Monday, December 31, 2007

LUF Co-Sponsored 8th Annual Nacimento Tour

Sunday, January 6, 2007 from 11 a.m – 4 p.m.
This year's tour starts at the Los Angeles River and Gardens Center, 570 W. Avenue 26, Los Angeles, 90065 at 11 am, with registration opening at 10 am. Highland Park's Bike Oven will offer free tire checks and sag support. The Latino Urban Forum, The Rare Times, Wild Women on Wheels (w20ws), C.I.C.L.E., Santa Monica Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition are co-sponsors of the tour.

For the 8th year, the annual tour will highlight mini Bethlehems, makeshift barns and stables, and in one setting, a complete living room reenactment of Jesus' birth and the arrival of the three kings. For many bicyclists, this is the first time exploring the historically and ethnically rich neighborhoods of Highland Park, Lincoln Heights, and Boyle Heights.

Listings and pictures of previous years' tours can be found on .The 2008 map will be available online and at the registration on the day of the event.

The Nacimiento Bike Tour is one of those rare LA seconds when west-sidersand east-siders, Latino and non-Latino, come together and participate in exploring LA's unique cultural traditions and physical landscape in a environmentally friendly way.Nacimientos, or nativity scenes, is a tradition that many Latino throughout Latin America follow during the Christmas season. This tradition takes place in the streets of LA where many immigrants and multi-generational families spend countless hours creating Nacimientos in their front yards, porches, on roofs, as well as in the home.

Nacimientos range in size, complexity, and creativity. Some can be a simple scene of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus to elaborate landscapes with tinsel waterfalls, sparkling lights, and hundreds of pieces. Each Nacimiento reflects the creator's devotion to Christmas and can be very personal in nature. For many Latinos, the building of the sets begins the day after December 12th, which is the feast day of Our lady of Guadalupe and they stay upuntil January 6th, when the three kings arrive with gifts for the new born king.

Retro NY Times Article on Nacimiento Tour

On Tough Blocks, Divine Glitter by Patricia Leigh Brown (Dec 22, 2002 NY Times)

IT is the season of the nacimiento, the time of year in Latino neighborhoods when porches and patches of lawn become dazzling home-grown Bethlehems. In East Los Angeles, just as in other Mexican-American communities, the deep creative urge that is Christmas flows like a seasonal torrent into the tin foil rivers and tinsel waterfalls of nacimientos, elaborate homemade Nativity scenes that subsume living rooms and whole yards.

In places like Boyle Heights, the city's easternmost neighborhood and 87 percent Latino, the nacimientos, a Mexican tradition that dates back to at least the 16th century, spring forth in baroque splendor beneath dolled-up ficus trees from which glittery snowflakes dangle. " The children today want $200 toys, which is hard for working people," said Maria R. Sandoval, 56, a home care provider whose simple family nacimiento is encircled by twinkling lights. " This gives them the deep gift of tradition."
The seasonal flurry of nacimientos in first-generation Mexican-American neighborhoods represents "a redefinition of urban space" to James T. Rojas, an urban planner and co-chairman of the Latino Urban Forum, a volunteer group of architects, community members and planners. (The forum will offer a public tour of East Los Angeles nacimientos on Jan. 5; "It's about personal expression and a sense of community, the social dialogue that happens on front porches and over fences," Mr. Rojas said. In neighborhoods plagued by gang activity and crime, the shrines are rarely vandalized. "They are respected," he added. "It's a sacred space."

Masterminded mostly by women, each nacimiento is a portrait of its maker. Thus Christmastime in the Mexican-American precincts of Los Angeles resembles the Academy Awards: no bit of shrubbery shall remain undecorated. In the Pico Aliso neighborhood a mile from downtown, Veronica Aguilar and 16 members of her family have assembled an idealized miniature world in front of their stucco house in which pebbled walkways meander past foil ponds and moss-shrouded milk-crate mountains. A devil lighted luridly by a red bulb animates the sidewalk.
By contrast, the nacimiento of Victoria Vazquez, 84, in Boyle Heights is a thicket of faith and tin foil flickering in a jungle of foliage. "I want people to think it's beautiful," she said of her spiritual Shangri-La, whose wattage fluctuates with the electricity bills.
Her nacimiento, like so many others, is a designated stop in las posadas, a widely practiced Mexican custom that takes place on the nine nights before Christmas. In emulation of Mary and Joseph seeking shelter in Bethlehem, neighbors and family members gather to make candlelight processions, usually ending at a church. Along the way, they visit nacimientos and have fiestas that include the breaking of piñatas and lots of tamales, pan dulce and hot chocolate. On Christmas Eve, the niño, or baby Jesus figure, is placed in the nacimiento manger.

On Amber Place in the neighborhood of El Sereno, 200 residents parade around the block carrying papier-mâché figures. They pass the sidewalk nacimiento created, with a competitive instinct, by Donald and Hilda Navarret, a husband-and-wife team who try to outdo each other. Mr. Navarret's blue lights and Mrs. Navarret's stars hover over the manger amid tuberoses, begonias, poinsettias and pine cones dipped in glitter.
The neighborhoods that are home to many Mexican immigrants are also some of the city's oldest and densest. A rarity for Los Angeles, they are pedestrian neighborhoods where art flourishes in street murals, hand-painted storefronts and shrines. The miniature nacimiento scenes are a combination of rural Mexican villages and the Holy Land. "You have to walk to appreciate them," Mr. Rojas said. "It's not like the suburbs where you drive by looking at the nice lights."

Sonia Ibarra, who lives in El Sereno, cut up old plastic window blinds and pasted the strips together to form a house, a fruit stand, a gazebo, a well and, finally, a church with a bell tower. The town of her imagination, with its blue duct-tape river, recalls her home in Jalisco. Her husband, José Guadalupe-Ibarra, 44, a produce shipper, said her handiwork "is like Universal Studios."
"It will help the children not to get lost in life," he said.

While their function is primarily religious, the Los Angeles nacimientos — which go up after Dec. 12, the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and usually come down after Jan. 6, the Feast of the Epiphany — also serve a cultural role. There are some common elements among the nacimientos, including the pilgrims Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus; a figure of the angel, the Three Kings; and often a cave made of mud or driftwood and a mountain with a tinsel waterfall. The figures, along with sheep, camels, cows, pigs, burros and other animals, are procured everywhere from Tijuana to Disneyland.

Many nacimientos are cultural mixed metaphors. In Monterey Park outside Los Angeles, for instance, Pedro Ruiz, a 56-year-old truck driver whose children were born in California, has divided his lawn into two zones: One is a riot of candy canes and plastic "Let It Snow" signs, and the other, a comparatively staid nacimiento. "This is America," he said, pointing to one side, "and this is Mexico," of the other.

Christmas abhors a vacuum, as Jovita Garcia, 71, who lives in Alhambra, proves in her living room every year. Her nacimiento, composed of more than 2,000 figures and counting, reflects the Mexican penchant for miniatures, sensuous surfaces and wild ornamental abandon. A two-tiered assemblage that takes months to construct, completely obscuring the fireplace, it combines heirloom ceramics with materials for the holy grottoes harvested during family vacations — pine cones from Yellowstone, sand and lava rocks from Hawaiian cruises, and tree trunks hauled back in the family station wagon from Sequoia National Park.
From its humble origins on her dining room-table, Mrs. Garcia's nacimiento has become a tableau of mesmerizing proportions, comprising thousands of tiny figures. While her sons-in-law live in fear of her daughters inheriting the collection, Mrs. Garcia prays that there not be a recurrence of the Northridge earthquake, the only quake-proofing she has being her deep faith. Her nacimiento includes tiny penguins, snowmen, swans and boats sailing on mirror lakes. "This is a part of the beauty God has given to the world," said Teresa Thompson, 48, the oldest of her eight children. "Now we're giving the beauty back to him.

