With subways and a maglev system and bullet trains that are 40 years old and they're still way ahead of us. We need to make that commitment to invest in ourselves."

The $500,000 trip to China, Korea and Japan was Villaraigosa's first extended tourist and trade trip. He said he hopes to take similar trips to Mexico, Latin America and Europe. "We have to get our message out," Villaraigosa said. "We are the second-largest city in the United States, have the busiest ports and the No. 1 destination airport for foreign travelers."

On the trip, Villaraigosa said, he finalized agreements for more than than $300 million in foreign investment in Los Angeles, visited the city's tourist office in Beijing and expanded the "See My L.A." promotional campaign. "We laid the foundation for future collaboration and economic development between L.A. and our trade and tourism partners. Our mission established and strengthened relationships that will pay lasting dividends.

Gary Toebben, president of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, one of 50 business leaders on the trip, said it was an important mission on a variety of fronts. "We visited both our partners of the future and our competitors of the future," Toebben said. "You can't build a world-class city without seeing what other cities are doing."

David Fleming, incoming chairman of the chamber, said the trip also provided a vision for future decisions that are needed locally. "We couldn't have picked a better place to visit at a better time," Fleming said. "It is part of what Los Angeles has to do in the future. What they have done there in the last 10 years is amazing and we have a long way to go to catch up."

Villaraigosa said he came away impressed with the architecture of the Asian cities and the need to instill a sense of the style of Los Angeles. "We have 77 new buildings going up and there is no reason we can't incorporate artistic designs in them," Villaraigosa said. "The `See My L.A.' campaign features the Disney Hall because of its unique design. We should do that in all our buildings to make them stand out."

Councilman Dennis Zine, who accompanied the mayor, saw that the city needs to operate more efficiently - from its airports to its public transportation system. "They are way ahead of us," Zine said. "We have a long way to go to catch up to make sure we have public transit available at every large location in the city so we can move people and goods around."

Also on the trip were officials from L.A. Film, which oversees location shooting in the city. Agency President Steve MacDonald said he met with the executives of several top Japanese advertising agencies to discuss a drop-off in commercial shooting in Los Angeles. "Part of it was the impact of Sept. 11 on the world, but we also have a lot more competition from other American cities," MacDonald said. "We were able to tell them what we offer and try to get them to come back to Los Angeles to film."

bjornson
Oct 31, 2006, 7:01 AM
To every glitzy side of a story, there's a dirty side. This is so sad. This could have been prevented or even less than what it is. Hopefully the area will not start losing population and the LAPD does something quick!!!! Sorry, I went bold crazy.

Anxiety builds as crime increases in Koreatown
Some residents won't go out after dark in the trendy area. Others fear South Korean investors will be turned off.
By K. Connie Kang and Andrew Blankstein, Times Staff Writers
9:08 PM PST, October 30, 2006

H.J. Huh arrived in Koreatown a decade ago, as the district was struggling to recover from the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

The nurse from South Korea has seen the area blossom with fancy restaurants, luxury health spas and high-end condos.

But Huh says she has never felt less safe.

First, a rapist stalked the neighborhood, attacking more than a dozen women. That was followed by several robberies and shootings.

Now, she tries to stay in her apartment at night, even avoiding a quick trip to the nearby Korean supermarket. When a stranger enters her apartment elevator, she gets off at a different floor to make sure she is not followed home.

"I am afraid to go out — even to a market at night," she said. "Koreatown is one of the densest areas in the city, but you hardly see patrol cars."[/b]

To the casual eye, Koreatown is thriving — with luxury condominiums and extravagant nightclubs rising from the destruction of the riots. During his Asian trade mission earlier this month, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced $300 million in South Korean investment in Koreatown, including a Korean Trade and Cultural Center, new offices for the South Korean Consulate and a Korean American Museum.

But behind the glitz, anxiety is building.

A series of high-profile slayings in the community over the last year — including the shooting deaths of three people at a Koreatown restaurant earlier this month — have heightened concerns about crime.

Los Angeles Police Department statistics underscore the perception, showing a 40% jump in homicides (from 15 to 21) and 11% increase in robberies (from 557 to 620) in Koreatown so far this year. Rapes in the district are up 47% — from 30 to 44.

In response, the Korean American Federation next month will begin citizen security patrols on weekend nights, using a patrol car purchased by the community organization. Additionally, some Korean churches and senior groups are urging first-generation immigrants, accustomed to transacting business in cash back home, to carry minimal cash so they will be less of a target for robbers.

The fear, said Gab Jea Cho, a federation board member in charge of the community security project, is that the crime issue could make Koreatown a less attractive place for South Koreans to invest in and visit. A good amount of the area's growth is being financed through investments by wealthy South Koreans, who also have made Koreatown a major tourist draw.

Visitors from South Korea are the best customers at exclusive stores, snatching up designer mink coats, watches, jewelry and leather goods before heading for the airport to return home.

"Tourists from South Korea will stop coming if they keep hearing about crime in Koreatown," said Chris Moon Key Nam, a realtor who recently was elected president of the federation.

Among some Korean Americans, concerns about crime are already changing behavior.

I don't go to Koreatown when the sun goes down," said Suky Lee, a real estate agent with Nelson Shelton & Associates in Beverly Hills. "I don't feel comfortable."



