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The Trolley Took Us There 01.01.10

January 1, 2010

Alhambra remembers when the trolley took them there in the 2010 Rose Parade. Photo by l.a.photographer, via Flickr.

If you survived New Year’s Eve, you may have likely spent the morning enjoying (or gazing zombie-like) at this year’s Rose Parade up the Arroyo in Pasadena. This year, the nearby city of Alhambra remembers when they could take the Pacific Electric Red Car Trolley from Main & 6th Street in Downtown Los Angeles up Huntington Drive to Main Street in Alhambra. It was this streetcar that made the development of Alhambra possible in the early 1900′s.

Looking forward to a year full of remembering our past and building the future of 90042.

Happy New Year Highland Park!

Northeast LA Grinch

January 1, 2010

Because Metblogs Los Angeles couldn’t pull off a free and fair election of their annual Grinch of The Year contest, I offer this supplemental selection for Grinch of The Year in Northeast Los Angeles:


The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) easily wins this distinction for the all the grief caused to the citizens of  Northeast Los Angeles by proposing to extend the 710 Freeway by tunneling through our neighborhoods.

710 Storefront Church in El Serreno

Of course there are the 50 years of successful resistance by the residents of El Serreno, Alhambra, Pasadena and especially South Pasadena, to keep this freeway from being built through their communities. This fight has now been brought to NELA as Caltrans began doing test drilling around Mount Washington, Glassell Park, Lincoln Heights, Cypress Park and Highland Park in March of this year. The latest Manifest Destiny effort to extend the 710 Freeway is to bore at least five miles of tunnels under NELA or South Pasadena, or San Marino, or San Gabriel to Irwindale.

For $7 Million, I would have thought the study project drilling trucks would be plated in gold.

After 50 years and millions of dollars spent on the war to expand a failed transportation system into Pasadena, Caltrans continues to pursue this hopeless attempt with an almost religious fervor. It brings to mind the 2 Freeway that was originally designed to go from La Cañada to Santa Monica by replacing Sunset Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard with freeway lanes. But whereas that plan was abandoned at Glendale Boulevard in the late 1960′s, the 710 Long Beach Freeway to the 210 Foothill Freeway is still being pursued thanks primarily to one lobby group: The Trucking Lobby. At the other end of the 710 are the ports of Long Beach & San Pedro; our nation’s busiest ports, and according to the Trucking Lobby, the six freeways that the 710 crosses aren’t enough.

What really gets me is how this $7 Million drilling effort got NELA worked up as if the state would really build a 10 mile east to west tunnel through local earthquake faults from Alhambra to Eagle Rock just to get the stub of the 710 to connect to another freeway. Would Caltrans really spend billions of dollars to tunnel away from their original destination in Pasadena? I don’t think so. What was accomplished by this tunnel study, was getting our communities and our local elected representatives to unite against this unnecessary and wasteful venture.

Caltrans also earned special bonus points for Ginchyness with their lack-luster designs and poor communications regarding the current Pasadena Freeway construction project that will last until Spring 2011.

Congratulations Caltrans! Hopefully some day you will live up to the transportation portion of your name, and all that encompasses. Rather than just trying to pave the state.

Survey Says: Don’t Dump Trees, Recycle Them!

December 28, 2009

Alley Abandonment is a popular post-Christmas ritual in Highland Park.

Half way through the annual Highland Park Survey, and there are two common things I have come across: Lots of barking dogs, and lots of holiday memories dumped in gutters and alleyways in the form of Christmas Trees.

Luckily, there are alternatives to this cruel seasonal practice: Rapid Composting (my favorite dignified disposal method, but not recommended for most), and the City of Los Angeles Tree Recycling Program.

Tuesday is Trash Day in Highland Park. (Monday for the other parts of 90042.) In previous years, the Los Angeles City Sanitation Department required that you cut up your tree and fit it into your Green Yard Waste Barrel. Great news, one less step! Starting this year, LA City SAN is only requiring that you place the tree NEXT to the Green Barrel at the curb.

If you miss Trash Day, another opportunity to do right by your tree and turn it into mulch, will be Saturday, January 2nd & 3rd from 9AM to 4PM, when you can drop off your tree at the Highland Park Senior Center, 6142 N. Figueroa Street (at York Blvd.) In exchange for your tree, the city gives away pine tree saplings and compact florescent bulbs.