Monday, December 17, 2007

On Vernacular Urbanism and Spiritual Space.

About fifteen years ago, several homeowners decided to change the name from Sepulveda to North Hills in an attempt to shake off the negative perception that people have of Sepulveda Blvd. The trivial name change did very little to improve the quality of life for many of the residents (e.g. apartment dwellers) which live immediately east of the 405. The poverty, the landlord abuse, and the image of danger persisted. North Hills’ Langdon Avenue in particular holds some of highest population densities in Los Angeles County. The demographic consists predominately of immigrants and children, plenty of them. Langdon is also home to Langdon Avenue Gang, or simply “La Langdon.” As gang violence reached its peak in the communities of Panorama City and North Hills in the 1990’s, then City Attorney Jim Hahn began pursuing the first court-backed injunctions against gangs--the quintessental in the United States. Hahn first applied this tool in my old neighborhood of Blythe Street in the neighboring community of Panorama City. He would later apply this policy against North Hills’ Columbus Street gang a couple of blocks away, and then ultimately against la Langdon. These areas would also be the site of the first LAPD designed “defensive space” policing methods (e.g. no left turns, street obstructions). While concrete barricades at the neighborhood’s perimeter functioned to curtail auto-oriented drug sales, they also served to forever create the perception of a human hazard in need of containment.
The roadblocks have long been removed but its fringe image in the Valley-based Daily News continues.
Many others however know of another North Hills, a place where neighbors circumvent any type of barrier, and in effect simultaneously transform front-yards into a place of cultural celebration and civic congregation. Like so many other impoverished communities in the L.A. metropolis, this is a site where the neighborhoods’ mothers provide the thrust to reclaim ownership to the street. Nearly a decade ago, the various mothers of Langdon organized themselves to a form a tightly-knit informal advocacy group known as Familias Unidas. Familias Unidas since then continues to play a critical role in assisting the formal governmental and policing structure, despite their migratory status.
To truly understand the spirit and tenacity of Familias Unidas, one must visit the block on the evening of
December 12. On this night more than 500 people, predominately apartment tenants, converge at the intersection of Orion and Langdon to begin Familias’ Virgen de Guadalupe two mile procession around the neighborhood. The multitude snowballs as it continues its passage along the thick landscape of dwelling units. Residents await at the frontage of many of these buildings with their humble roses for the la Virgen Morena. Almost every single Langdon resident, including the cholillos and the LAPD, partakes in this ritual. The streets come alive with the sounds of chants, the sound of tambora or mariachi (depending on the year’s funding), and the vigor of a community affirming their existence. What began as an unrehearsed and unofficial cavalcade consisting of a few women self-directing traffic and snaking across the autoscape has evolved into the fabric of a community’s agency. On this evening, the cars at the adjacent 405 freeway will simply have to wait--the traffic and city will have pay homage to them.
In America’s quintessential suburb of the San Fernando Valley, this ritual is repeated in numerous apartment-lined blocks of the Latin American immigrant diaspora. In Northridge’s compact Bryant Street neighborhood, or simply “Tijuanita,” cul-de-sacs become the natural stage for a tradition spanning back centuries. In Canoga Park and North Hollywood the scene is almost identical. These festivities commence the beautiful celebrations that will continue into January with posadas, and the nativity scenes that begin adorning homes. While designers and planners alike receive APA & AIA awards for creating “ground-breaking” pedestrian-oriented communities, in their own very ways, these neighborhoods have already formulated the template for us to follow. Join us for the Nacimiento Bike Tour in January 2008.

See all the Images from procession:

North Hills Virgen de Guadalupe Slideshow

Thursday, November 15, 2007

City of Los Angeles Planning Commission To Vote Today on Green Building Ordinance

The Los Angeles City Planning Commission is scheduled to vote on amending the L.A. Municipal Code to establish a Green Building Code. This would set a minimum threshold for buildings of 50,000 sq ft, or above 50 units to meet LEED certification. It would further formalize the collaboration between various city departments (e.g. LADWP, Public Works) and the mayor, I mean the city. In July Mayor Villaraigosa presented an environmental policy statement report outlining his vision for a more "sustainable" Los Angeles, this is part of it.

Expect the commission to approve the measure.

Los Angeles City Planning Commission

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Google Map Mash Up

We'll be unveiling a google map mash up specific to noteworthy places, constructed and in the vernacular sense. No new luxury housing construction projects a la Curbed LA, but sites where people create vibrancy outside of formal planning and architectural processes. In communities that are park poor and lack recreation places, ingenuity and practicality takes hold..and creates better planning solutions. See Hansen Dam

View Larger Map

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fresh N' Easy Opens in SoCal.

The widely anticipated arrival of the euro-based grocery store Fresh N' Easy came this past Thursday, but all wasn't exactly fanfare. A coalition of community organizations, and labor groups have been pushing for Tesco (owner of Fresh N' Easy) to grant community benefits agreements since the middle of summer. The call & need for these concessions have been substantiated by a report/study released in August by Occidental College's Urban & Environmental Policy Research Institute. Look for Fresh n' Easy's expansion to not be so easy after all, considering all the fresh labor led victories against Wal Mart throughout L.A. County. The first operating store within the City of L.A. municipality is in Glassell Park, which lies within the Assembly District of labor champion Assemblymember Kevin De León (AD-45) whom I sure will be play a leading role as this thing plays out. Shoot, there's already a certificate from the office of AD-45 right near the human-operated cashiers, yes, a differentiation needs to be made, visit & see for yourself...and park in the obnoxious family parking stalls.

Below is a press conference held in front of the Glassell Park with various LA heavies, including Maria Elena Durazo, the Executive Secretary-Treasurer with the LA County Fed. of Labor

"Good Groceries Gampaign"

Good Grocery Stores

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Immigrants are transforming the urban landscape of Los Angeles, and its dense

Check out the article on the Latino Urban Forum featured in Real Talk LA. Excellent commentary by both James and Hilda Delgado on the urban shaping of L.A. by immigrants.

Real Talk LA

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Great Concert at La Plaza Olvera

Los Angeles: Que circo es esta ciud
Don't miss it.

Maldita Vecindad, Aterciopelados, Alejandra Guzman, Calle 13
Saturday, Nov 10, 2007
La Plaza Olvera
5pm - 9pm
10 bucks

Monday, September 17, 2007

Porter en Los Angeles.

For the first time ever, Porter (Guadalajara, JAL,MX.) will perform in the U.S. & they're playing in Los Angeles first! They crept up as far as Tijuana & Mexicali but now they're finally coming to L.A. This is going to be one hot azz show.

