March 6, 2017
P-45: The Studly Mountain Lion King of Malibu
Here's a really interesting New Yorker article about the mountain lions of the Santa Monica Mountains which run from Malibu to Griffith Park. The highways have isolated this area, in terms of mountain lions traveling. P-45, however, was able to cross a highway to get into this genetic island and sow his genes. The article describes the isolation of the mountain lions which may result in their extinction (in the Santa Monica Mountains) within 50 years...which is why a land bridge is going to be built in Agoura Hills.
On this map you can see the underpass at Liberty Canyon that they believe P-45 may have used to get across the 101 and into the Santa Monica Mountains. You can see there are gaps in the residential developments there that would allow a mountain lion to pass through without having to deal directly with humans. This is where the land bridge will be built.
November 27, 2016
Palm Springs Construction
November 21, 2016
The L.A. Cultural Heritage Commission visited Hotel Cecil on Main Street. The lobby is quite nice. They also took us up to the 14th floor to see a couple of typical rooms. Most rooms do not have baths, so there are shared toilets and showers on each floor. All of the rooms are small; about 11' by 17'. We saw one room that had no bath and it was pretty small, but included a small flat screen TV and a clock radio that included a mount for an iPod (the old Apple connection, not Lightning). Then they showed us a room with a bath. It was still 11' x 17', so they just used almost all the open floor space to put a bathroom (shower, toilet, sink) in there. There was about 18 inches of clearance on either side of the bed, and if there was any furniture besides the bed, I can't recall it. The hotel is now doing business as "Stay On Main." The rooms are very plain,
Catalina Swimwear Building
On a tour with the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission. Here's the Wikipedia article for Catalina Swimwear.
The building is live/work lofts. That's one of the Commissioners front and lower center.
A bit of newer stuff was pulled off to reveal some of the original facade, which will be restore.
Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission
On Thursday morning last week I attended a 9 AM meeting of the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission in LA City Hall. They had two things on their agenda that morning: first was to consider designating the Bob and Dolores Hope Estate in Toluca Lake as a monument; second was to go visit and tour Hotel Cecil and the Catalina Swimwear Building. It was the second thing that I came for, but the Bob Hope house issue was very interesting.
Above is the Google Earth view of the estate.
Below is what the public could see from the street.
The place is owned by the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation. First the staff made its presentation with a slide show and talk all about how ultra famous Bob Hope was. Under Los Angeles law there are two different bases that can justify declaring something a monument. One basis is the usual: great cultural, historical, architectural (etc.) significance. The second is that it was the home of a celebrity. The Bob Hope house was proposed (by a city council member) due solely to the celebrity status. Staff admits it has no cultural, historical, architectural (etc.) significance. In discussion the Commissioners said that in L.A. they obviously are not going to declare every residence of every celebrity a monument or they would consume a significant portion of the housing market. But they agreed that Bob Hope was just about the most famous person in the world.
After the staff report the Foundation got up to make their comments. They were daughter Linda Hope and a couple of other people, one of whom may have been an attorney. They told us quite a different story than staff told. Right off the bat, Linda Hope said they had the wrong address. The correct address is 10346 Moorpark Street. Staff had supplied the address as 10350 Moorpark Street. No points for staff there. Then she went on to explain that while staff had described the house as French Chateau style, only the original house was French Chateau and that Dolores Hope had almost continually added wings and additions so that now the house was some sort hodge-podge of no significance. She also disputed their description of the grounds which staff said included a "one-hole par 3 golf 'course'." Linda Hope said it was only a small decorative thing that could not really be used for golf.
Worse, she said, was that there was no way the Los Angeles public could access the house. In the '90s the Hopes had considered making it into a museum, but quickly learned that since it was in a quiet upscale residential area with narrow streets, there was no way it could be a museum open to the public. So the Hopes' final instructions were to use the estate to help fund the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation. The intention of the trustees was to sell it. The place had been sitting on the market for ages but not long ago the first decent offer was submitted. That was when the city council member asked that the Cultural Heritage Commission consider the property. The decent offer was immediately withdrawn.
Linda Hope listed all of the memorials to Bob Hope that are scattered over the Los Angeles area. She said each and every one of those was more significant to the legacy of Bob and Dolores Hope than the estate. Later, Commissioners said they were surprised by the list, not realizing there were already so many memorials; so obviously staff didn't do that research either.