Police and community leaders are quick to point out that while violent crime is up in Koreatown this year, overall crime is down compared with the mid-1990s, as it is in the rest of Los Angeles. Assaults declined from 410 incidents last year to 340 so far this year.

But the perception of crime has become a central issue in Koreatown — fueled by several violent incidents that have generated much coverage in both the Korean-language and mainstream news media.

The community also has been shaken by several gang-related killings, including a multiple shooting that left one man wounded and another dead inside a 6th Street cafe, and the fatal stabbing of a young father in the parking lot of trendy Chapman Plaza on 6th Street.

Koreatown is bounded on the east and west by Vermont and Western avenues and on the north and south by Beverly and Olympic boulevards.

It is a world where wealth and poverty live side by side — and closer than in other parts of L.A.Wilshire Boulevard and 6th Street have become Koreatown's main commercial cores, boasting Korean banks, night spots, restaurants and beauty treatment establishments near longtime city landmarks, such as the Wiltern Theater and Wilshire Boulevard Temple.

But other parts of Koreatown remain mired in gang problems and blight.

While wealthy Koreans have come to the district to invest, the area has also seen an influx of poorer immigrants from Asia — including ethnic Koreans from China, who tend to work in restaurant kitchens and do menial labor for low wages. Many live in run-down boarding houses.

[/b]Farther east or south, the neighborhood becomes predominantly Latino, with some areas marked by gang activities and drug dealing.[/b]

Some believe this mix of conspicuous wealth and poverty contributes to crime.

In some churches and in the Korean-language news media, community leaders say Koreans may be drawing attention to themselves by driving luxury cars and wearing expensive clothes.

"Koreans like designer labels and expensive things," said Korean American dentist Jimmy Choi. "They become easy targets."

Choi, who has practiced in Koreatown for more than 30 years, says Korean cultural emphasis on dressing well and looking one's best is not going to quickly disappear.

"I hear on TV, 'Don't wear expensive clothing. Don't wear jewelry,' " said nurse Huh. "But in our culture, dressing well is so important."

After all, Koreans come from a 5,000-year-old culture, where an old proverb says, "Clothes are wings."



In some ways Koreatown may unwittingly be a victim of its own economic success.

LAPD Officer Jason Lee, a 20-year department veteran who grew up in Koreatown, said that many eateries and bars stay open into the early morning hours, and while that is good for business it has the potential to attract the wrong element.

"When there's alcohol being consumed late into the night, it can be a combustible combination," he said.

But relations with police have been strained.

Many longtime Korean American residents say LAPD statistics don't accurately reflect what is going on because so many crime victims don't go to authorities, fearing it will do no good.

Lee says he is aware of such criticism but believes that the community shares responsibility for not reporting crimes.

[collor=red]"There are several factors that play into that, including the language barrier, the large number of undocumented Korean immigrants, fear of retaliation and the sense that dealing with the justice system keeps them away from their businesses, which are crucial to their income," Lee said. "But from the department's point of view, we don't know whether the crimes are occurring or not."[/color]

Officials hope the situation will improve when the LAPD opens a police station in 2008 on Vermont Avenue in the heart of Koreatown.

Charles J. Kim, national president of the Korean American Coalition, a community group, says the authorities' inability to catch criminals is a main reason why many victims do not report crimes. When his Koreatown offices were burglarized, "It took police three days to come after I called," he said.

Crime victims "don't want to be bothered with it because they think police don't do anything," said Kim, who has worked in Koreatown for more than 20 years. "So, they chalk it off as a costly lesson, say, let's just forget it, learn from it and move on."

On Oct. 20, family and friends gathered for the funeral of Jae Woong Cho, one of the victims of the triple slaying at a Koreatown restaurant earlier this month. He was the father of three. Police say Cho, a church deacon who managed the eatery, was killed while trying to stop a fight between a waitress and the gunman. Cho's mother, Young Cho, sobbed through the service.

Then, addressing her son, who lay in a casket adorned with red roses, she wailed: "Where have you gone? Where have you gone — leaving these beautiful children of yours behind?"

BrighamYen
Oct 31, 2006, 7:19 AM
^ Why do gangs arise (where you have wealthy Asian gangs and poor Latino gangs)? So it's not exactly just to do with economics.

And how do you ameliorate the problem? Why do gangs seem to stay away from certain areas and plague others? Why is Old Town Pasadena much safer than Koreatown when there is also a very dangerous and poor area in Pasadena?

bjornson
Oct 31, 2006, 7:24 AM
That is the enigma of K-town.

Wright Concept
Nov 6, 2006, 11:11 PM
http://www.ladowntownnews.com/articles/2006/11/06/news/news_briefs/at04.txt

LA Downtown News, Nov 6

Council to Study Trash


With large amounts of trash continuing to accumulate in the Skid Row area, the City Attorney's office has proposed that the city strengthen guidelines around refuse pick-up. At the Oct. 31 City Council meeting, First District Councilman Ed Reyes requested a motion to devise a study that would monitor how trash service is divided around the city, and to establish new refuse-removal patterns that would be based on population and need instead of geography. The issue is particularly significant in areas such as the Toy District, where many business owners are known to toss garbage into the street in front of their stores and wait for the city to clean it up. Ninth District Councilwoman Jan Perry supports the motion, which includes a bulky item issue to address large pieces of trash such as furniture and mattresses.

colemonkee
Nov 6, 2006, 11:59 PM
There should be heavy fines for those who dump trash on the sidewalks.

