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."