Fri. October 12 at 7:30 p.m. @ Ford Amphitheatre

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Very cool... (from Elva Yanez a couple minutes ago)

In a unanimous victory, 15 to 0, the City Council voted to assert authority over the Board of Public Works’ recent action to approve the building permit and related items for Tract 35022, the controversial development of 24 luxury homes on Elephant Hill in El Sereno. This matter will now move to the Planning and Land Use Management Committee.
In a powerful show of unity, the Council expressed its displeasure with the Board’s disregard for their legislative authority and action that made an already complex issue even more complicated.
Please take a moment and thank all the Councilmembers for their vote today (see email addresses below). Special thanks and recognition are due to Councilmember Huizar for his persistent and courageous defense of his constituents’ right to environmental protections under the law from those agencies responsible for land use and development. Many thanks are also due to Councilmember Reyes for his eloquent defense of equal environmental and public safety protections for eastside residents while simultaneously addressing open space conservation and watershed improvements.
Approximately 70 people showed up for the hearing including many residents from El Sereno (including among others Ramona Chavez, Olga Quinones, Michael Carreon, Sylvia Wallis, Tom Williamson and Casey Reagan) and greater Northeast LA. Many thanks to Stephanie Taylor, Jonathan Parfrey and Glen Dake of environmental coalition GREEN LA for helping organize the educational outreach and the mobilization for this hearing.
Special thanks also for the groups who turned out numerous attendees including Latino Urban Forum, SCOPE/AGENDA, Northeast Trees and LA-32 Neighborhood Council.
Local elected officials also sent representatives to the meeting including:
  • Assemblymember Kevin de Leon (District 45)
  • Assemblymember Anthony Portantino (District 44)
  • Senator Gloria Romero (District 24)
Helping us fill out one entire side of the chamber were individual representatives from the following organizations:
  • Audubon Center at Debs Park
  • Baldwin Hills Conservancy
  • El Sereno Residents for Responsible Land Use and Development
  • Glassell Park Improvement Association
  • Greater El Sereno Chamber of Commerce
  • Hillside Environmental and Safety Coalition
  • LA Community Garden Council
  • Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority
  • Mujeres de la Tierra
  • National Resources Defense Council
  • Rivers and Mountains Conservancy
  • Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
  • Save Elephant Hill
  • Scenic Arroyo Seco
Stay tuned for the details on the actual motion language, the upcoming PLUM hearing and formation of a formal coalition. A replay of the actual hearing will be aired by City of Los Angeles ’ Channel 35 tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Thanks to all those who wanted to attend but had to work, but were at the hearing in spirit. Words cannot capture our gratitude to the many individuals and organizations who submitted letters, emails, and calls, and also offered encouragement and support to help us keep pressing on with this campaign.
Mil gracias!
Elva Yanez
· Ed Reyes (CD 1) –
· Wendy Gruel (CD 2) –
· Dennis Zine (CD 3) -
· Tom LaBonge (CD 4) –
· Jack Weiss (CD 5) –
· Tony Cardenas (CD 6) –
· Richard Alarcon (CD 7) –
· Bernard Parks (CD 8) –
· Jan Perry (CD 9) –
· Herb Wesson (CD 10) –
· Bill Rosenthal (CD 11) -
· Grieg Smith (CD 12) –
· Eric Garcetti (CD 13) –
· Jose Huizar (CD 14) –
· Janice Hahn (CD 15) -

Monday, September 10, 2007

Route 99--San Fernando Road in their own words

A couple of my friends, San Fernando natives, are doing various mini-stories on the communities of the Northeast San Fernando Valley. This is the first of a series that they are producing, from this side of L.A.

San Fernando Road

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Zoé Performs Outdoors--John Anson Theater

¿Who says LUF is pura cosa seria? For those fans of excellent indie, peep the always kick ass Zoé at the outdoor Anson. Muy nice. It's great seeing these bands getting space at this particular venue. I saw Nortec Collective perform here as well for the LA Film Festival two months ago & it was off the rails!! No doubt, Zoé will bring that same vibe to the hills of hollywood.

14.Septiembre.2007 / Zoé en Los Angeles
Venue: John Anson Ford Amphitheater
Ciudad: Los Angeles, California
Info: Zoe with Los Abandoned at Ford Amphitheatre

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Fourh Street Bike Ride

The 4th Street Bike Ride (A potential Bike Boulevard)

The Fourth Street Bicycle Ride with Councilman Tom Labonge was very inspirational. Right when you think it is impossible to create a sustainable transportation system in car-crazy LA, this bike ride gives you hope for the future.

I started the evening after work at Union Station by hopping on the Purple Line, bicycle in tow. I rode the train to the Wilshire/Vermont Station. From this station I rode my bike a few short blocks to Shatto Park on Fourth Street near Vermont.

After a few remarks from Councilman Labonge on the importance of bike riding to solve LA’s congestion problem, 25 to 30 cyclists set off on a six-mile bike ride along Fourth Street. The nice ocean breeze cooled down the asphalt and made it a very pleasant ride. We rode over the gentle rolling hills of Mid-City LA.

Our bicycle police escorts made us feel very safe on the otherwise dangerous streets of LA. I would have never done this bike ride otherwise! They helped us ride through the many Mid-City streets without stopping and made it easy cross busy streets like Vermont, Western and Highland.

The pace of the group allowed us to talk to each and make new friends. Someone even brought music for the ride. For a few seconds it was great to reclaim Fourth Street as a pleasant temporary open space.

By a stroke of luck of pure, much-welcomed luck the Los Angeles Department of Transportation has not molested Fourth Street by removing parkways to widen it. Fourth Street is narrow and comfortable by LA standards and is a treasure trove of urban history, architecture, and diversity. The street changes from straight to nice gentle curves resembling the street of a nice Mid-Western historic suburb. The landscape along Fourth Street improves drastically from a landscape-poor street to a nice tree-lined street. Biking through the narrow streets of Hancock Park reminded me of riding on the bike boulevards of Palo Alto.

Lining Fourth Street in Mid-City are Gothic, Spanish and other eclectic multi-family buildings built in the 1920’s , with a new few stucco boxes thrown in for good measure. The dense neighborhoods house many Latinos and Asians. Many of these residents were gathered in green spots in the front or side yards, parkways or on their balconies, out enjoying the cool breezes. These dense neighborhoods of Mid-City then gave way to single-family homes in Hancock Park.

We rode along until we reached Park LaBrea and made a quick pitstop at the Fire Station on Third Street. From here we rode back and stopped at 31 Flavors ice cream shop, in Larchmont Village, for some free ice cream cones. By than it was dark and we proceed back to Shatto Park. As a cyclist I realize how important it is to have lighted bike paths, because in the dark it hard to spot the pot holes!

Fourth Street has the potential to become the City’s first bike boulevard. This bike route is a great east-west linkage in Mid-City, that can connect downtown with places like the Grove trendy Westside places.

The bike ride made me realize what a great biking city LA could become with the proper infrastructure investment. The bike movement in this city has been dominated by athletic males who can out smart cars, and feel we do not need bike lanes, paths or boulevards. For a vast majority of Angelenos, however riding a bike in this city is seen as a death wish. People act so surprise when I tell them I bike to work through downtown streets. I always reassure them that I bike very slowly on sidewalks making eye contact with every car driver on my way to work. It’s not worth getting hit by a car. Downtown needs bike boulevards!

As a transportation planner it is important to understand the geography of LA, how people move through it and what the mobility trends are.

Because this bike ride was a success, Councilman Tom Labonge will be hosting a bike ride on the last Thursday of the month. I will keep the team updated on this rides.

For more information, contact Carolyn Ramsay at (213)473-2340 or

Wednesday, August 22, 2007 article from Lys Mendez

Lys Mendez [] has sent you a story from
(Page at:

An opportunity for a suburban city to plan ahead may be lost to, again, revolve around the car.

Planned bike lanes causing problems for Temecula
10:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, August 21, 2007

TEMECULA - A small item on the city's master plan to promote quality of life has caused more consequences than intended.

Adding bike lanes to Meadows Parkway would force hundreds of cars off the street and into nearby residential areas, especially near Temecula Middle School, prompting school officials, parents and neighbors to question the move.

When the road is striped for bikes, cars cannot park or stop at any time. That would affect traffic and parking at three of the district's schools -- Rancho Elementary, Vintage Hills Elementary and Temecula Middle. Officials say the street is too narrow for both parking and bike lanes.


Story continues below


Members of the Temecula City Council and the Temecula Valley Unified School District board met Tuesday at the middle school to discuss the situation and possible solutions.