Great headline for that story, btw. I expected to see an accompanying picture with Garcetti and Weiss rummaging through a trash can. :haha:

Wright Concept
Nov 7, 2006, 12:02 AM
But the key thing is that the City is looking into this problem.

A second phase would be to add additional street trash cans along commerical corridors instead of one small one for a couple of blocks.

WesTheAngelino
Nov 7, 2006, 12:36 AM
AWESOME

Wierd, I just started bitching about this a week ago.

Seriously, for all you people on here who denegrate residents of certain neighborhoods for "keeping it dirty" your real ire needs to be directed at the City for not providing equal levels of service to poor areas of the city.

Main and Washington is dirty as hell. There USED TO BE a garbage can, one garbage can on for probably a ten block radius. Now it seems to be stolen.

There is a shitload of garbage on and lining the sidewalks on main between Washington and 21st where I and other residents park. It's quite simply bullshit and i've considered removing the garbage my own damn self.

scribeman
Nov 7, 2006, 5:14 AM
Part of it is done in a joking manner, and part of it is that several of us are tired of the hypervigiliant criticism Angelenos encounter on this forum sometimes from people who say that Los Angeles is not a "real city" like Chicago, New York, Boston, or our archrival San Francisco. ;)

For the most part, its all sarcasm nowadays. :tup:
Well, LA has my complete support :tup: I think it is a most fantastic city.
For some reason, Los Angeles more than any other place suffers from the "visit it just to complain about it" syndrome. Americans go there, it seems to me, just to complain about the city. How expensive it is, how bad the traffic is (although driving on the freeways in LA did mean my rude discovery that onramps actually have lights, how terrifying that was), etc etc. But I love SoCal. So there.
Los Angeles really is designed very poorly, though. It's as though the midwesterners gave LA its square grid to work from, and from there it all went horribly wrong. I do not think they will be able to effect the kind of legislation needed to fix these problems. Perhaps a mighty earthquake will.
Also, I seem to notice that California has this bizarre reticence towards doing what might seem like the best idea. Such as Berkeley's complete NIMBYness towards building more apartments. I don't understand it.

citywatch
Nov 8, 2006, 5:56 AM
Los Angeles really is designed very poorly, though. It's as though the midwesterners gave LA its square grid to work from, and from there it all went horribly wrong.

Sheesh, & you make that comment even though you say you also like LA. But I know what you mean. I think our greatest downfall has been that we allowed too many of our hoods to be not much better than this:


http://www.westcoastroads.com/california/images090/ca-091_wb_app_crenshaw.jpg

colemonkee
Nov 8, 2006, 6:20 AM
citywatch, I think we're going to have to place a limit on the number of times you can use a photo that you didn't take.

Quixote
Nov 8, 2006, 6:24 AM
Citywatch = Broken Record

citywatch
Nov 8, 2006, 6:56 AM
^ You can shoot the messanger, westsidelife, but that won't make things any better, or make someone like scribeman any less aware of the problems he saw during his visit to the city. Problems probably similar to something like this:

http://www.irea-usa.com/Images%5C2006-045%20Inglewood%20Sports%20Car%20Lot.jpg


(ok, colemonkee, I admit your complaint did inspire me to look for & use another photo that I didn't take)

edluva
Nov 8, 2006, 8:38 AM
the problem with your message is you don't really cite any specific problems, citwatch. You just post pics of places that look desolate, and that to your subjective eye appear ugly. You don't even go as far as explaining what are the causes (the actual problems) behind the things in the pictures that bother you. Like, for example, do you think the city zoning ordinances are to blame for boring setbacks and huge lots? Or do you think the root of these problems is transportation? Or is the bad taste of developers to receive all the blame?

I mean all you do is post pictures of "ugly" places and complain that visitors are repulsed by these "ugly" places.

That's why you sound like a broken record. You don't offer much insight about anything. Noone's really shooting any messenger. I mean, what's the message?

Wright Concept
Nov 8, 2006, 3:36 PM
^ Beautifully put. Personally I reference that as the "Elmo complex". Elmo that loud pesky Red puppet on Sesame Street that says the same thing over again but never really explains why. "Elmo wants this. Elmo wants that". Hell at least Oscar the Grouch gave you a reason for why he was pissed and it usually dealt with someone always throwing their crap in his home (even though it's a garbage can). That kind of has a poetic


Here's some neighborhoods and streets around South LA.

Crenshaw Blvd/57th Street
http://i14.tinypic.com/4hsouhw.jpg

I'll have more around Leimert Park and Crenshaw Blvd in LOS ANGELES, Not Torrance, in the next few weeks.

90062 Zip Code.
A collection of various hoods taken within the last 2 months

On and Around King Blvd/Western

http://i13.tinypic.com/2vdkxli.jpg
http://i13.tinypic.com/3y5igzo.jpg
http://i13.tinypic.com/33jpx6t.jpg
http://i14.tinypic.com/4i2xuog.jpg
http://i13.tinypic.com/4ifwhuh.jpg
http://i13.tinypic.com/2rwkfhc.jpg
http://i13.tinypic.com/33tp3c8.jpg

On and around Vermont/King

There's a couple of shots of a street worker cleaning up the street.
http://i14.tinypic.com/40m7hac.jpg
http://i13.tinypic.com/2zdpyck.jpg
http://i13.tinypic.com/2ih76v6.jpg

Street Trees around Menlo Avenue, one block east of Vermont . Notice how they soften the overhead powerlines.

http://i13.tinypic.com/2vuea2t.jpg
http://i13.tinypic.com/2ufc9s3.jpg
http://i14.tinypic.com/490y7ty.jpg
http://i14.tinypic.com/47lya1i.jpg


More pics will come soon. Some along Whittier Blvd from the backseat of my "Rapid Bus Limo" LOL

Damien
Nov 8, 2006, 6:35 PM
Thank you PV for finally pointing out that the picture citywatch was using WASN'T of Crenshaw in Los Angeles!!!

