GPW: Self-Tempered Anarchy since 2009

Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
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stories along The Way

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sometimes, it's just New Jersey

And now I thought we might have a moment, however brief, for some sincerity. If that's okay - I know that there are boundaries for a comedian / pundit / talker guy, and I'm sure that I'll find out tomorrow how I have violated them.

So, uh, what exactly was this? I can't control what people think this was: I can only tell you my intentions.

This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith, or people of activism, or look down our noses at the heartland, or passionate argument, or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear--they are, and we do.

But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus, and not be enemies. But unfortunately, one of our main tools in delineating the two broke.

The country's 24-hour, political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems, bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen. Or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire, and then perhaps host a week of shows on the dangerous, unexpected flaming ants epidemic. If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.

There are terrorists, and racists, and Stalinists, and theocrats, but those are titles that must be earned! You must have the resume! Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Party-ers, or real bigots and Juan Williams or Rick Sanchez is an insult--not only to those people, but to the racists themselves, who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate. Just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe, not more.

The press is our immune system. If it overreacts to everything, we actually get sicker--and, perhaps, eczema. And yet... I feel good. Strangely, calmly, good. Because the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false. It is us, through a funhouse mirror--and not the good kind that makes you look slim in the waist, and maybe taller, but the kind where you have a giant forehead, and an ass shaped like a month-old pumpkin, and one eyeball.

So why would we work together? Why would you reach across the aisle, to a pumpkin-assed forehead eyeball monster? If the picture of us were true, of course our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable--why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution, and homophobes who see no one's humanity but their own?

We hear every damned day about how fragile our country is, on the brink of catastrophe, torn by polarizing hate, and how it's a shame that we can't work together to get things done. The truth is, we do! We work together to get things done every damned day! The only place we don't is here (in Washington) or on cable TV!

But Americans don't live here, or on cable TV. Where we live, our values and principles form the foundation that sustains us while we get things done--not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done.
Most Americans don't live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives. Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do. Often something they do not want to do! But they do it. Impossible things, every day, that are only made possible through the little, reasonable compromises we all make.

(Points to video screen, showing video of cars in traffic.) Look on the screen. This is where we are, this is who we are. These cars. That's a schoolteacher who probably think his taxes are too high, he's going to work. There's another car, a woman with two small kids, can't really think about anything else right now... A lady's in the NRA, loves Oprah. There's another car, an investment banker, gay, also likes Oprah. Another car's a Latino carpenter; another car, a fundamentalist vacuum salesman. Atheist obstetrician. Mormon Jay-Z fan.

But this is us. Every one of the cars that you see is filled with individuals of strong belief, and principles they hold dear--often principles and beliefs in direct opposition to their fellow travelers'. And yet, these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze, one by one, into a mile-long, 30-foot-wide tunnel, carved underneath a mighty river.

And they do it, concession by concession: you go, then I'll go. You go, then I'll go. You go, then I'll go. 'Oh my God--is that an NRA sticker on your car?' 'Is that an Obama sticker on your car?' It's okay--you go, then I go.

And sure, at some point, there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder, and cuts in at the last minute. But that individual is rare, and he is scorned, and he is not hired as an analyst!

Because we know, instinctively, as a people, that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light, we have to work together. And the truth is there will always be darkness, and sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn't the promised land.

Sometimes, it's just New Jersey. But we do it anyway, together.

If you want to know why I’m here and want I want from you, I can only assure you this: you have already given it to me.  Your presence was what I wanted.

Sanity will always be and has always been in the eye of the beholder.  To see you here today and the kind of people that you are has restored mine.

Thank you.

Friday, October 29, 2010

DISH chickens out, restores FOX channels

Amazing what response a $450 mil class action lawsuit can elicit, albeit against another entity.

Mailed to DISH Network customers this afternoon:

DISH Network is pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with FOX and that your FX channel has been restored. You may have also had a FOX Regional Sports Network channel removed and this programming has been restored as well. The new agreement also ensures the continued carriage of all your FOX local channels.