Now if we could just figure out what to do with all those analog television sets on the curb.

Militant Locationist Rant

December 27, 2009

Recently in our humble corner of Los Angeles, a brewery opened. Which is great news to anyone, (especially myself) who enjoys what Benjamin Franklin said was, “proof that God loves us.”

Microbrewing is something I have supported for a long, long, and expensive time. Having a new microbrewery nearby is a wonderful thing. The only problem is the name. And what is in a name? To quote Shakespeare, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Maybe so, but out of the millions of names to engrave on your mast, the brewers of this new brewery have chosen to name their venture after a location here in Northeast Los Angeles. It’s good to represent, right? The name of this new establishment is Eagle Rock Brewery. Great, Eagle Rock is a fine place; home to many of my favorite festivals, restaurants, stores, and newspapers. The only problem is the brewery is not located in Eagle Rock 90041, but in Glassell Park 90065.

So the question is, why is it called Eagle Rock Brewery? Maybe if it were on Eagle Rock Boulevard, but it’s off San Fernando Road near Fletcher Drive. From my understanding, the brewers, father & son team of Steve and Jeremy Raub were long-time home brewers. Did this start in an Eagle Rock garage, and they didn’t want to let go of the name? What is the inspiration?

The reason I bring this up now, is what Jeremy Raub recently wrote in response to an accusation made by Brian Frobisher, regarding the name choice on the The NELA List:

“I suppose you’re the type of person who avoids a “Hollywood Video”
located in Burbank, or a “Patagonia” located in Pasadena, so I don’t
expect to see you at Eagle Rock Brewery (in Glassell Park) anytime

His response never answers the question as to why they choose the name of Eagle Rock, for a place located in Glassell Park.

If they wanted to name it for a place, why not just Glassell Brewery? Or Northeast LA Brewery? Heck, being where it is, it could have passed as Atwater Brewery. Or how about Avenues Brewery? (The notorious Drew Street being just bullet shot away.) Or even Angel City Brewery would have been more location-appropriate. (Angel City is brewed in Torrence, outside the City of Angels.)

The thing is, if you are going to name your place after a place, don’t you think it should at least be in that place, in the first place?

Glassell Park has a bit of Culver City going on with it. The community has long had its traditional industrial area, now being used by such companies as Playboy Enterprises, Intelligentsia Coffee, and the latest being Eagle Rock Brewery. A lower-profile place with higher-profile companies moving in. Culver City’s once traditional industrial warehouses with lower rent, have now been replaced by boutique production houses and studios.

Whatever the direction Glassell Park is going, as for this beer drinker, there will be an extra bit of bitterness not derived from the hops in the Glassell Park-brewed Eagle Rock Brewery beer.

Highland Park Surveying

December 24, 2009

It is that time again. Time for the Highland Park Survey 2009. Time to photograph the life and times of 90042. And once again, you the Highland Parker, Garvanzan, Hermonite, Monterey Hillian, and public at-large, are invited to contribute to the photographic document that is our home on the last week of the year.

Please join the Highland Park Survey 2009 Group on flickr, and take photos of this place within the zip code 90042, between Christmas Day 2009 and New Year’s Day 2010, then share them with the group.

Let’s see what has changed, what is new, what is lost, what beauty is hidden within this diamond in the rough.

Comfort & Joy: The Non-Profits of 90042

December 23, 2009

Gotta hand it to ALZA, he's down with the Burrito Project.

Life is a gift. All that we ask is that you leave this planet better than how you found it.

Make your millions. Amass stability, safety, and security. Give away what is left.  –Because in the end, you cannot take it with you.

This zip code is home to some of Los Angeles’ oldest, and most ambitious non-profit charitable organizations. In the spirit of the holidays, and as a year-end effort to give away some money and get a write-off on your 2009 Tax returns, here is a short list of 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organizations within 90042. (And a special few based nearby)

840 N. Avenue 66
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Founded on Avenue 66 in Garvanza in 1919 as the Kiddie Koop Orphanage, Hathaway Home for Children grew and merged into Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services in 2005. Today the Gavanza campus is used as a Family Resource Center providing youth enrichment services to under-served communities such as our own.

“Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services, is one of the largest, nonprofit, private children’s mental health and welfare agencies in Los Angeles County, provides a comprehensive continuum of services to over 11,000 children and families annually through a network of facilities stretching across the greater Los Angeles area including the San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, and the Antelope Valley.  Services include: a residential treatment center for youth ages six through 18; foster care and adoption services; a nonpublic school; school-based and outpatient mental health services; wraparound and in-home counseling services; a transitional living program for teens; a family resource center; and a grief and loss center for children.  The agency is licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services, certified by the Department of Mental Health, and accredited through The Joint Commission.”

Donate here.

Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services
6957 North Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Originally established as a farm at this address by Mr. & Mrs. Jacob Strickland in 1906, the orphanage began with an orphaned nephew, before being incorporated into the Strickland Home for Boys in 1914. In the 1930′s the Optimist Club would expand the orphanage, creating Optimist Boys’ Home and Ranch. Today the campus on Figueroa provides comprehensive treatment, specialized education and support services to abused, neglected and at-risk youth and their families, including adolescents on probation.

“Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services’ core program is a 24-hour residential-care facility for 99 boys in five dormitories and three independent living units.  The agency also operates two group homes that care for six boys each and two group homes for six girls each; transitional living programs for emancipated youth, the Foster Family & Adoption Services with 90 children in foster homes; a non-public high school serving 200 youngsters, a variety of Mental Health programs, most of which are community based, and transitional housing programs in Orange and Riverside counties.”

Ways to Help.

Arroyo Arts Collective
P.O. Box 50835, York Station
Highland Park, CA 90050-0835

“The Arroyo Arts Collective was established in 1989 as a community organization of artists, writers and performers who live and work in Northeast Los Angeles, including the neighborhoods of Highland Park, Mt. Washington, Montecito Heights, Cypress Park, Lincoln Heights and Eagle Rock. Historically rich in tradition, the area bordering the Arroyo Seco was Los Angeles’ first cultural center at the beginning of the 20th century and the site of the Southwest Museum, the city’s first. A large concentration of artists continues to reside in northeast Los Angeles in some of the city’s most thoroughly multicultural and richly diverse neighborhoods.

The mission of the Arroyo Arts Collective is to develop and present creative events that educate and expand the audience for culture while creating an awareness of the creative vitality that exists in northeast Los Angeles.

By encouraging neighborhood involvement in the arts and presenting innovative art-driven activities and exhibitions, the goal of the Collective is to address the cultural needs of the area, link the creative community with the neighborhood at large, and make art available to the underserved audience of northeast Los Angeles.”

Avenue 50 Studio

131 North Ave 50
Los Angeles, CA 90042-3903

The nexus of the Northeast Los Angeles art world and culture is a non-profit gallery that is called a studio. Hosting lectures, workshops, classes, and exhibits that connect Highland Park to the greater world at-large.

Avenue 50 Studio, Inc. is an arts presentation organization grounded in Latin@ Chican@ culture. Our monthly shows principally exhibit artists of color who display a high quality of work, and who have not been represented in mainstream galleries. We seek to build bridges of cultural understanding through artistic expressions. Using content-driven art to educate and to stimulate intercultural understanding, we build relationships and collaborations with artists and communities.  Our eight year track record of over 80 shows in the Northeast LA area has ranged from international exchange exhibits to presenting Asian and African American artists in a largely Latino community. The art openings are a testament to the mix of cultures, national origins, and races that make up metro LA and our Highland Park neighborhood. We feel the showing of multicultural arts on a monthly basis in a working class community can go a long way in educating people to the importance of diverse art in our lives. Along with this, Avenue 50 Studio is a center for cultural activities with workshops in art, spoken word and other creative forms of expression. Our community gathers around the exhibits, presentation of Latin@ Chican@ films, and poetry readings. We are constantly evolving and our goal is to continue the exhibition and spoken word presentations.”

Outpost for Contemporary Art
1268 North Ave 50
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Founded in 2004, Outpost for Contemporary Art is a non-profit organization that promotes cross-cultural exchange by developing international artistic projects that stimulate social interaction and emphasize process over end result. Devoted to bridging the local and the global, Outpost creates networks of art, artists and art audiences that span continents while connecting local communities.