Wright Concept
Nov 8, 2006, 6:37 PM
I've said that on many posts. S/he just doesn't listen. When it clearly shows Torrance City Hall with a directional arrow.

citywatch
Nov 9, 2006, 2:53 AM
the problem with your message is you don't really cite any specific problems, citwatch. You just post pics of places that look desolate, and that to your subjective eye appear ugly. You don't even go as far as explaining what are the causes (the actual problems) behind the things in the pictures that bother you. You of all ppl, edluva, should know why such a message bears repeating, because even though it deals with the fundamentals, I do recall your challenging the meaning & importance of those fundamentals based on a photo I posted over a yr ago of some raggedy ass street NE of DTLA (or wherever). You implied that something as basic as alot of raunchy looking environments is less important to the city's problems or bad image than, for instance, poor transit plans, bad city codes, or too much autocentric thinking, or whatever.

Like, for example, do you think the city zoning ordinances are to blame for boring setbacks and huge lots? Or do you think the root of these problems is transportation? Or is the bad taste of developers to receive all the blame?Let me use the following analogy again: a person is applying for an important job. He or she keeps going to job interviews, but is turned down repeatedly.

The ppl who just love vagueness & textbook theories will say, well, that person isn't being hired because his resume isn't long enough & it lists a PhD from USC instead of Harvard. Or he isn't successful because he doesn't smile enough. Or he isn't being hired because he's not friends with the boss, or because he's overqualified.

Uh, ok, those are nice theories and all. But, uh, how about also mentioning the fact that the person keeps going to major job interviews dressed like a homeless wino who hasn't taken a bath in 2 yrs?

BTW, I never said that the pics I've posted above were specifically of places within the borders of LA. But if you think they depict hoods or streets that are far more depressing or that are much worse than what's found within the city itself, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn you might be interested in buying.

citywatch
Nov 9, 2006, 3:13 AM
Notice how they soften the overhead powerlines.
Your pic & comment----& to reply more specifically to edluva's question about causes & solutions-----how about moving into the 21st Century & finally doing a lot more of something like this (http://www.nt.gov.au/powerwater/news/media_releases/2005/0203_martin_underground_power.pdf)? But as I said in a post several months ago, since we can't put much of our transit underground, inc the Gold Line & an extension of the Red Line, I guess we're not going to be very advanced when it comes to putting anything else underground either.

Damien
Nov 9, 2006, 3:59 AM
citywatch,

Here's a suggestion. We've got the million trees initiative. What do you think about going to the neighborhood councils in these powerline infested areas of the city and convince the councils to organize volunteer groups that every weekend go into the residential part of communities and plant a few hundred trees?

yakumoto
Nov 9, 2006, 4:23 AM
Citywatch, are you seriously trying to argue that the city needs to address aesthetic issues before functionality? I don’t think overhead power lines or a lack of trees is that big of an issue in the face of a city that doesn’t function.

edluva
Nov 9, 2006, 9:13 AM
[/b]...You implied that something as basic as alot of raunchy looking environments is less important to the city's problems or bad image than, for instance, poor transit plans, bad city codes, or too much autocentric thinking, or whatever.

I stated, and still maintain, that the root of all these "image problems" you complain about lie in poor substantive execution (transit plans, city codes, etc). Let me use an analogy before I lay this "debate" to rest (because we all know who always has the last word - irrespective of logic and coherence).

You look at an ugly house, and all you conclude is that it's ugly and you and other people around you don't like it. Most reasonable people on the other hand, see the exact same house and note the specific things that make it ugly - the chipping paint, the cracked window, the rotten wood, and seek the reasons behind the deterioration -- poor management, low budgets, low rents, the environment, lazy custodian, etc. in hopes of understanding what can be actually done to solve the problem (the ugliness). Meanwhile, you still can't get beyond the foregone conclusion - the ugliness, complaining about it like a broken record, and getting nowhere (and impressing noone) doing it.

If you won't take my word for it, take the entire califorum's. At some point, you've got to reconsider when you've become the sole preacher.

citywatch
Nov 10, 2006, 2:53 AM
You look at an ugly house, and all you conclude is that it's ugly and you and other people around you don't like it. Most reasonable people on the other hand, see the exact same house and note the specific things that make it ugly - the chipping paint, the cracked window, the rotten wood, and seek the reasons behind the deterioration -- poor management, low budgets, low rents, the environment, lazy custodian, etc. in hopes of understanding what can be actually done to solve the problem (the ugliness).Your comment indicates to me that you really don't get it. IOW, what you're focusing on doesn't even get to the core of the problem. For instance, what if the house looked like junk the day it was first built, when it was brand new?!