The committee reached no decision but asked staff from both sides to continue working on ideas.

"I would love to see both, but I doubt it would happen," said parent May Lora, whose children attend Vintage Hills, Temecula Middle and Temecula Valley High.

Bike lanes have been planned for Meadows Parkway since 1993, when the city adopted its master plan. However, officials wanted to wait for development to arrive on both sides of the road before striping them, City Manager Shawn Nelson said.

School Trustee Barbara Tooker said officials should consider the growth the city has since experienced.

Temecula Middle School, on Meadows Parkway, is the district's largest middle school with about 1,300 students. Built in 1990, the campus doesn't have enough parking for its staff, let alone parents ferrying their children to and from school.

The school district already has decided to convert some grassy areas on campus into additional staff parking, but is still unsure how to address the traffic flow without affecting student safety or nearby residences.

Principal Rob Sousa said no access to Meadows Parkway could cause some parents to park illegally or let their children out at unsafe places. Also, students could dart into traffic.

"I am concerned that having no parking will cause people to make poor decisions," Sousa said.

Traffic from parents who use Meadows Parkway already spills onto side streets.

"In the morning, sometimes we can't get in and out of our driveways," said Gene Chalkley, who lives on Camino Alagon along the west side of Temecula Middle School.

Chalkley said the problem isn't just caused by school parents, but continues at night and on weekends when the campus converts to a city park.

"If you take Meadows away, that's going to make a bad situation impossible," he said.

Parent Carol Buck, who lives in Temecula Valley Wine Country, said parents could ignore the bike lanes.

"I think parents are still going to park there and hope they won't get a ticket," she said.

Bill Bibb, who lives on Calle Marquis near the school, said he rides his bike almost daily and sees the dangers.

"Clearly, there has to be a solution to this problem, but I don't think we should do it at the cost of either side," he said. "Bikes are going to be there and so are parents."

Councilwoman Maryann Edwards agreed.

"It's a school and it's a neighborhood," she said. "The two have to coexist."

Reach Claudia Bustamante at 951-375-3740 or

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

LAtino Urban Forum Site Redux

¡Saaaaaz! LAtino Urban Forum's website is up n' going again. Newly (and constantly updated) material ranging from stories to digital media...non-stop. Newly added features & sections that accommodate for podcasting (video etc.) and other visual forms of communication. We're planners, urban designers, architects...what else did u expect? We just ain't gonna "discuss," "analyze" or "rant" about things, we're going to create & visualize them. Bookmark and check often, shoot subscribe to the RSS feeds or whatever else is in there. Blast James on your earphone set, "what you listening to sunn? That new that new LUF Digital Panel dunn! its blaazzzin"


Latino Urban Forum

Vigil for Arellano/cry for justice on steps of federal building

About 150 supporters of Elvira Arellano attended a vigil and press conference late afternoon yesterday in front of the federal building on Los Angeles Street downtown. Reacting angrily to the arrest and deportation of Arellano on Sunday – the undocumented-immigrant-turned-activist who had been harbored at a church sanctuary for about a year in Chicago – the group vowed to continue the fight for justice in the form of green cards to the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the US.

(Attending the vigil along with immigrant-rights and social-justice groups CHIRLA and CLUE was Bienestar, a gay Latino health-services organization, which took the opportunity to both show support for the deported Arellano as well as to call for justice another, lesser-known Arellano, a yet unluckier victim of immigration authorities: Victoria Arellano, a transgender woman who died last month for lack of medical attention in a detention center while awaiting deportation. An AIDS patient, the 23-year-old’s desperate appeals for access to her confiscated medications was denied throughout the months she was held and only received medical care once it was too late. You can read about her wrongful death and the scandalous conditions of US immigration detention centers at A rally protesting her death is planned next week on Monday at the same place, 300 North Los Angeles Street.)

Arellano and her 8-year-old son, who was born in the US, were on a speaking tour across the country calling for such immigration reform. Though she and supporting activists say they always knew she could end up arrested and deported, they were probably betting the Bush Administration would back off in recognition of the symbolic power of Arellano’s actions. But it looks like the strategy backfired, for the Bushies are desperate to look tough after a string of recent defeats: losing control of Congress, failure in Iraq, failure to reform immigration law, etc.

Or maybe the strategy didn’t fail. Even though Arellano didn’t get very far, the event may serve to galvanize pro-immigrant supporters and church leaders to energize the fledgling sanctuary movement and push more strongly for fair immigration reform.

Perhaps one way Arellano could continue to fight for immigrants in the US while living south of the border would be if immigrant-rights groups north of the border provide her with financial support while she presses the Mexican government to take up the immigrants’ cause. This is an issue Mexicans of every political stripe would support. Yet in his meeting this past weekend with Mexico’s NAFTA partners (the US and Canada), President Calderon’s priorities hardly included bettering the lot of poor Mexicans – north or south of the border. Instead, the conservative leaders of the three countries discussed further liberalization of their economies, which benefit their corporate supporters at the expense of the poor. Free trade is to blame for deteriorating quality of life and social security in all three countries through the loss of well-paying jobs in the US and Canada and by overwhelming Mexico’s farmers with cheap (subsidized) agricultural products that run them off the land and, ultimately, out of the country. A Mexican president concerned about the poor would defy US pressure to maintain laissez-faire policies and would begin to more-fairly redistribute the country’s vast wealth, reducing poor Mexicans’ need to emigrate. Or… he would demand that free trade in North America took after that in the European Union, where all factors of production, including labor, are able to freely cross borders.

Icy, spicy, cool

This story was sent to you by: lys mendez

The LA Times went crazy over the Pinkberry yogurt wars on the Westside, and it seems like they recently discovered the iced wonders that Latinos have enjoyed in the barrio for decades.

Icy, spicy, cool


By Betty Hallock

August 22 2007

SUMMERTIME is paleta time. These Mexican ice pops -- chock-full of chunks of fresh fruit and available in a hypnotizing array of colors and clear, not-too-sweet flavors -- conjure images of hot afternoons in the park, time spent on a bench under a shady tree, clear blue skies dotted with red, white and green balloons.

The complete article can be viewed at:,0,4238103.story?coll=la-home-middleright

Visit at

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sunset Junction

Sad but true Sunset Junction is no longer what it used to be. I have been going since the early nineties. The people, prices and place has changed. Back then it was $3 dollars and the crowd was very diverse. The diversity made it interesting. Families, gays, straights all doing their own thing. Today its generic hippster! It look very boring. This time around I did not bother to go inside. I guess I will have to find some where else to hang out.

James Rojas

Treepeople--11th Hour 2nd Showing

Nate commented earlier about the screening of the film "11th Hour," which will also be showing at the Arclight in Hollywood. You can also probably get it before then in front of el Mercado del Valley en Pacoima. Here's the link from Tri Peepol's volunteer e-mail.

Tri pipol Link

Wednesday, Aug. 22
7:30 p.m.
$11 admission
Arclight Cinema

Website Almost there

Between personal life, school, work, activism, and photography....its Almost there! Just working out some server/domain issues. ANyhow, check out the screenshot of the newly Added Places section. In this section we will showcase interesting destination points a la Latino urbanism in SoCal. You won't find the future Downtown LA Earth Cafe or the new hipster bar, but you will find a guide to the Murals on Broadway. Peep it.

LUF Blogger at LAist

LUF Blogger Lys has been invited to post over at the mega-popular L.A. centric site LAist!

Her first two posts feature an interview with "Departures" creator Juan Devis, and an announcement about El Vez's recent performance this past Saturday... (Hopefully, she'll not forget about the blogito.)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunset Junction no longer welcomes the poor

The Sunset Junction Street Fair seems to have officially departed from its original mission of bringing together and improving relations between the working-class Latino families and the gay men and women coexisting in Silverlake.