We appreciate your patience during this time and regret the inconvenience this may have caused you. Starting now, you can enjoy a variety of great programming that will be offered as a free preview for a limited time:

  • Sony Movie Channel — Enjoy uncut, uninterrupted and remastered theatrical movies. Available on channels 386 (HD) and 387 (SD)
  • NBA League Pass — Catch the excitement of your favorite NBA basketball teams—right from your living room. Available on channels 560-572
  • Cooking Channel — Dedicated to today’s more passionate food lover. Available on channel 113
  • The Science Channel — Explore Science’s past, present and future. Available on channel 193
For more detailed information, including dates in which these channels will run in Free Preview, please visit or tune to Channel 102.

DISH Network thanks you for your loyalty and for standing by our side.

DISH Network

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Park pic of the day

Twitpic by rachel_joy

Customers fighting back should be wake-up call for DISH

While DISH Network engages in major rates warfare with FOX, having already pulling F/X and FOX Sports channels and threatening to pull FOX 11 KTTV on Nov. 1st, New York citizens are fighting back against similar cuts in FOX programming by Cablevision with a $450 million class-action lawsuit.

Hope you're paying attention, DISH.

N. Atwater creek restoration groundbreaking - finally

This one has been a long time coming. Hurray creek restoration! Hurray park land restoration!

RAP presser excerpt:


The City of Los Angeles Department of RECREATION and PARKS, Department of Public Works Bureaus of Sanitation and Engineering will break ground on park expansion and creek restoration  

WHEN: Thursday, October 28, 2010, 2:00 pm
WHERE: North Atwater Park, 3900 Chevy Chase Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90039

The Department of Recreation and Parks along with the Department of Public Works’ Bureaus of Sanitation and Engineering and Councilmembers Tom LaBonge (4th District), Ed P. Reyes (1st District) and Eric Garcetti (13th District) will break ground on the Expansion and Creek Restoration Project at North Atwater Park on Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm.

The North Atwater Park Expansion and Creek Restoration Project will provide three acres of additional parkland featuring a picnic area, demonstration garden, outdoor classroom, concrete play tunnel and sand play area. The project will also restore a creek that connects to the Los Angeles River. Native plant landscaping will be planted on the creek banks and along the streambed to prevent erosion and naturally clean storm water before going out to the river. This project will help the City improve water quality for the L.A. River.

The North Atwater Park Project is a collaboration of the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, and the Department of Public Works Bureaus of Engineering and Sanitation. Construction will transpire from Fall 2010 through late 2011. Funding for this $1.3 million project is partially funded by Proposition 50 through the California Resources Agency to improve River Parkways. The project is undertaken in connection with the settlement of two Clean Water Act enforcement actions, Santa Monica Baykeeper v. City of Los Angeles and United States, and State of California ex. Rel. California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles Region v. City of Los Angeles.

More construction details from the Fata Construction website.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hike GP with Interpretive Rangers thru 2011

Rec and Parks presser:
Seven  Five trips through the end of 2010, with something for all skill levels
The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks will offer seven five hikes covering all skill levels to various locations in Griffith Park through December, each led by one or more park rangers. The starting point will either be the Griffith Park Ranger Station, 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, or Griffith Observatory, 2800 E. Observatory Road.
Saturday, November 6: A six mile intermediate level trek starting at the Ranger Station at 8 am that will follow the Mineral Wells Trail to the composting facility, then along the Skyline Trail to the Golden State Freeway Trail, ending at the Ranger Station at 11 am.
Friday, November 26: Sixth annual Day After Thanksgiving excursion to the Hollywood Sign. The intermediate to advanced level 10-mile roundtrip hike will begin at the Ranger Station at 8 am and will go to Bill Eckert Trail, Vista Del Valle Drive, Upper Mulholland Trail and Mt. Lee Drive. There will be a photo opportunity and the journey will end at 1 pm.
Saturday, November 27: An eight-mile advanced level challenge from the Observatory to West Observatory Road, Mt. Hollywood Road, Upper Mulholland Trail and Mt. Lee Drive. The most strenous section follows to Cahuenga Peak Trail, which leads to Burbank Peak and the "Magic" Tree, named for its resilience through droughts and fires, with a spectacular panoramic view. This hike will begin at 8 am.
Saturday, December 4: Half-marathon, the route and time for which has yet to be determined.
Friday, December 17: A three-mile night hike (6:30 pm to 9 pm) for beginners from the Ranger Station to the Mineral Wells Picnic Area and back. 
Hikers should dress accordingly for the time of day and year, and bring plenty of water and snacks. 
For more information about the hikes call (323) 644-6661, ext. 1549.