Razorcake Magazine
PO Box 42129
Los Angeles, CA 90042

The first 501(c)(3) non-profit music magazine in the United States. This internationally distributed bi-monthly punk rock fanzine was co-founded in 2001 by Garvanzan writer and editor, Todd Taylor. In 2005, the magazine and record company gained nonprofit status.

“Razorcake/Gorsky Press, Inc. got together as a nonprofit to educate people in what we love and live: independent music and the community surrounding it. Some of the ways we do this are through, but not limited to, making and distributing a bi-monthly magazine (that would be Razorcake), organizing and maintaining a community space, publishing books and other literary material (that would be Gorsky Press), archiving activities, and musical performances.”

Donate: Here.

The Wall – Las Memorias Project
111 North Avenue 56
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Established in 1993, The Wall – Las Memorias Project is dedicated to promoting wellness and preventing illness among Latino populations affected by HIV/AIDS.

Milagro Allegro Comunity Garden
151 S. Avenue 56
Highland Park CA, 90042

Established this year in a vacant city lot at 115 S. Avenue 56, the garden features 10,000 square feet of land divided into 32 raised plots for cultivating fruits, vegetables and flowers by community gardeners. The Milagro Allegro Community Garden integrates urban farming, art and education in the heart of the Highland Park neighborhood.

See their Donation Page to contribute.

Arroyo Vista Family Health Center
6000 North Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90042-4232

“Since 1981, we have been serving the health care needs of Greater Northeast Los Angeles and surrounding communities by providing accessible, high quality, and affordable primary health care and preventive services.”

Old LA Farmer’s Market

Avenue 57 & Marmion Way
Highland Park, CA 90042
Tuesdays 3PM-8PM

Yes, they are a non-profit organization too. [Part of the North Figueroa Business Improvement District.] (Donate web-page design?)

Hollywood Dog Obedience Club
261 South Ave 54
Los Angeles, CA 90042

“A non-profit organization that was founded in 1949 to better the relationships and lives of dogs and their owners.” (Highland Park-based organization named after Hollywood Dogs, that meets in Griffith Park.)

Friends of Hermon Dog Park
6276 Pine Crest Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90042

The Friends of Hermon Dog Park exist to enhance the Hermon Dog Park, keep it’s environment safe and healthy, teach responsible pet ownership and further humane education, encourage dog training efforts, organize pet adoption events, and help other organizations that provide for the care of animals.

Hermon Park in The Arroyo Seco
5568 Via Marisol (Hermon Avenue)
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Art in the Park is a non-profit organization {501(c)3} that provides free music lessons through the Lalo Guerrero School of Music to the children of the Northeast Area which is an underrepresented area with a very high percentage of high school dropouts. Our program of music gives the children (8- 18) the opportunity to acquire discipline, good habits and high self-esteem through learning to play an instrument, practicing at home, and performing in front of large audiences. The connection between music and school achievement is well-known and we base our approach on this. The school’s mantra is “Kids+Music=College”. Besides just teaching music and performing, we have college counselors come and advise the families about courses, colleges and financial aids.

Los Angeles Police Historical Society
6045 York Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Preserving the history of the Los Angeles Police Department at the Los Angeles Police Museum in the former Highland Park Jail, Police Station No. 11

Center For The Arts, Eagle Rock
2225 Colorado Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90041

“Presenting innovative and multicultural arts programming to the communities of Northeast Los Angeles. We target nontraditional and under-served audiences at nontraditional venues, providing access to excellent arts education to at-risk youth and contemporary cultural experiences to all in our area.”

The Audubon Center
4700 North Griffin Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90031

“The Audubon Center at Debs Park opened in 2003 as an environmental education and conservation center for the communities of northeast Los Angeles. The Center is located in the third largest park in the city of Los Angeles. More than half of the park is covered in walnut-oak woodland, grassland, and coastal sage scrub, a remnant of the native habitats that once rimmed the Los Angeles Basin. Over 140 species of birds have been recorded here.