In a sad and ironic twist, the increasingly famous annual two-day event - which was held this weekend for the 27th time - had an admissions fee of $15 per person and turned away anyone who couldn't come up with the money, explaining why so extremely few families with children could be seen making their way through the multitudes. In the past, donations were asked for at the entrance but not required, allowing poorer (as well as stingier) folks to get in, though they still had pay inflated prices for a drink or a bite to eat once inside. This year, the crowd appeared to be mostly white, often gay, and between ages 22 and 50.

The event appeared to be well attended despite the entrance fee, reflecting its rising popularity among people in other neighborhoods who are willing to drive in to have a good time. But perhaps it also reflects another, sadder truth: poor Latino families have already been priced out not only of the fair, but of Silverlake and, increasingly, the city.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The 11th Hour

The 11th Hour opens in L.A. today (and New York). Last night, a pre-screening was held, followed by a "panel discussion" featuring FOLAR executive director Shelly Backlar and an air quality guy I can't remember the name of, MC'd by a guy from 97.1's Free FM. I got my free ticket because I receive updates from F.O.L.A.R. I assume that's probably where James received his invitation as well; he was a couple rows behind me and said hello as a friend and I made our way to a couple of the last remaining seats in the moments before the film started.

It's a pretty good movie. I could have done with a little less of Leo and his voice over (DeCaprio produced the film). But he honestly didn't over do it, and as my friend also argued, he'll probably help attract more people to watch this kind of necessary viewing that tends to get overlooked. It features a number of experts, and a couple of my personal favorites, including Wes Jackson of The Land Institute, and William McDonough, author of a great book, Cradle to Cradle, and others from a variety of disciplines, backgrounds, and traditions. (I actually observed one guy pumping a fist when Andy Lipkis, of Tree People, made an appeance--which I found a little amusing). I was especially glad to see the documentary get hopeful at the end. I find the gloom and doom approach to be a little ridiculous and harping in most instances. But things are in dire straits, and the movie does a good job of detailing our realities comprehensively, while the healthy stock of hope helps make it easier to confront the issues we need to.

I found the "panel discussion" at the end to be a little disappointing. Too many people shouting out their own PSAs about their own organizations (LUF refrained from doing so, thankfully), with too few really thoughtful questions posed to the panelists. The almost best one, to me, was when a woman asked, What's the most daunting challenge of the panelists' work, excluding finding resources? Backlar responded that the toughest challenge is focusing on what can be done, and what should be done by FOLAR in particular, out of the whole host of good options and work that needs to be done. Tellingly, the air quality guy said the toughest challenge is resources, resources, resources. Which leads me to what I think would have been the best question asked last night if I had been able to articulate it and pose it in time:

When non-profits have to compete with each other for resources, from constituent citizens and government and foundation grants, how are they not to get caught up in the ends game of securing money and growth?

Collaboration seems to be key. But collaboration is tough, especially considering that our systems and institutions seem to design our organizations to compete wth each other to each other's death...

11th Hour's companion action site is at

Friday, August 17, 2007

Community street fair in BH on August 18

Organized by Unión de Vecinos, Boyle Heights's first community street fair to feature entirely local merchants and organizations will take place tomorrow at Fickett and Cesar Chavez. Unlike other fairs around here, such as the one on the Sixth Street bridge, it is almost entirely the very señoras living in the neighborhood who are getting together to make this happen. Sweeping and scrubbing sidewalks, and picking up trash, setting up shop and cooking at home the food to be sold there... they're making the event possible.

An essential part of the event will be several educational workshops on various themes, such as tenants' rights, how to fight an eviction, how to get health and housing codes enforced and other issues faced by local residents.

Unión de Vecinos as as association of residents in BH that includes both landlords and tenants seeking to improve the quality of life in the community. A branch of the group is the Sindicato de Inquilinos, which is a tenants' union.

Anyway, it'll be worth checking out.

URGENT: Elephant Hill Update & Alert

Action Alert * Action Alert * Action Alert * Action Alert * Action Alert
Huizar Pushes Back Against Surprise Action to Approve Elephant Hill Building Permits
August 17, 2007
On Wednesday, August 15th, Councilmember Jose Huizar submitted a motion (below) under Charter Section 245 that would assert City Council jurisdiction over the surprise vote by the Board of Public Works (BPW) on August 8th to approve the building permits for Tract 35022 on Elephant Hill. Councilmember Huizar's motion will come before City Council at 10 a.m., Tuesday, September 11, 2007.
The Board of Public Works (BPW) acted on recommendations by the Bureau of Engineering. Bureau staff testified that, because the June 20th Council motion requiring a Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) for Tract 35022 did not specifically address the building permit issue, it was OK for the BPW to approve it. Complicating matters, on July 26th developer Monterey Hills Investors filed a lawsuit against the City Council's SEIR action.
In order for Huizar's motion to pass and the Council to gain authority over the BPW action, a two thirds (2/3) vote by the full Council is required. This means there must be 10 votes in favor of this motion. Please take action today to ensure that reason and environmental justice prevail over the developer's onerous tactics and insider politics. Together we can continue to make a difference!
  1. Write, email or call Councilmember Huizar thanking him for introducing this motion and his continued leadership to ensure environmental protections for the residents of El Sereno.
· Jose Huizar (CD 14) or 213-473-7014; Address: 200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012.
  1. Write or email City Councilmembers asking them to support Huizar's motion to assert authority over the BPW building permit approval for Tract 35022 and uphold their vote for an SEIR for this project. The mailing address for all Councilmembers: 200 N. Spring St. , Los Angeles , CA 90012 . Email addresses follow:
· Ed Reyes (CD 1) –
· Wendy Gruel (CD 2) –
· Dennis Zine (CD 3) -
· Tom LaBonge (CD 4) –
· Tony Cardenas (CD 6) –
· Richard Alarcon (CD 7) –
· Bernard Parks (CD 8) –
· Jan Perry (CD 9) –
· Herb Wesson (CD 10) –
· Bill Rosenthal (CD 11) -
· Eric Garcetti (CD 13) –
· Janice Hahn (CD 15) -
  1. Attend the City Council meeting where Councilmember Huizar's motion will be heard at 10 a.m., Tuesday, September 11, in Council Chambers, Room 340, City Hall., 200 S. Spring Street (enter on Main).
For more information contact:
* * * * * * *
MOTION -Submitted August 15, 2007
On November 28, 2006, the City Council referred a Motion (Huizar-Hahn) to the Planning and Land Use Management Committee that requested, among other things: (1) That the Planning Department, Building and Safety and the Bureau of Engineering, with the assistance of the City Attorney, to prepare a report, to determine whether the most recent grading plans and designs for the Pueblo Subdivision, evaluated against the previous Environmental Impact Report No. 172-85 (SUB)(REC), and its associated Statement of Overriding Considerations, trigger the need for a subsequent or supplemental Environmental Impact Report; (2) Whether new information of substantial importance related to the hydrology of the hillside triggers the need for a subsequent or supplemental Environmental Impact Report; (3) Whether all feasible mitigation measures, in light of substantial changes to the project and new information, have been incorporated into the Pueblo Subdivision Project; and (4) Whether any other circumstances exist that would merit conducting further environmental review under t he California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), including CEQA Guidelines (Sections 15162-15164).
The Motion further requested that no discretionary, ministerial action or approval be granted for the Pueblo Subdivision Project, or any portion thereof, by the Planning Department, Building and Safety and the Bureau of Engineering, until the above-described report is presented to the City Council.
On June 20, 2007, the City Council took the following two actions regarding this matter:
(1) "Received and Filed" the report of the Planning and Land Use Management Committee that was submitted without recommendation; and (2) Adopted a Verbal Motion (Huizar-Zine) relative to whether a further Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is required for the Pueblo Subdivision Project, to "require that a supplemental EIR be completed for this Project."
On August 8, 2007, the Board of Public Works adopted a recommendation of the City Engineer to: (1) Complete the remaining ministerial actions of issuing a B-Permit for work specified in the conditions for both Tract (No. 35022) and Parcel (No. AA-205-0849-PMLA) maps; (2) Process the Resolution of Acceptance for the dedication of land for the Pullman Street realignment adopted by the City Council on September 28, 2005; (3) Accept the final parcel map for recordation; and (4) Issue all other ministerial permits associated with the development of the Pueblo Avenue Subdivision (Elephant Hill).