Women's Conference - dodging the biggest issues

Maria Shriver's annual Women's Conference is well underway, and being of the female persuasion myself, I'm shaking my head. For something that purports to be 'the nation's premier forum for women', it completely misses the mark in terms of what real, day-to-day issues are for the fairer sex. Things like...


Violence Against Women- #1 in my book. Some days as I watch the evening news, I honestly wonder why women in this country haven't taken up arms against their abusers. It seems the only way this crime will be authentically addressed. Why isn't Violence Against Women a Hate Crime? It ought to be. Guess we need a better lobby.

Pay Inequity and blatant prejudices - as a highly educated woman, I can talk about this for hours. I'll spare you.

Social issues like Objectification, and addressing some of the extremely destructive social behaviors women are taught from a very young age. Some learned as their only way to manipulate men, and some learned to see other women as threats. Men certainly have their own set of social behavior crap so don't think you are above this discussion, guys.



Women's Human Rights  - hell, everyone's human rights! But worldwide, women are preferentially abused as a group. Just a small but current example: this week the UAE passed a law saying that a husband may legally beat his wife and kids if it doesn't leave any obvious marks. How terribly forward-thinking of them.

Meanwhile, here we are in the 21st century, and the Bush Administration refused to sign on to International Human Rights agreements and tried to enforce a global gag rule on abortion. What do we look like, the UAE?

Human trafficking

With all of these issues needing serious work, what is the main topic of this year's Women's Conference?  Alzheimers' Disease. Who is on the front page of the Alzheimers' Association web site? Maria Shriver.

Yet something seems to be happening at this conference. The news is full of attendees being interviewed saying how happy they are to be making a difference and changing the world. WhooHoo!

You bet. For those attendees who think that this is what they are really doing by attending - becoming empowered to change the world -  here's a little South Park episode you should watch. Pay attention to the second half.

If the parallel isn't obvious enough, just replace 'Jam Fest 2005' with 'The Woman's Conference' as you watch.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cooley leads Harris - where are the 'No on 8' voters?

MT pointed out that:
While a wild amount of wild cards remain in the State's most neglected race, Steve Cooley's lead over Kamala Harris owes to a single factor: name recognition in Los Angeles County. 
What we should be asking is: where are all of LA County's 'No on 8' voters?

The passage of Prop 8 which legalized prejudice in this state is perhaps the most important issue involved in this election. It certainly is the largest that no one is talking about.

Cooley is absolutely a Yes H-8er and states that he would have defended Prop 8. Jerry Brown and the Goverator chose not to defend Prop 8.

Harris has stated her opposition of Prop 8.  WWJD (What Would Jerry Do?) would have applied to Ms. Harris.

If you believe that human rights and equality are more important than name recognition, then the Cooley/Harris race should at least be a toss-up here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Don't forget the 'Ceremonial Tree'

RAP presser:

The City of Los Angeles Department of RECREATION and PARKS & GAY FOR GOOD are hosting the 2nd Annual Runyon Canyon Restoration Day

WHEN:          Saturday, October 23, 2010    9am-2pm

WHERE:       Runyon Canyon Park (Fuller Gate Entrance)   2000 North Fuller, Los Angeles, CA 90046

WHAT:           The Department of Recreation and Parks in partnership with Gay For Good is hosting the 2nd Annual Runyon Canyon Restoration Day. Over 100 volunteers will come together to clean-up, replant and restore the popular Hollywood Hills Park. Volunteers will cut and clear brush, mulch hillsides, build sandbag supports, repair information kiosks and restore heavily eroded trails around the City Park. A ceremonial tree will be planted to commemorate the event. 