There are some forumers who've been complaining about the new paint job on the Irvine Byrne bldg at 3rd & Broadway. Given your line of reasoning, the problem with that paint color perhaps is traceable to lousy city codes, low budgets, rental issues, poor stucco, embezzled funds, autocentric thinking, too much smog, or burban type policies.

Uh, how about it being an issue of....bad taste!?

And, btw, is it fair of me to say your approach to urban issues isn't also greatly influenced by vague intellectualism, or what's reflected in the tude of someone like yakumoto?........


are you seriously trying to argue that the city needs to address aesthetic issues before functionality? I don’t think overhead power lines or a lack of trees is that big of an issue in the face of a city that doesn’t function.That's like telling the person going to the big job interview he doesn't have to worry about showing up dressed like a homeless wino, with a smell to match. He only has to worry about whether his resume is neatly written, & whether he's had his cholesterol level checked by a doctor recently. Oh, and on the day of the interview to avoid eating at Burger King or Taco Bell, because its food is full of fat & empty calories!!

When a city can't do a lot of good things simultaneously, when it can take care of one problem but not another, that's a sign it must be one of those burgs where all the hix end up.

WesTheAngelino
Nov 10, 2006, 3:34 AM
Citywatch.....you do realize that analogy is the weakest form of debate....and yours are pretty damn weak.

First off, can you please identify a community that looks good to you? And no, don't post some lame ass picture, describe a place you have lived in or visited that truly works for you and epitomizes what you think Los Angeles needs to become more like. What makes said community work for you? And please be specific, I'm dying to see what you write, no sarcasm at all

edluva
Nov 10, 2006, 5:01 AM
^westheangelino, you've got a great heart (or great patience) for respecting citywatch enough to continue an intellectual debate with him using logical, deductive challenges. Maybe I'm cynical but I just don't reasoning is his style. Some opinions just can't be changed if they're not based on reason to begin with.

citywatch
Nov 10, 2006, 5:14 AM
Citywatch.....you do realize that analogy is the weakest form of debate....and yours are pretty damn weak.I'm sure that's mainly because I don't agree with your approach to things, Wes, referring to a vague, misty colored, idealistic kind of intellectualism, where the fundamentals & the most obvious root causes of a city's problem are ignored because they sound so, well, unimaginative.

I mean (& here's the analogy again!!!) doesn't it sound more worldly, brainy & sophisticated to say, oh, that person didn't get hired for the job because her resume lacked a PhD from Harvard & a BS from Yale, because her experience in some high tech field is limited, because she didn't understand the complex psychology of the interviewer, because she doesn't speak Chinese, French or Spanish fluently enough, than to say, hey, she wasn't hired right off the bat because, duh!, she showed up to the job interview dressed like a bag lady!!

And what community looks good to me? Well, sheesh, how about the obvious: Hoods around SaMo or Beverly Hills, parts of, yep, DTLA, Hollywood, the Wilshire corridor, stretches of Pasadena, portions of Pacific Palisades, niches of Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Redondo Bch. Or, farther away, large parts of Manhattan or SF, segments of San Diego, a lot of the lakefront of Chicago. Again, the obvious, to more ppl than not.

cookiejarvis
Nov 10, 2006, 5:42 AM
De gustibus non disputandum est

There's no arguing taste. Give it up ppl!

WesTheAngelino
Nov 10, 2006, 6:12 AM
Hmmm.....

Yes, I'm sure my calls for better transit, better and more equitable basic services like trash pick up, better sidewalks, zoning that encourages mixed use development, and affordable housing subsidies are all very high falutin pie in the sky intellectual ideas.....riiiiiiiiight.

Hm, well first you didnt answer my question at all, or at least not in any measure of detail i wouldve wanted. You merely stated what "looks good".

Sounds to me like you're just an elitist who thinks a new coat of paint will help Watts.....it would...but that wouldnt create jobs or stop murders...yknow what would???? ,maybe some retail investment, more cops, and better transit!!!! what a whacked out leftist idea!!!!

yakumoto
Nov 10, 2006, 7:02 AM
Actually, its been proven that the root cause of gang violence in south LA is overhead powerlines...

edluva
Nov 10, 2006, 8:06 PM
it's been proven that the root cause of LAs horrible traffic is its hix-in-the-stix appearance and not, as other pointy-headed forumers contend, auto-centric planning

citywatch
Nov 11, 2006, 2:59 AM
Sounds to me like you're just an elitist who thinks a new coat of paint will help Watts.....it would...but that wouldnt create jobs or stop murders...yknow what would???? ,maybe some retail investment, more cops, and better transit!!!! what a whacked out leftist idea!!!!I think ideas along the lines of retail investment, more cops & better transit are perfectly fine. But a lot of the rest of the tude that might be animating you, or yakumoto, or edluva----and how it ultimately may lead to a bankrupt, big joke future-----was pointed to in this former post (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showpost.php?p=2411131&postcount=95)?

And while you claim today to care so much about the kind of hoods that ppl have been abandoning en masse for yrs & yrs, for other hoods (esp the burbs, or still thriving towns like NYC or Chicago), where will you be living in several yrs? IOW, are you going to be like a former urban essayist who once wrote about the city for the LA Times & who said LA should "keep it real", suggesting that tolerating its junk & grunge was somehow honest & hip. Only problem is that guy, who once lived north of USC, got married, had kids & moved to the burbs, never to be seen again (& least in the "real", yet depressing, hoods of LA).