The action of the Board to issue the B-Permits and take the other described actions is inconsistent with the City Council directive that supplemental environmental review be conducted on this project before it proceeds.
I THEREFORE MOVE the City Council take the necessary steps to assert jurisdiction over the August 8, 2007, action of the Board of Public Works in adopting a report of the City Engineer recommendation to (1) Complete the remaining ministerial actions of issuing a B-Permit for work specified in the conditions for both Tract (No. 35022) and Parcel (No. AA-205-0849-PMLA) maps; (2) Process the Resolution of Acceptance for the dedication of land for the Pullman Street realignment adopted by the City Council on September 28, 2005; (3) Accept the final parcel map for recordation; and (4) Issue all other ministerial permits associated with the development of the Pueblo Avenue Subdivision (Elephant Hill).
I FURTHER MOVE that upon assertion of jurisdiction by the City Council, that this matter be referred to the Planning and Land Use Management Committee.
PRESENTED BY Councilmember Jose Huizar
SECONDED BY Councilmember Tom LaBonge

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Affordable Housing Article--San Fernando Sun

For all the folks interested in affordable housing, but then again who shouldn't be!? There's a couple of stories on affordable housing, testimonials, stats in this week's edition. Imma start living online soon enough, the rent is cheaper here anyway. Personalized addresses, saz!
Um, the link won't post, weak. ok no such thing as free rent, cut n' paste it homies.

(EDIT: since Cowboy Galactico didn't know how, I snuck and in hyperlinked it for ustedes... and here's a link to one of the specific articles he mentioned: "Housing Remains at Crisis Stage in Los Angeles County" - Nate)

Northeast Los Angeles Planning Session

Councilman Jose Huizar's second community-based planning discussion in Eagle Rock on Tuesday focused on the future of smart growth in Los Angeles.

The panelists included: Mike Woo, city planning commissioner; Emily Gabel-Luddy of the Urban Design Studio with the city; Woodie Tescher with EIP Associates; William Fain with Johnson Fain, who all spoke about the virtues of creating transit-based development around the city.

Several noteworthy points were brought up in the discussion: If we laid out every space dedicated to parking in Los Angeles, it would cover 81 percent of the city. The average Los Angeles car carries 1.2 people per ride. Only four percent of the city is dedicated to open space, compared to 17 percent for New York City. Repeatedly, the panelist discussed the ills that we already know plague the city - that we are too car-centered, that cities weren't designed to encourage pedestrian use, and that our auto-centered culture is no longer sustainable.

I was disappointed at the lack of diversity among the audience and panelists, especially in a council district such as Huizar's, considering that these sessions are meant to make planning issues accessible to the community. I submitted several questions on the impact of so-called "smart growth" on the gentrification of our communities and it was barely discussed or properly answered. However, the awareness that issues of density, land use, how we move around, and the creation of liveable communities was actively discussed. Although no exact vision for how it will all come together was articulated, the discussion seems to be moving along and involving the various agencies with a stake in community development.

Huizar will hold two more sessions:
Economic Development - Encouraging Small Business
Wed., Sept. 19 at 7 p.m.
El Sereno Senior Center, 4818 Klamath Place

Historic Preservation - A Link to Revitalization
Tues., Sept. 25 at 7 p.m.
Center for the Arts in Eagle Rock, 2225 Colorado Blvd.

"Southland home sales hit 12-year low"

This story highlighted a few things for me:

1) People consider low-income neighborhoods as "entry-level" homes, meaning they have no interest in settling there and starting a community.

2) The housing market is a reflection of the destabilization of the lower and middle class, who can lose all the have very quickly because of the lack of a safety net.

3) An economy based on housing speculation is unsustainable.

Southland home sales hit 12-year low

Even most creditworthy borrowers are feeling the crunch.

By Annette Haddad
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

August 15 2007

Would-be home buyers in Southern California continued to sit on the sidelines last month, driving down home sales to their slowest pace in 12 years and pushing down prices in the region's less-expensive neighborhoods, data released Tuesday showed.

The complete article can be viewed at:,1,3968915.story?coll=la-headlines-california

Visit at

Wednesday, August 15, 2007 "Cybermural: The Web as the Wall"

Boyle Heights makes it to the New York Times. An interesting story on the intersections of art, gentrification, changing urban landscapes and Latino urbanism.

ARTS / ART & DESIGN | August 12, 2007
Art: Cybermural: The Web as the Wall
An online travelogue strongly suggests a new twist on the Los Angeles muralism of the 1970s...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

the LUF bomb

About to drop the LUF bomb within the next 2 days. Newly Designed & formatted and CONSTANTLY updated website. Too many "urbanist"/downtown LA & "me" driven blogs/site are monopolizing urban space discussion on Los Angeles. its time.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Weekly Calendar

Latino Urban Forum

Meetings, activities and events that promote our mission as of August 13, 2007

1. Cornfields State Park Meeting

2. Global Warming Forum

3. Discussion: smart growth • urban design • transit development

4. Parking Day LA Lecture

5. City Housing Element

6. LA Architects in China and the Far East

7. Discussion: economic development • encouraging small business

8. Parking Day LA

9. Discussion: historic preservation • a link to revitalization

10. 2008 APA State Conference Brainstorming

11. Conference: California Walks

12. Conference: APA State Conference, San Jose

13. Conference: Walk 21

14. ART: Landscaping America : Beyond the Japanese Garden ,"

15. Article LA Times Downtown LA

Introductory Transportation Planning Class!

Regional Land Use & Transportation Planning, Transit Planning and Operations Class. Projects to be discussed include: SCAG Regional Transportation Plan, Playa Vista TDM program, Pasadena Mobility Element, Universal Studios Master Plan and many others. Pat Gibson is a transportation planner and excellent instructor! This is a great introductory course on transportation and land use. I have taken this very informative class. Register on line at East Los Angeles College . For more details contact Pat Gibson at (310) 458-9916

Class meets on Wednesdays from Sept. 5. 2007 to Dec. 12, 2007 at Metro Headquarters. Time: 6:00 to 9:00.

Informational session Thursday, Aug. 16 @ noon at Metro Union Station Room!

James Rojas

Visit or LatinoUrbanForum

And especially, the Blogito!
___________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ ____

Tuesday August 14, 2007 @ 7:00 p.m.

Please join California State Parks and Hargreaves Associates for a community meeting about the next phase of work for the park.

Location: St. Peter's Italiana Church
1051 N. Broadway, Los Angeles
____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _______

Thursday, August 16, 2007 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Global Warming Forum

Congresswoman Hilda Solis will be hosting a Global Warming Forum.

The purpose of the event is to discuss local challenges and opportunities facing Los Angeles County as a result of climate change. To be addressed are: 1) pressures on local resources, 2) initiatives underway in Greater Los Angeles to protect communities against these impacts and 3) economic opportunities associated with actions to become more energy efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Location: California State University , Los Angeles
____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ ________

Friday, August 17, 2007 @ Noon
Park(ing) Day Los Angeles Lecture

September 21, 2007.

