By Bob Vickrey
Many people describe the city of Beverly Hills as stylish and fashionable, while others view the excesses of Rodeo Drive-area retailers like Prada, Armani, and Tiffany’s as nothing more than shrines to wealth and privilege.
Our monthly lunch group wasn’t really taking sides on the issue. We simply made the trek there for a sandwich at Nate ’n Al’s Deli.
No matter what one might find inherently wrong about Beverly Hills, the city certainly got one thing right—their parking structures. Where else can you go on L.A.’s Westside and park your car practically next door to your ultimate destination—and do so free of charge? Try that in Santa Monica or Pacific Palisades. Read more
On February 12, at the request of City Councilmember Curren Price, city workers seized three of the four tiny houses on wheels for the homeless pictured above. They were located on the 42nd Street bridge over the Harbor Freeway and around the corner on Flower Street. One escaped by being rolled away by its owner. We telephoned Elvis Summers on February 15. He built the little structures and donated them to homeless people. He said the residents were not permitted to remove their belongings, including medications, before the structures were loaded on trucks and taken away. The houses are stored on a city lot. They had been slated for demolition but it appears that protests have led to city to begin a discussion of whether to go ahead with that plan. Seven more are scheduled to be seized.
The little 6 x 10 foot wheeled structures have become one focal point in the city’s uneasy balancing act between trying to find other accommodations for people living on the streets and simply dismantling their camps and seizing their property. Read more
Phyl van Ammers
Young Turkish director Deniz Gamze Erguven named her film Mustang “as a metaphor for beauty, freedom, energy and the untamable.”
The film opens with five beautiful girls taking leave of their beloved teacher at the end of the school semester. The teacher comforts the smallest girl, softly calling her “kizim,” which means “my girl,” not as the translation in English says, “little one.” This child’s name is Lale. Her sisters are Nur, Ece, Selma and Sonay. Their power is – another Erguven metaphor – drawn from their collectivity. They are one: hydra-headed.
It is the beginning of summer, so they don’t walk straight home. They walk along the coast of the Black Sea with young male students and then run into the water in their uniforms and play horse, a scene Erguven says is drawn from her childhood. Erguven says she was humiliated by the incident in real life but she allows the sisters to play wildly, exulting in their youth and strength. Read more
A long-demanded reform moved ahead in the first week of February when Council President Herb Wesson secured a vote in the City Council to hire a full-time Petroleum Administrator. Mayor Eric Garcetti responded immediately that he was already interviewing prospective candidates, seeking persons with technical expertise in oil and gas operations.
Obviously the most immediate prod to our city administrators was the three-and-a-half month methane gas leak in Porter Ranch, a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles, that forced thousands of residents from their homes. But Porter Ranch was only the latest consequence of decisions made more than 150 years ago to allow oil and gas wells to spread throughout the residential neighborhoods of our city. It was the inevitable consequence of decades of missing oversight over an industry that normally operates far from people’s houses. Read more
NOTES FROM ABOVE GROUND
By Honey van Blossom
(Honey is a Belgian Marxist former strip-tease artiste)
Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas dissented to the majority decision in Sierra Club v. Morton (1972) 405 U.S. 727. The suit arose when the United States Forest Service permitted development of Mineral King then near Sequoia National Park — a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, known for its giant sequoia trees. Mineral King is a subalpine glacial valley located – since 1978 — in the Southern part of Sequoia National Park.
In 1972, Douglas wrote:
“Inanimate objects are sometimes parties in litigation. A ship has a legal personality, a fiction found useful for maritime purposes. The corporation sole – a creature of ecclesiastical law — is an acceptable adversary and large fortunes ride on its cases…. So it should be as respects valleys, alpine meadows, rivers, lakes, estuaries, beaches, ridges, groves of trees, swampland, or even air that feels the destructive pressures of modern technology and modern life. The river, for example, is the living symbol of all the life it sustains or nourishes—fish, aquatic insects, water ouzels, otter, fisher, deer, elk, bear, and all other animals, including man, who are dependent on it or who enjoy it for its sight, its sound, or its life. The river as plaintiff speaks for the ecological unit of life that is part of it.”
In this dissent, Justice Douglas indicated a shift away from environmentalism through regulatory laws that manage environmental degradation towards the legal position that “trees have standing,” or, rather, “Rights of Nature.” Read more
Anna C. Broome
Serbian artist painter Milica Jelisavcic delivers a restlessness, a meeting of ground to human life, experience and need. Her expression of a universal life-source through stroke, color, and subject surmises a delicate yet gnarled and twisted bounty of riches through her use of pumpkin, high heels as metaphor.
Milica was born in Bajina Basta, Serbia in 1984. Showing an early talent for painting, Milica’s first art show was at age seven. After attending the secondary “School of Design”, Milica was accepted to the Braca Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, Serbia.
“My passion for art is deeply rooted in my childhood like an abstraction or surreal reality.”
Precocious and determined Milica finished top of her class. It is however the early connection to subject through the beauty and creativity inspired by her grandmother, who through use of all the walls in her home, provided Milica with her first canvasses.
“I always had pencil and color pens in my hands. As far my medium is concerned, I personally prefer oil paints: I find it has a transparent quality, and due to its much longer drying time, allows me the best ability to blend colors into the infinite variations found in the natural world. I also utilize acrylic and chalk. Read more