POLA
Nov 11, 2006, 3:49 AM
Listen lady, you need a district that can support its residents and business with safe streets and regenerative growth BEFORE you remove the power lines and riff raff. Junk yards don't make neighborhoods go down hill, junk yards MOVE into neighborhoods that have already gone down hill. Bev Hills is not what it is because it has nice streetscaping, it has nice streetscaping because of what it is. Blight is a result of misuse not a cause of it.

citywatch
Nov 11, 2006, 4:52 AM
Junk yards don't make neighborhoods go down hill, junk yards MOVE into neighborhoods that have already gone down hill.
Your comment assumes hoods like this weren't junky & funky from the very beginning:

http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics43/00041420.jpg

SunMonTueWedThuFriSa
Nov 11, 2006, 5:11 AM
Can we ban citywatch?

Codex Borgia
Nov 11, 2006, 5:21 AM
:tup: Lovely Idea - However on the flip side one cannot fault him for his passionate ad nauseum posting of 1950's/60's era LA pics and his amazing recall and ability to recall long forgotten postings in an instant - he must have a slave in his service constantly organizing & cataloguing every forum post and searching the UCLA archives for L.A. pics.

edluva
Nov 11, 2006, 10:05 AM
Can we ban citywatch?

you can't ban someone for being dumb :D j/k

citywatch
Nov 11, 2006, 7:47 PM
Can we ban citywatch?Why? Because the truth hurts? This previous post of mine to you (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showpost.php?p=2390017&postcount=651) still applies.

BTW, codex, in the era of google, everyone has a "slave"! And the archive is lapl.org, not UCLA. More important, & speaking of recalling the past, weren't you the same person who for some strange reason got all warm hearted towards that silly woman from India who visited CA a few months ago & tinkled & gushed all over SF but said she was unimpressed by LA? If her dissing LA didn't bother you, then you (unlike me or this person (http://www.laweekly.com/general/24-seven/the-defender/8594/)) shouldn't be bothered by similar reactions from anyone else.

Codex Borgia
Nov 11, 2006, 10:03 PM
[/b]BTW, codex, in the era of google, everyone has a "slave"! And the archive is lapl.org, not UCLA. More important, & speaking of recalling the past, weren't you the same person who for some strange reason got all warm hearted towards that silly woman from India who visited CA a few months ago & tinkled & gushed all over SF but said she was unimpressed by LA? If her dissing LA didn't bother you, then you (unlike me or this person (http://www.laweekly.com/general/24-seven/the-defender/8594/)) shouldn't be bothered by similar reactions from anyone else.

Thanks for the tip citywatch, I'll have to visit that lapl.org site.

Strange it seems that while you can complain all YOU want about the condition and look of our City, when a tourist comes in and expresses her experience and review, you find it unpalatable. You're both on the same boat really, if you think about it CityWatch. Only thing that drives me crazy about your posts is that you go on and on ad nauseum about overhead wires and those blasted back n white pics of L.A. believing that these are THE primary reasons that L.A. gets dissed time and again by tourists AND residents alike.

citywatch
Nov 11, 2006, 10:55 PM
Strange it seems that while you can complain all YOU want about the condition and look of our City, when a tourist comes in and expresses her experience and review, you find it unpalatable. That's because I'm not like you, codex. IOW, & as a refresher, these are the postings I was referring to that involved the silly tourist from India & your response to her:



On the whole, I would say that LA City is entertaining with its tiny tourist pockets but somehow it didn't really have that punch in it.....It just didn't have that spark like San Francisco did or for that matter even Vegas to a certain extent. LA is hyped only for its Hollywood sign and the famous residences. At the most for all the sleek posh cars that drive on the glitzy roads. But otherwise there is nothing much to it. Frankly, if you are too hotch-potched with your vacation time, then you can surely look at dropping this city out of your plans.


codexborgia
| Oct 16th, 2006 at 1:38 pm | #

I found your comments regarding my City of Los Angeles to be well rounded and NOT at all distasteful.You simply stated the very same comments that many Forumers on Skyscraperpage.com echo time and time again regarding our City.

Oh, "well rounded"? Is that your way of describing the reactions of a visitor who saw things in a very superficial way? What I mean is, yea, OK, the city does have alot of hoods that look like shit, but I'd be the last to say there's "nothing much" to LA, much less to say it's so uninteresting it should be dropped from ppl's travel plans.

But the air headed reaction to the city by ppl like her is hardly uncommon. It merely verifies my noticing time & time again a wide variety of ppl responding to the city, & giving it low marks, for the same reason (& here's my analogy again!!!) that a job interviewer will laugh you out the front door if you showed up---even with a stellar resume in hand---& asked for an application while dressed like a homeless wino.

BTW, I let pics speak for themselves, as I haven't even mentioned specifically, through words, the problems that you ad nauseum claim that I point to ad nauseum.

BrighamYen
Nov 12, 2006, 1:15 PM
^ Citywatch, the ONLY way u can "solve" this issue of people focusing on areas of LA that are aesthetically unpleasing is to focus their attention on the new and upcoming Downtown LA. Obviously, it would be impossible to go through LA County with a magic wand and turn it all into a clean and pristine place.