 The 2nd Annual Runyon Canyon Restoration Day is being supported by Councilmember Tom LaBonge (Council District 4), TreePeople, Hollywood United Methodist Church, Hollywood Hills Neighborhood Council and Upper Nichols Canyon HOA.

Runyon Canyon is 160-acre City of Los Angeles Park that features a children’s play area, hiking trails and a 90-acre off-leash dog area. The popular hiking location has numerous trails and three breathtaking observation points with stunning views of Hollywood and the surrounding Los Angeles area.

 Gay For Good is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) volunteer service organization with over 1600 members in Los Angeles and has chapters in four other U.S. cities. Founded in 2008, the group aims to build goodwill and understanding through monthly service projects to environmental and social welfare organizations outside the LGBT community.    
WHO:             Councilmember Tom LaBonge (Council District 4)
                        TreePeople Staff
                        Hollywood Hills Neighborhood Council members
                        Volunteers working hard to restore the popular park

For more information about the Department of Recreation and Parks events, activities, programs, services and facilities, go to, or call 311, or 213.202.2700.

Sensing no challenge, LaBonge moves on plans for Toyon Canyon

It looks like John Ferraro's loyal council aide is operating like the March election has already come and gone.

LaBonge is moving on his plans to develop Toyon Canyon in Griffith Park, beginning this week with one of his infamous 'public consensus' meetings in which he invites carefully chosen members of the public to a public meeting to rubber stamp one of his projects.

LaBonge has quietly called one of those meetings this week for Toyon Canyon, but won't give any specifics in advance on what exactly he wants rubber stamped up there.

Whatever it is, it appears no one can or will be able to challenge it as LaBonge is once again running essentially unopposed for CD4. Sure Stephen Box is technically running, but it hasn't been much of a campaign so far, unless a shoestring budget and a slew of articles on CityWatch about biking constitute a campaign.

Sadly, no. As Joe B. aptly pointed out, even the semblance of fair elections was eradicated by the Supreme Court recently and we get to live with the post-decision hell. Without a ton of special interest cash and a wealthy political action committee or two backing you, good guys like Stephen don't stand a chance.

Short of a miracle it looks like it's another four years of LaBonge for CD 4 and Griffith Park. But this time he'll be completely unencumbered with the threat of needing to be re-elected. And you thought he was a bully in the past. Among other consequences, a third term for an unencumbered LaBonge likely means thumbs up on the Universal City expansion and another 70,000 humans packed into CD 4 on the north side of Griffith Park. (now taking odds on this one for all you gambling types ).

Toyon Canyon was the City landfill shoved into the middle of Griffith Park in the 1950s. Closure plans have it being returned to natural habitat in the heart of the urban wilderness section of the park.  LaBonge wants baseball fields on Toyon and even tried to have cable cars installed there by writing them into the widely-hated Melendrez version of the Griffith Park Master plan.

Odds are that at the secret meeting to be held this week, LaBonge will likely be content to start with yet another artificial picnic area to get a toe-hold on the property. Look for carefully selected constituents to dutifully approve those picnic grounds on Toyon Canyon as they try to dodge something bigger on the property by approving just a picnic area.

However, it is never just a picnic area for Tom LaBonge. Once March comes and goes, you can expect a councilmember completely unfettered with re election to go nuts with all that free land on Toyon. After all, Walt Disney looked at all that free land in Griffith Park and envisioned Disneyland - why shouldn't Tom do the same?

Monday, October 11, 2010

About time.

How about a little news from Griffith Park? 

Yesterday a 90 year old male hiker was rescued from the Mt. Hollywood area of the park when he became disoriented due to what was probably heat exhaustion and fell, hitting his head. Park rangers were summoned and an LAFD helicopter got the gentleman to the hospital in time.

We'd like to remind everyone who uses the park to please pay careful attention to weather conditions and your personal condition before you hike.  Griffith may be a city park, but most of it is really an urban wilderness and must be treated with respect before you venture into it.

Stay safe!

Image from