A couple of residents got up to also speak against the designation, but the essence of their arguments was that Toluca Lake is a beautiful, quiet community and any kind of monument there would bring traffic, noise and lower property values. The President of the Commission interrupted both of those commenters (!) to tell them that was of absolutely no concern to this Commission.
One Commissioner suggested giving monument status to only the hedge and gate in front of the house, because those were the only things the public would ever see. I was pretty sure that was a joke, but the President went ahead and explained how impractical that would be.
Finally, a Commissioner made the motion to deny monument status and that was approved 5-0. The decision now goes to city council, since it had originated there and city council could overrule this decision.
The meeting was adjourned and we headed out on our field trip.
August 18, 2016
L.A. World Naked Bike Ride
The Los Angeles World Naked Bike Ride took place on June 11. I had three cameras, each one shooting a still photo every five seconds. One camera was mounted on the handlebars, facing forward; another on my helmet facing backwards, and the last one also facing backwards, but mounted on the rear rack of my bike. That camera takes good video, but only 5 mp photos, so those turned out to be a lot lower quality than I had hoped for.
The complete set of photos is here. These photos are on Flickr, so in order to see them, you must...
- Have registered an account at Flickr (it's free and uses your Yahoo ID).
- Be logged into that Flickr account.
- Have your Flickr safe search settings turned OFF (here).
July 11, 2016
Aerial Video Of Los Angeles
A bit better than previous ones.
If you go to 1:12 you'll find a segment showing Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook which I recommend for its great view of the city that isn't the same old view you've seen a million times. Also, it's a great place to exercise...if you've already been exercising.
June 3, 2016
Santa Monica Photos
Things seen on a Sunday near the Santa Monica downtown Expo Line stop.
See how nicely they do the trees, with a big expanse of wood with lots of spaces to allow rain (as if it ever rained!) to get to the soil. Also expensive, I'm sure. But how much does it cost to replace dead trees?
The street intersection at the Expo Line goes all four ways whenever it goes into Walk mode and so, knowing how L.A. drivers are, no expense was spared in slapping paint all over the place. Also, there's a cop on duty.
This was a bit of a challenge for me. Even when you're walking on this flat surface, your brain tells you its wavy. Easiest solution was to look away.
Simple and durable directions. Now, try to find that in the press of a crowd.
I'd like to see their calculations on the efficiency of putting solar panels in a fixed vertical array like this. Their western wall, where these are mounted, is a lot bigger than their roof.
Please excuse my stupid finger in the view. I want you to notice how they handle their public education campaign.
April 12, 2016
The Los Angeles Toy District is "bounded by Los Angeles Street on the west, Third and Fifth streets on the north and south and San Pedro Street on the east."
April 3, 2016
DHS Walmart Petition
I finally got around to reading the Walmart petition. There's no game-playing in it that I can detect. No exemptions from any taxes or fees. In fact, they'll kick in an additional $75,000 on top of the DIF fees. That's supposed to help pay for something at what will be the future intersections of Cactus and Camino Aventura and Claire Avenue—although I don't think $75,000 would cover very much. Here are some of the bits I found interesting:
- Permitted to be open 24 hours.
- Exterior payphones permitted. Open 24 hours, outside payphones, right across the street from Dos Palmas. Potential for a public safety issue there.
- Landscaping will be xeriscape, but they don't say they will conform to MSWD's ordinance on this.
- They will need to extend a 1,806 foot sewer line from Camino Idilio.
- Palm Drive will be widened to allow for a right-turn lane.
- Traffic signals will be installed at Camino Aventura and Palm Drive.
- All (or almost all) of the lighting will be LED. There will also be a daylight harvesting system (is that like a sophisticated skylight?) and a computer controlled continuously active system that adjusts lighting up and down.
- Waste heat from refrigeration will be captured and used to heat water.
- The site will be inspected for desert tortoises and burrowing owls. But they don't make any promises about any other endangered creatures or plants.
- They will also observe the usual rules if they discover archaeological artifacts.
Summary: if you want the Walmart, you can sign this petition with a clear conscience. Unless somebody wants to point out some heinous provision in it that I missed.
Los Angeles Public Wi-fi
There was a half-million dollar grant to provide free public Wi-fi in areas of Los Angeles. The company setting it up said "it had deployed free Wi-Fi hot spots at eight parks and 16 community Wi-Fi networks." "The [Los Angeles] Times checked seven parks and 11 network locations, finding no Wi-Fi at any of them."
Art In Downtown L.A.
More photos from this alley as well as photos inside the adjoining artist's studio can be seen here.