A city needs a beautiful focal point to show itself off to the world. Generally speaking, usually that's the downtown or city-area of any metropolitan area. This is the way it works for many American cities today. Many people visit LA and they are seriously confused. I just had a conversation with this guy who said he's lived here for about 9 months (from Portland) and he says he still doesn't feel "connected" to what LA is. He said it's unlike any other city he's ever gone to. It doesn't make sense to him.

So the solution? Well, it's happening already. Downtown LA is being built up and whatever is here today, we are grateful that things have materialized. Because the next time we go through another real estate boom in the cycle, that boom will add on to our exisiting structures. And with LA Live really fueling the boom even as the market slows, I believe the momentum will continue through the tough times. And the whole point of this downtown revitalization is to finally create a place that makes sense. A place you can feel connected to the city. That's what people love even over just aesthetics, is a feeling of coherancy. Downtown LA is already a silver platter just waiting for the tarnish to be wiped off, revealing the beautiful surface underneath! :)

citywatch
Nov 12, 2006, 7:48 PM
I just had a conversation with this guy who said he's lived here for about 9 months (from Portland) and he says he still doesn't feel "connected" to what LA is. He said it's unlike any other city he's ever gone to. It doesn't make sense to him.
I just read the following (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showpost.php?p=2444685&postcount=1514) in the SD thread in the compilations forum:


i had a friend come in from new york, and we landed at LAX, took him past downtown LA and then hollywood. He thought LA center city was a shell of how a big city skyline should look. I then proceeded to take him down the 5 to SD gaslamp and coronado. When the skyline came in to view from the north he said daaaaaamn, that looks like a city. He LOVED the skyline.:gaah:

And since I keep mentioning the comments from that tourist from India----the one who became so insulted when I said her home country is full of poverty & slums (which is like someone getting insulted over the comment "Death Valley is hot during the summer")----& to give full context to her comment about there being "nothing much" to LA, this is what I mean when I describe her as, by contrast, tinkling all over another town in CA:


If there is any other place, other than Sydney that I would love to settle down in than it would be San Francisco. The city is absolutely beautiful, a little on the colder side (I am not very fond of summer) and the people are warm and friendly. It has a lot to offer not only from a tourist point-of view but also to its local residents. I will end this post by saying that SF is a “paisa vasool” city for tourists and it surely deserves thumbs-up for its impressiveness.

I think if LA is getting dissed not only by visitors from NY, who, in turn, have better reactions towards SD, ferrcrissakes, but also by visitors from a country like India, you know something is wrong.

Maybe things wouldn't have gotten so bad to begin with if more ppl here had been like Mayor Villaraigosa after his recent trip to Asia. He saw what other cities were like & doing, did some comparison "shopping", then came back to LA and realized, oh, shit, in some ways we really have been a bunch of proles in a state of denial.

I'd rather have that kind of reaction than all those other ppl who also live here but who instead have the opinions of the LA Daily News, or the folks who think that when it comes to the grit of Broadway or McArthur Pk, or the type who I honestly think would be more interested in a forum like this (http://www.doonhamer.f2s.com/forum/) instead of SSP, we should "keep it real".

ksep
Nov 12, 2006, 8:20 PM
^ Citywatch, the ONLY way u can "solve" this issue of people focusing on areas of LA that are aesthetically unpleasing is to focus their attention on the new and upcoming Downtown LA. Obviously, it would be impossible to go through LA County with a magic wand and turn it all into a clean and pristine place.

A city needs a beautiful focal point to show itself off to the world. Generally speaking, usually that's the downtown or city-area of any metropolitan area. This is the way it works for many American cities today. Many people visit LA and they are seriously confused. I just had a conversation with this guy who said he's lived here for about 9 months (from Portland) and he says he still doesn't feel "connected" to what LA is. He said it's unlike any other city he's ever gone to. It doesn't make sense to him.

So the solution? Well, it's happening already. Downtown LA is being built up and whatever is here today, we are grateful that things have materialized. Because the next time we go through another real estate boom in the cycle, that boom will add on to our exisiting structures. And with LA Live really fueling the boom even as the market slows, I believe the momentum will continue through the tough times. And the whole point of this downtown revitalization is to finally create a place that makes sense. A place you can feel connected to the city. That's what people love even over just aesthetics, is a feeling of coherancy. Downtown LA is already a silver platter just waiting for the tarnish to be wiped off, revealing the beautiful surface underneath! :)

:tup: i could not agree more with your statement, lab. you said it perfectly. :hug:

Damien
Nov 12, 2006, 9:30 PM
citywatch,

Any thought to using the mayor's million trees initiative to beautify some of these streets? I posted the suggestion a couple of days ago and you didn't respond. :shrug: Perhaps I'll post the pictures of some of the streets in Leimert Park that have telephone poles and trees.

SunMonTueWedThuFriSa
Nov 12, 2006, 11:25 PM
I'm convinced now citywatch works for a tourist agency.

ocman
Nov 13, 2006, 1:07 AM
It's much easier and simpler than made out to be. You focus on two areas. Hollywood and downtown LA. And you keep improving the transit system. All the concrete and phone poles really don't matter out of that area. Has anyone seen the rest of NYC out of Manhattan? Probably not, because no one goes there. Same with every other city. Each city has a wonderful city center that shrouds tourists from how crappy the rest of their city is. The average tourist is not too adventurous or hard to get. They want to see the statue of liberty and the empire state building and they don't want to stray too far away from their hotel.