Come join the at Farmlab Public Salon and learn about what is Park(ing) Day, and how to get involved.

Based on a successful event started by the ReBAR Group and the Trust for Public Land in San Francisco , on Park(ing) day, local folks reclaim public space by creating temporary parks in parking spaces throughout the city. Caravans of bicyclists deliver sod, potted trees, benches and chairs. Pedestrians stop and relax on their way through the city.

Park(ing) Day creates a dialog about cities, creativity, lack of open space, and how much real estate we give over to our cars. Salon will include showing the ReBAR group's 16-minute Parking Day documentary

Location: Farmlab

Near Cornfields
____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ ____

Wednesday, August 15, 2007 @ 7 pm


Panelist: William Fain, FAIA, Johnson Fain Architects, Emily Gabel-Luddy, Urban Design Studio, City of Los Angeles, Woodie Tescher, EIP Associates, a Division of PBS&J, Mike Woo, Los Angeles City Planning Commission

Location: Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock 2225 Colorado Blvd. Los Angeles , CA 90041

____________ _________ _________ _________ _______

LA City is updating its Housing Element. Please attend if you are interested in shaping the Housing Element. Contact Naomi Guth (info at the bottom) for further information.

Housing Preservation
Thursday, August 16th
2:00 - 4:00 pm
Location TBD

Housing Preservation
Thursday, August 23rd
2:00 - 4:00 pm
Location TBD

Naomi Guth
City Planning Department
City of Los Angeles
200 N. Spring St., Room 721
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: (213) 978-1363 (direct)
Fax: (213) 978-4656
Email: Naomi.Guth@lacity. org

Wednesday, August 29, 7PM-9:30PM
LA Architects in China and the Far East

AIA/ Los Angeles Urban Design Committee

In August we have the rare pleasure of a presentation by FOUR premiere LA architects presenting recent work in China and Korea . After a brief presentation by the four participants, there will be a moderated discussion focusing on challenges and opportunities for architecture and urban design in the Far East , and the varying design philosophies of the panelists.
Presenters/Panelist s
Robert Shaffer, AIA, Associate Principal, Johnson Fain will present several recent projects in China including Central Business District in Beijing
James Mary O'Connor, AIA, Principal Moore Ruble Yudell will present ChunSenBiAn master planning project in Chongquing, China
Herb Nadel, FAIA, Chairman and CEO, Nadel Architects will present Hunan Urban Village, Seoul, Korea

Robert Jernigan, AIA, Principal / Managing Director, Gensler will present Shanghai Pudong Development Bank

RSVP by Tuesday, August 28 to stephanie_reich@ longbeach. gov

Location: AIA/LA Offices

Wiltern Building

3870 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 800

___________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ ____

Friday September 21, 2007

Parking Day LA

Imagine turning a metered parking space into a park. In 2005 a small group out of San Francisco called Rebar, did just that. Rebar opened eyes worldwide with their comment on the lack of quality open space in American cities. Their goal was to reclaim parking spaces and streets for people to rest, relax and play while:

· Promoting a critical dialogue among artists, designers, activists, residents, corporations, and government regarding the need for urban open space and the way in which streets are currently used.

· Energizing civic life by questioning basic assumptions about urban space while offering provocative and meaningful alternatives.

· Connecting artists, designers, and activists with ways to permanently reclaim the street for people.

Here in Los Angeles , a diverse group of committed professionals have been inspired by this idea and have come together to bring Park[ing] Day to Los Angeles on September 21, 2007. In the spirit of Rebar's goals, our mission is to reclaim public space over-occupied by parking spaces for parks and people.

Will your parking space be transformed into a park on September 21st?

Contact 213.622.5980 or info@parkingdayla. com

www.rebargroup. org
____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ ______

New Meeting date: 2008 American Planning Association State Conference

The 2008 APA State Conference will be held in Hollywood next year. A volunteer committee has been formed to help plan the conference. Many of us have volunteered to organize workshops on Cultural Planning Issues in LA and the state. We want to develop a strong cultural planning agenda that can address issues and as well as highlight stellar projects that provide innovated solutions to land use problems in communities of color. Please contact James Rojas

Location: 725 S. Spring Street #12
LA, CA. 90014

Wednesday, September 19, 2007 @ 7 pm

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT • ENCOURAGING SMALL BUSINESS Panelist: Richard Benbow, Community Development Department, Jack Keyser, L.A. County Economic Development Corporation, James Rodriguez, CB Richard Ellis, Retail Brokerage Services, and Kent Smith, Fashion District Business Improvement District

Location: El Sereno Senior Center
4818 Klamath Place

Los Angeles, CA 90032
____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ ______

Wednesday, September 25, 2007 @ 7pm


Panelist: Richard Barron, Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission, Ken Bernstein, Office of Historic Resources, City of Los Angeles, Linda Dishman, Los Angeles Conservancy, Peyton Hall, FAIA, Historic Resources Group, and Michael Olecki, S. Carthay Historic Preservation Overlay Zone Board

Location: Center for the Arts
Eagle Rock 2225 Colorado Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90041
____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ ______

Audubon Film Fridays—our free, summer film series under the stars. Our film series begins on Friday, August 3rd with the feature film Hoot!, about the adventures of a group of teens who fight to protect a population of endangered owls in Florida .

We will start each Film Friday at 7 p.m. with a bird walk; the films start at 8 p.m. All films are family friendly and nature themed—the full line up is found below and in the attached flyer. Some films will be shown in English with Spanish subtitles; others will be shown in Spanish with English subtitles. Seating is limited so please arrive early. Refreshments will be available for purchase. Limited parking is available in the Center's parking lot; there is plenty of street parking and we have plenty of space for bicycles. Again, admission to Film Friday is free.

Aug. 17: Happy Feet (Spanish w/English subtitles)

Sept. 7: Winged Migration (English w/Spanish subtitles)

Sept. 21: Eyewitness: Bird (English w/Spanish subtitles); Ocean Oasis (Spanish w/English subtitles)

Oct. 5: The Life of Birds – 2 episodes (English)

With your help, Audubon Film Fridays will become a summer tradition at the Audubon Center . What better way to enjoy a hot summer evening than watching nature-themed movies outdoors with family, friends and neighbors in our courtyard??
___________ _________ _________ _________ _________ ________

"Landscaping America : Beyond the Japanese Garden ,"

June 17-Oct 21, 2007

This exhibition explores the history of Japanese American gardens and gardeners. The exhibit runs from. The opening day of the exhibit will be on Father's Day. We'll have live music and BBQ food vendors on the plaza.

Location: Japanese American National Museum

368 East First Street .
____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ ________


September 11-14, 2007

APBP Professional Development Seminar in Davis , CA -

Theme: "Walking and Bicycling – The Next Generation"

Registration rates GO UP after July 31 http://www.walkbike california. org/register. htm

Reserve lodging by August 11 or consider camping

Check out the PDS sessions at and the Walk/Bike California program at http://www.walkbike california. org/schedule. htm.

This is the first time APBP has partnered with a state bike/ped conference. Is your state next?

Walk21 Toronto – October 1-4, 2007

Register by July 31 for the early bird rate http://www.toronto. ca/walk21/ registration. htm

View the program and conference update news at http://www.toronto. ca/walk21/ index.htm

APBP served on the program planning team. Walk21 Toronto 2007 will bring together hundreds of delegates from around the world, will feature over 100 different presentations, numerous social and networking events, a poster session, walkshops, community events, and more. You're invited to Canada 's largest and most multicultural city for this exciting event!
___________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ ______



Youth Arts & Education Program, Department of Cultural Affairs


Administrative / Program Assistant


Department headquarters, downtown Los Angeles

24 hours per week (3 days per week)

August 22, 2007, 5:00 p.m.