The Center’s mission is to inspire people to experience, understand and care for the local natural world. The nature-based education and community programs at Debs Park are designed to engage children and their families in the outdoor world, and to give them a personal stake in its protection by making environmental issues relevant to their lives. The Center is operated by Audubon California, a state field program of National Audubon Society, and is a vital part of Audubon’s national outreach initiative to engage Latino audiences. The Center, which is surrounded by predominately Latino neighborhoods, is a unique gathering place and dynamic focal point for outdoor recreation, environmental education and conservation action.”

Donate HERE.

Heritage Square Museum
3800 Homer Street
Los Angeles, California 90031

“A living history museum located in Montecito Heights, that tells the story of the development of Southern California through architecture. Eight historic structures, a train car, and a trolly car were all saved from demolition and moved to the site between 1969 – 2005. The museum focuses its efforts on interpreting the years 1850 to 1950, a period of unprecedented growth in Los Angeles. Volunteer interpreters give thorough tours that incorporate the history, architecture, and culture of the region. Other specialized living history events, lectures, and items of historical interest are given on a periodic basis.

Principal goals are to promote and ensure the preservation of local heritage, history, and architecture for the communities of Los Angeles to learn from and cherish for generations to come. We achieve these objectives through several means: by providing quality educational and enriching programs and exhibitions to our public; by being a leader in historic preservation in the Los Angeles community; and by providing a safe haven for the rich architectural heritage that exists in the City and County of Los Angeles.”

La Casita Verde Child Development Center
4601 N. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90065.

“Operated by Mount Washington Preschool & Child Care Centers (MWPCCC), La Casita Verde is a  501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization in Northeast Los Angeles whose mission is to create, manage and sustain: Developmentally appropriate, high quality, accessible, culturally supportive preschool and child care which encourages and supports family and parent participation throughout a child’s life; and collaboration with other organizations to promote children’s optimal development and to enhance the quality of family life in our diverse community.”

Friends of The Los Angeles River
570 W. Ave 26 #250
Los Angeles, CA 90065

“A non-profit organization founded in 1986 to protect and restore the natural and historic heritage of the Los Angeles River and its riparian habitat through inclusive planning, education and wise stewardship.”

4734 Eagle Rock Blvd. #1001
Los Angeles, California 90041

“Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange (C.I.C.L.E.) is a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles working to promote the bicycle as a viable, healthy, and sustainable transportation choice.

We believe that our cities can be places that support an overall high quality of life–where people can enjoy clean air, calm and friendly streets, and closely connected and diverse communities. We envision our streets as vibrant, welcoming spaces that safely accommodate all road users, and prioritize the safe passage of people–on bike, on foot, by wheelchair, by bus and/or by train. The city infrastructure is people-friendly, and encourages healthy and active transportation options that not only build our bodies and our health, but also benefit our communities and our environment. Public green spaces are many, and our streets serve as much more than transportation corridors–they are also community-oriented social spaces, where people of all ages can safely bike, walk, play, and socialize with their neighbors.”

LA Commons
4343 Leimert Park Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90008

Arts organization highly active in Highland Park.

“Founded in 2003, LA Commons’ mission is to engage communities in artistic and cultural expression that tells their unique stories and serves as a basis for dialogue, interaction and a better understanding of Los Angeles. LA Commons’ approach is two-fold.  The first component is our community-based art initiatives, through which we hire local artists and young people to translate community stories into public art. The youth participants take the lead in interviewing community members about the project themes and engaging community members in the art making workshops. They serve as spokespeople for the project, charged with explaining the purpose, process, and meaning of the artwork to the community, visitors, and elected officials.”

Donate via Community Partners.

Los Angeles Burrito Project

The hungry homeless of Los Angeles could always use beans, rice, cheese and tortillas wrapped into a burrito.

Wikimedia Foundation

San Francisco-based Wikimedia Foundation provides the internet format to footnote the entire database of mankind. Without Wikipedia, this blog would not exist.

The Creepy Santa Bus Took Us There 12.18.09

December 18, 2009

All board the Santa Death Bus. From the Metro Library and Archive's Flickr photostream. 1960

I was going to post something different today, but couldn’t get this image of Santa and the 1960 MTA Dreamliner bus out of my head. Why is there a body under that bus? Where is Santa going? Why is that guy inside tagging the window? All unanswered questions for this holiday season.


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