It's the same with LA. Tourists rarely step out of Hollywood and downtown LA. Only right now, Hollywood and downtown are boring and not too pretty. It isn't family friendly, and there are too much sex shops and vagrant. That's the big difference.

And as far as the talk "the people in this city are so warm and those people are not so nice", that's just provincial bullshit and self-absorption. You speak to maybe 6 natives on any trip. It isn't exactly a good sample of 4 million people. But they lack social awareness and insight. Their opinions fluctuate depending on how fun they find the city.

BrighamYen
Nov 13, 2006, 1:45 AM
^^^ See citywatch...

We all agree that Downtown LA should become the focal point and revitalizing it by filling in all those deadzones with mixed-use projects. My friend who lives in the Pegasus says he likes SF more than Downtown LA because he said it feels more "compact" and it has more buildings. Downtown LA may have more taller buildings than SF, but all those deadzones take away the feeling of an authentic urban experience immediately. Many areas of Downtown LA feel very sparse and dead.

Let's pray that our urban renaissance continues and that Downtown LA, and as ocman says as well, Hollywood, will become fantastic and truly represent the new urban LA. And I'd like to add that Koreatown and MacArthur Park will also become safer/cleaner/and more diverse since it is connected by subway to the city. Then when visitors come, they will be bypassing most of the "blighted" areas (or not as aesthetically pleasing ones), and right into our city center. With thousands of people forecasted to walk the streets in Downtown LA in the future, and hundreds of stores in the pipeline, who wouldn't like Downtown LA, and therefore, Los Angeles?

Quixote
Nov 13, 2006, 1:47 AM
^Exactly. The way LA is laid out greatly contributes to the way visitors perceive the city. Like ocman said, tourists rarely venture outside Manhattan. They don't see any of the ugly. In LA, while traveling on the freeways to each destination, they pass through junky areas. Ocman is right about DTLA and Hollywood being our major centers and that they're not so aesthetically pleasing. If we could just turn that all around, I'm sure tourists would have a much better opinion of our city. Once we establish DTLA as the ultimate center of the city, outsiders will have a better basis on which to judge the city and they'll finally understand it. Though many other activities will still be spread out across the region.

Quixote
Nov 13, 2006, 1:47 AM
Double Post

citywatch
Nov 13, 2006, 9:55 AM
Any thought to using the mayor's million trees initiative to beautify some of these streets? I think the benefits of that type of proj goes without saying. However, to be honest, the city would need to create several redwood forests to conceal the various eyesores that currently exist all over the place.

I hope ppl like the mayor are starting to open their eyes. For instance, after his trip to Asia, he came home & said:


"When you travel, you go to great cities to see great architecture and L.A. has to recommit itself to great architecture," the mayor said. "We have got to start saying to our architects and to our developers, we've got to re-imagine what L.A. looks like."

I'm sure his desire to be diplomatic about the town he's the mayor of is the reason he can't be more plain spoken about it. IOW, if he were more candid he wouldn't have specified "great architecture", which sounds too technical or complicated. He instead would have said: "oh, damn, this city has way too many skanky looking hoods!! What the hell is wrong with us??!!"

When I say his phrase of "great architecture" sounds too complicated, I mean it would be better if his focus were more generalized. It would be better if he were striving to make the city "better looking", or at least no worse than what's shown in PV's photo of a street near USC. This isn't an example of "great architecture", but at least it's a somewhat presentable setting, or not a dive that yells out "this place is for losers!!"

http://i14.tinypic.com/40m7hac.jpg

LongBeachUrbanist
Nov 13, 2006, 5:12 PM
citywatch dislikes L.A. and doesn't live here. He/she points out alleged problems with L.A. but proposes no solutions. IOW, he/she brings nothing real to the discussion. In addition, his/her arguments are lacking in even the most fundamental logical basis (as has been pointed out by several people).

Therefore, it is a waste of energy to try to refute these arguments. It only encourages the posting of more out-of-context pictures and quotes.

The only positive about cw's rants are all the insightful responses by well-meaning forumers.

WesTheAngelino
Nov 13, 2006, 5:22 PM
[/b]
Your comment assumes hoods like this weren't junky & funky from the very beginning:

http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics43/00041420.jpg


What exactly is wrong with that nieghborhood? Besides the lack of trees?

citywatch
Nov 13, 2006, 5:34 PM
What exactly is wrong with that nieghborhood? Besides the lack of trees?That's like someone saying: besides long commutes, what's wrong with a burbanized environment that's full of fwys? Wes, I certainly would recommend you never seek a career in architecture or urban design.



He/she points out alleged problems with L.A. but proposes no solutions. IOW, he/she brings nothing real to the discussion. In addition, his/her arguments are lacking in even the most fundamental logical basis (as has been pointed out by several people).
Your response, LBU, is so mature. Sort of like a little kid closing his eyes, putting his fingers in his ears & saying, na, na, na, nee, na, naw, naw, nee, naw, I can't hear you, I can't hear you....I know you are, but what am I?..I know you are, but what am I?...naw, naa, ne, na, naa, nee, naa...I can't hear you, I can't hear you...naw, naa, nee, na...your mother wears combat boots, your mother wears combat boots.

cookiejarvis
Nov 13, 2006, 5:38 PM
Actually the picture above shows power lines placed in the alleyway, where they should be located. Jump 20 years into the future and these power lines are most likely obscured by trees.