The Youth Arts and Education Program of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs seeks a part-time ADMINISTRATIVE / PROGRAM ASSISTANT to provide administrative support and assistance in coordinating special projects such as exhibitions, citywide youth programs, outreach initiatives, grant program, education publications, and other related services. This position will provide on-going support for general office functions.

Schedule, plan, and coordinate meetings
Assist in coordinating outreach projects and education programs
Manage communications by phone, fax and email
Respond to calls/mailings
Prepare and distribute material by mail or email
Maintain program databases and manage files
Research using internet and/or traditional method(s)
Draft, edit, and process correspondence and other documents such as agendas and reports
Maintain files and update mailing list
Organize, edit and manage printed materials
Present informational workshops on programs to the public
Provide support to staff and volunteers as directed
Perform other related duties as assigned
Serve allied City offices and the public in the areas of youth arts, arts education, the arts, and cultural programming
Represent Youth Arts and Education Program at external events, meetings, or related activities as assigned

Must be punctual and detail oriented.
Self-motivated individual with highly developed organizational and communication skills.
Excellent oral and interpersonal communication skills.
Excellent writing skills an absolute must.
Strong proficiency working on PC, including Microsoft Word and Excel.
Strong research skills.
Ability to multi-task in a busy office.
Must have previous experience coordinating program and office experience.
Demonstrated ability to handle complex projects.
Must be able to take direction (directives) well.
Must be able to meet deadlines and manage multiple projects at once.
Must have patience; demonstrate creative thinking; and be resourceful.
Knowledge of Los Angeles arts and non profits desired.
At least two years demonstrated experience working in an office.

The above statements are intended to describe the general
nature and level of work performed in this position; they do not purport to describe all functions of the position. Other duties may be assigned and the essential functions of the position may change or be changed as necessary.

Before applying, please visit our website at www.culturela. org to get a sense of the organization and the Youth Arts and Education Program. Submit cover letter, resume, and three references via EMAIL ONLY to the Youth Arts and Education Program at

This position is administrative adn serves the youth of Los Angeles through the arts, local history, and education.

No phone calls please.


Good signs downtown, but vision still lacking
Steve Lopez

August 12, 2007

The ghost town is gone.

When I leave my office in the early evening, the downtown Los Angeles of years past is but a memory. People who live in transformed, long-abandoned buildings and trendy new towers are on foot, heading here and there and nowhere in particular.

The new and much-celebrated Ralphs, whose disciples are no less reverential than those who flock to Harrod's in London , has international wine tastings where no one drinks out of a brown paper sack. And I think it's generally a good sign that there are now more dogs than humans urinating on downtown sidewalks.

I like much of what I see. And with all this commerce and more to come, the potential benefits to the rest of the city (from shared tax revenue) and to the whole region (from new attractions around Staples Center and on Grand Avenue ) are huge.

But there's just as much potential for disaster. Pardon me for popping a few party balloons, but somebody has to.

In typical L.A. fashion, mega-developments and the redrawing of the skyline are underway with little in the way of long-term vision or planning. It's the same old let's-try-this- and-see-what- happens approach, with developers in the driver's seat.

Although public officials and the media spun last week's downtown zoning changes as a boon for desperately needed affordable housing, there is in fact no requirement that a single such unit be built -- there are merely incentives that developers may or may not choose to take advantage of.

As usual, the impact on traffic was not a consideration in any of this. Nor is anyone admitting that downtown will scare most people away until there's a commitment to build, and scatter across the region, enough supportive housing to clean up skid row once and for all.

And then there's the greenery problem.

Why do dogs do their business on sidewalks? Because there's nowhere else for them to go. Where are the pocket parks? Where are the benches for people to sit with a cup of coffee and a newspaper and watch the world go by?

Rather than do something about it, the geniuses at City Hall have just given developers the right to reduce the space between buildings and to squeeze up even closer to sidewalks.

"Everybody is talking about the need for more parks," said Ian Barnard, a downtown resident and an English professor at Cal State Northridge.

Actually, there's the Fashion Institute park, but that's small. And there's Pershing Square , but that is possibly the worst excuse for a city park in the entire Western Hemisphere . It's a sun-blasted wasteland and public embarrassment, and if it were up to me, I'd have the bulldozers out there tomorrow.

Meanwhile, a planned park at 1st and Spring was ditched for a new police administration building, and the civic mall redesign is a few years away and a little too far from much of the new downtown residential development.

How many people are going to hear the downtown buzz, make the move and then clear out a year later when they discover there's so little outdoor space in the heart of a city with the kind of weather that makes a person want to be outside?

Robert Harris, a downtown resident and a professor of architectural landscape at USC, argues that sidewalks constitute the greatest expanse of open space in downtown Los Angeles . Rather than squeeze them, he'd like to see them dressed up with benches and public art.

Beth Steckler of Livable Places would like to see little nooks and alcoves of downtown turned into miniature parks. To spur creativity, her public policy nonprofit is sponsoring a Sept. 21 campaign to convert areas as small as parking spaces into mini-parks (more information is at www.Parkingdayla. com).

It wouldn't take much imagination to convert dozens of downtown alleys into al fresco hangouts, but according to downtown developer Tom Gilmore, there's a reason only a few such places exist.

"The bureaucratic lead time to pedestrianize the alleys is a day shy of infinity," Gilmore said, adding that the city could easily streamline the hurdles.

"The city can get caught up in big plans and forget how much can be accomplished with little things. Look at all the little tiny 5,000-square- foot parking lots. The city could be buying those up and building parks, because those are the ones that people love -- the small neighborhood park that's built on a smaller scale."

Madeline Janis of the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy says the city should offer developers a menu of community-enhanceme nt options. If the downtown real estate market is so hot that builders want to bust density or height limits, they should be required to convert alleys, or add green space, or improve transit access, or offer a percentage of affordable housing units so people can walk to all the new jobs that might be created in the new downtown.

Imagine if all of those amenities were in place along with a new civic mall park.

Bill Witte, the Related Cos. chief who's in charge of that project, told me he plans to lobby the state for enough additional funding, on top of the budgeted $50 million in local funds, so there's a chance to build one of the great public spaces of the world.

I'll believe it when I see it, but let's say it happens. Let's say you can take the Red Line in from the Valley -- or Metrolink from Claremont -- and have an early dinner on a downtown sidewalk paved with Spanish tiles.

Then you take a shuttle -- I'd have them running on five-minute intervals -- to the new civic mall to watch a band from the Colburn School in the new outdoor amphitheater, or catch a movie under the stars, or watch opera in the park.

Maybe you go to a Lakers game or see a theatrical production in a rebuilt grand theater on Broadway, and then wander over to a re-imagined Pershing Square for a nightcap.

No, I'm not holding my breath.

But this is not farfetched, pie-in-the-sky stuff. With enough imagination, and a little leadership, it's a city center that could exist.


Urban Eats:

Farmer Markets in the Hood!

Tianguis: South Central Farmers Market.

Support Community Sustainable Agriculture (C.S.A.)

Music, high quality produce,

Date: First Sunday of every month (May 6th)

Time: 10:00 am. to 4:00 p.m.

Location: 41st and Alameda


Location: 1718 Bridge Street, Boyle Heights LA 90033
(In between State and Boyle behind White Memorial Medical Center )

To post events, activities or meetings that promote planning, cultural or dialogue contact James Rojas at 213 892-0918 or email Latinourbanforum@ Please submit post in a word document.