DODGERS’ MANIA HOOKS A RELUCTANT FAN

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August 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 
Dodgers Pitcher Clayton Kershaw

Dodgers Pitcher Clayton Kershaw

By Bob Vickrey

The Dodgers were down 4-1 to the Diamondbacks in the bottom of the ninth inning with no outs and no one on base. That ominous situation made me wonder why I was still standing in my living room holding the remote control instead of going to bed.

But since I’m not really much of a baseball fan, the larger question was why I was watching the Dodgers game in the first place. In recent weeks, that’s also what my friends have wanted to know. “What’s gotten into Bob?” they ask. They know I’ve always claimed that watching baseball is about as exciting as watching grass grow.

So, just as I started to click off the game and head toward the bedroom, right fielder Yasiel Puig hit a leadoff single and the Dodgers’ crowd slowly began to stand and cheer as if they had seen this scenario before. Read more

More than 120,000 Students Are Homeless in LA County

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August 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

homeless_college_student-1

Leslie Evans

The number seems shocking. Even impossible. The total homeless in LA County from the January 2017 official count only came to 57,000. But the number is real and actually understates the total, as it does not include UCLA, USC, or the Claremont colleges.

The disparity is because the county’s K-12 system, the Community College District, and the Cal State University system have a more inclusive definition of homelessness. The official counts by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority are run under the federal HUD rules, which include only people living in a homeless shelter, or a place not intended for human habitation. The school districts include students with no permanent address, sleeping on someone’s couch or in motel or garage. Read more

LUNCH CLUB BRINGS ALONG A PROFESSOR

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August 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 
The Proud Bird restaurant reopens.

The Proud Bird restaurant reopens. All photos: Barry Stein.

By Bob Vickrey

The recent reopening of The Proud Bird Restaurant on Aviation Boulevard near LAX offered a different kind of experience for our monthly lunch group with its reimagined “Food Bazaar” and interactive aviation exhibits.

As we entered the open-air food hall with a giant replica of a P-40 Flying Tiger hovering above us from the vaulted ceiling, I thought perhaps they had misspelled the word “bizarre.” Communal tables, lounge seating, and the Mile High Club Bar surround the open kitchen area. The presentation appeared to be “Snoopy and the Red Baron buzz Grand Central Smorgasbord” with a little dash of “Admirals Club” thrown in for good measure. Read more

Toilet Crisis on Skid Row

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August 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

Hazmat_skid_row

Leslie Evans

In January and February, 24 people from 15 organizations, calling themselves the Los Angeles Central Providers Collaborative, conducted an audit of toilets available to the homeless in Downtown’s 50-block Skid Row. Their shocking findings became headline news when they released their 64-page report, “No Place to Go,” in late June. For a nighttime unsheltered population they listed at 1,777, they found only 9 working public toilets, all of them at a single location: the Midnight Mission shelter, 601 S. San Pedro Street. This is eight blocks from the northeast and northwest corners of Skid Row and 9 blocks from the southeast border. A long walk at night. The number of estimated users was taken from the 2016 homeless count, and is today more than 2,000. Read more

DINAH’S EVOKES DINER MEMORIES OF YESTERYEAR

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August 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 
Photo by Barry Stein

Photo by Barry Stein

By Bob Vickrey

Entering Dinah’s Restaurant brought back youthful memories of my hometown diner where I hung out with friends and routinely argued about how much each of us owed after the bill arrived.

Back in the day, my evening hangout was Angel’s Grill in Pasadena, Texas (yes, we also had a Pasadena.) The place had red-pleated vinyl booths and a mini-juke box on every table—to which we repeatedly fed nickels and dimes to hear Marty Robbins’ “El Paso” and the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations.” The seasoned blue-haired waitresses patiently tolerated our excessive behavior while we stared at the cute girl with a ponytail in the corner booth who looked like Sandra Dee. (But on second glance, we realized all the girls in that booth had ponytails and looked like Sandra Dee.)