March 13, 2016
DHS Planning Commission - March 8, 2016
Dispensaries approved: 3
Total dispensaries approved: 12
Dispensaries open: 5
Dispensaries denied: 1 (technically a continuation, but it's going to be denied)
Cultivation facilities approved: 1
Dirk Voss presiding at first, as Chair Cathy Romero was late, but Ms. Romero arrived before the Commission had even approved the agenda.
City Manager Magaña and Financial Director Tanner spoke at length about the budget and taxes. After years of underspending and cutbacks, whaddayaknow, there's a lot of critical stuff that's going to start failing. Like staff, even. And some taxes are going to expire. [My editorial: meanwhile the City Council (well, three of 'em) have voted not to even study new or revised taxes.] But I'll spare you the really bad news.
As with last month's report, just the marijuana:
Benno Pabst and Valley Compassionate Care
This is a proposed CUP for a medical marijuana dispensary at 11522 Palm Drive, which is the southeast corner of 4th and Palm, the old chiropractor's office which is 1,207 square feet. Parking for 6 vehicles is proposed to be on the south side of the building (where there may also be a mural) with access via the alley. Four head-in parking spaces on 4th will be eliminated.
Commissioner Cirner recused himself due to a possible conflict of interest.
Benno Pabst was not present this night for health reasons, but his representative was there and spoke. Pabst owns the building outright.
There was a lot of discussion about the parking. Staff had first laid it out with diagonal parking so that patients would drive in from the alley and exit on Palm Drive. The Commission thought it would seem more sensible to drivers coming up Palm Drive to reversed that. Now, the thing I wonder about is left turns from southbound traffic. That entrance on Palm Drive is only 25 feet away from 4th Street.
Yes, there will be two dispensaries directly across the street from each, so there will be no need to run across Palm Drive at night wearing dark clothes, right? And that ought to solve the problem of left turns too.
Lisa Lozano and Stephanie Bodde and Desert Hot Springs Dispensary
Another proposed CUP for a medical marijuana dispensary. This one was continued from last month. You may recall that potential neighbor Rose Mortuary raised objections about inadequate parking. There were other issues as well.
Chair Romero said that she could see all of the issues she had with this CUP had been addressed.
Thomas Moen, manager of Rose Mortuary, said he was concerned a dispensary could conflict with his business. Parking only in the street is still an issue.
Michelle and Michael Lally both expressed their support for medical marijuana generally, and spoke well of Stephanie Bodde. Mr. Lally also criticized Rose Mortuary, saying they both serve the same community, one in life and one in death.
David Lally (son of Michelle and Michael, if you hadn't guessed) talked about the tax benefits to the city. He described the personal experience with medical marijuana by a friend.
Jordan Bratonburg, owner of Rose Mortuary, also shared a personal experience in his family. He was concerned that some of his clientele would be offended by the proximity of the dispensary.
The applicant said that her security guard would not let her clients park in the Rose Mortuary parking lot.
Vice Chair Voss said that he, too, was concerned about the parking situation, especially the lack of a designated handicapped parking space. He also wanted to clarify what will happen with the small house in the rear of the property. He said this is the wrong location for a dispensary.
Commissioner De La Torre said he agreed with Mr. Voss.
Commissioner Terifaj said these were all the same issues brought up last month and that she, too, thought it was a poor location for the dispensary.
Rich Malacoff asked the Commissioners to specify which findings in the prepared CUP the Commission would determine had not been met. Then staff would use that information to craft a legal resolution of denial and bring it back next month. Staff prepared only the positive resolution of approval for the agenda packet, not wasting time on a negative just in case.
Ms. Terifaj cited the parking issue as the reason to deny.
The applicant came back to the podium to say that an elderly gentleman lives in the house in the rear and that he is a member of her collective. She does not want to kick him out so that she can tear down the house for parking. She was not aware of any problems with parking until this meeting. (It did come up as an issue the previous month, though.)
The Chair reopened the public hearing at the suggestion of the city attorney.
The applicant said she had an informal parking survey done at the Brown Dog dispensary which is east of Palm on Pierson. Over the course of a week there was only one time during the day when there were three cars there and the overlap was for only two minutes. In the evenings there would sometimes be as many as three cars there. She expects the same traffic at her dispensary. Street parking would handle that small amount.
Vice Chair Voss moved to continue this until next month at which time staff will have prepared the proper denial paperwork. Approved 5-0.