Our monthly lunch club group thought a trip to Dinah’s Family Restaurant on Sepulveda Boulevard might rekindle some of the “diner” nostalgia of our past—hopefully, without the ensuing traditional battle over the bill. Read more

Lionel Rolfe’s Letter to the World

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July 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

By LIONEL ROLFE

Nevsky_cathedral 2

Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria. Photo is by Lionel Rolfe

 

I am a retired journalist in Los Angeles and book author who wants the world to respond to America under the would-be dictatorship of Donald Trump, a man who is out to destroy this country and the world—all for the sake of Trump’s power and money.

It is important to explain that the sudden appearance of fascism presented by Trump was not unexpected. Sinclair Lewis wrote a novel during the Great Depression about a fascist government in the ‘20s called “It Can Happen Here.” America has always had to deal with a nativist kind of fascism. Its always been a powerful minority and remains so under Trump in this day and age. Read more

Second Wave Feminists Get Together in New York – Still Feisty After All These Years

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July 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 
Carole DeSaram, left, and Barbara Love, organizers, during the reunion of second-wave feminists at Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village. Photos by Tequila Minsky

Carole DeSaram, left, and Barbara Love, organizers, during the reunion of second-wave feminists at Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village. Photos by Tequila Minsky

BY MARY REINHOLZ

 The pictures flashing across a wall inside Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village showed icons of the women’s liberation movement from the last half of the 20th century: famed activists like Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisholm and Flo Kennedy, all of them taking aim at varied forms of gender inequality in America. Many used their printed words as weapons.

A couple of venerable speakers, who lived through the movement’s early triumphs and disappointments, delivered stinging attacks against Donald J. Trump, 45th president of the United States. Kate Millett, 82, author of the best selling “Sexual Politics,” a 1970 critique of misogyny she found in esteemed works by male literary lions such as D.H. Lawrence, Henry Miller and Norman Mailer, needed assistance in walking to the open microphone but sniped at Trump in her opening remarks. Read more

ON THE FOURTH, JUST GET ME TO THE CHURCH ON TIME

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July 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

John and Rosemary Raitt-1999

Actor John  Raitt with wife Rosemary in 1999

By Bob Vickrey

Nearly two decades ago, my simple volunteer job assignment on a sunny July 4th was to pick up former Palisades Honorary Mayor John Raitt at his home and accompany him to the annual parade VIP luncheon at the Methodist Church courtyard on Via de la Paz. The late actor and singer was set to uphold the long tradition of celebrity mayors who have ridden in the annual parade.

The only problem I encountered on that Fourth was that no one answered the door when I arrived to pick him up at his house on Napoli Drive in the Palisades Riviera. I glanced at my watch and realized I had allowed little time for a glitch in our plan. Read more

What’s the Story on Linkage Fees for Affordable Housing?

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July 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 
Mayor Garcetti at October 2015 Mayoral Summit where he announced his goal of getting linkage fees from developers to finance affordable housing.

Mayor Garcetti at October 2015 Mayoral Summit where he announced his goal of getting linkage fees from developers to finance affordable housing.

Leslie Evans

Los Angeles has the least affordable housing in the United States. It is short some 500,000 units of housing for its population. Rising population, which pushes up land, materials, and labors costs, has made affordable housing in California a mostly unprofitable investment. Cities throughout the state have found themselves facing chronic and deepening housing shortages, with increasingly unaffordable rents. The response has been to look to government subsidies to try to fill the gap. Read more

Trump v. Watergate

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July 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

Doug Weiskopf

(Two books, The Far Out Story of Vortex 1, by Matt Love, and Radicals in the Rose City, by Matt Nelson, plus a PhD thesis by historian, Dr. Dory Hylton, have chronicled many of the the events mentioned below).Watergate is the Great American Story that will never go away and currently it is again being examined for comparisons to the scandals of the Trump Administration. What many of us who were part of the antiwar protest movement back in the summer of 1970’s in Portland, Oregon have always believed is that the break-in by Nixon’s band of “dirty tricksters”, who were known as The Plumbers Unit and got caught by the police at the Democratic Party National HQ in Wash. DC, had its roots in Portland. Read more

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