Eduardo Rivera and D.H.S. Alternative Healing Corporation
How about another CUP for a medical marijuana dispensary? This one is also continued from last month (and the month before that, IIRC). The continuance was to allow a neighbor to come in and comment on this. No changes have been made from last month. This one is going to be at 66328 Pierson Boulevard.
Unfortunately, the aggrieved neighbor did not show up. There were no public comments at all.
Vice Chair Voss moved to approve with the additional requirement that there be no neon lighting. Approved 5-0.
Dino Sogoyan - Desert Hot Springs, Collective, Ltd.
This item is a CUP for a medical marijuana dispensary to be located at 66292 Pierson Boulevard. That's just to the east of Wiefels Mortuary.
The monument sign in front of the building will have to be upgraded to meet current sign standards. The applicant is buying the property and said he plans to tear down that monument sign.
Commissioner Cirner moved to approve with the additional requirement that they come up with a different color scheme (and no neon). Approved 5-0.
Adrian Sedlin - Canndescent, MBC
This is for a CUP for a marijuana cultivation facility at 65334 Two Bunch Palms Trail, which is currently occupied by an auto repair business and tire recycling business. The two buildings are about 4,800 square feet each.
The applicant says he hopes to be operating by June 15.
Vice Chair Voss moved to approve with the addition of a ban on neon signs. Approved 5-0.
The Planning Commission also approved a design review and development permit for a warehouse and retail facility for Angel View on Dillon Road.
They also appointed Andrew Cirner to the Arts District Committee.
March 7, 2016
The I-10 Express Lanes
Back in January I had my first opportunity to use the express lanes on I-10 heading into Los Angeles and, boy, I was impressed! The regular lanes were a parking lot while I passed them doing 80 MPH. Last weekend I used them again and discovered congestion pricing. The first time I drove them, it cost me $2.60. This past weekend it was only $1.10! Cheaper than a bus ride! You have to have Fastrak, but getting set up with a Fastrak device costs you nothing at all. Sign up online, linking it to a credit card, and everything gets mailed to you. Stick it on your windshield and you don't have to think about it again, unless you have more passengers. You can set it to say you're solo, have two in the car, or more than two. Pricing may vary. I got it initially for the bridge tolls in the Bay Area. There is no way to pay your toll in person on the Golden Gate anymore. It's either Fastrak or go online afterwards and pay it.
This video picks up where I'm transferring from southbound 605 to westbound 10 which is where the express lanes begin. If they can ever extend them further east, that will be wonderful! The predictable permanent backup on I-10 begins east of the 605.
The thing to note in this video is that the regular lanes of I-10 on my right are mostly a parking lot, while I'm staying in the 70-80 MPH range. This is one of the very few places where I think the leftmost lane is where you should do most of your driving, while passing on the right. This gives you a buffer of one lane most of the time between you and the parked cars. One stupid driver opening his door, unaware of the faster traffic immediately to his left, and everything goes to hell.
As it approaches downtown there is a split between I-10 and 101. I've only followed the 101 branch. It crosses the L.A. River and puts you on Alameda Street right at Union Station. There's an entrance right there to get you back on the 101. But in this video I exited the express lane just before the bridge over the river. Would've been faster to stay in the express lane.
An interesting thing about the congestion pricing is that if the average speed in the express lanes drops below 45 MPH, Fastrak customers will no longer be permitted to enter, as the lanes will be reserved for those vehicles qualifying for HOV status.
February 20, 2016
Great Los Angeles Walk Photos
I winnowed my photos from the Great LA Walk (November 21, 2015) down to the 1,930 best ones that you can see here. Blut I think the easiest way to see them is via this video slideshow which is only a little more than half an hour long, if you watch all of it. Most of the photos are from my GoPro, but I shot some with my pocket camera.
February 17, 2016
December 6, 2015
An interesting article about unusual diagonals seen in Los Angeles as viewed from above. They seem to be the remains of old rights of way, streets, streetcar tracks.
November 30, 2015
October 26, 2015
Mission Lakes Country Club
October 25, 2015
Marijuana Real Estate
In central Denver 9% of the industrial buildings are now being used to grow marijuana. That comes to at least 3.7 million square feet. But one person says that those facilities are not being fully utilized yet, so he thinks the market will cool for a bit.
The article includes an interesting map of all the marijuana grow facilities in Colorado. There are 487 in the Denver area. As you click on the numbers the map zooms in and you begin to see that some small areas of the city have large numbers of grow facilities.