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

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bad news: the Bud Light Riders return

Hansen Dam basin; Little Tujunga cuts perpendicular to the freeway at center of photo.
Little Tujunga Wash in the north east San Fernando Valley is the most heavily used equestrian access from Hansen Dam Recreational Area into the National Forest. The main trail through the canyon takes riders from the Hansen Dam basin to trails accessing the Doc Larsen loop, Rattlesnake trail, and Kagel and Marek Canyons to name a just a few.  Beyond those lie historic National Forest trails for the hardcore riders.

Although it was heavily impacted by soil erosion from the Station and Marek Fires, the Little Tujunga Wash has recovered quickly. Wildlife big and small have depended on this beautiful oasis for survival since these fires, with deer and bobcat sightings now almost the norm rather than a rare treat. It wasn't too long ago that from the relative safety of my horse's back I had the honor of watching a mother bobcat and two cubs work their way through a section of this canyon.

Water flows through Little Tujunga all year round, sometimes above ground and in other parts just below the sand. One of two major inlets into Hansen Dam, the water flowing in this canyon ends up flowing out of your tap if you live in Los Angeles. In fact, 1/7th of LA's drinking water flows through the Hansen Dam basin.

It is a very beautiful, environmentally sensitive area and it must be respected as such.

Some people, however, have no respect for this beautiful natural area, instead treating it like their personal dump.

The problem of trashing of Little Tujunga and surrounding trails is far from non-trivial. Earlier this week I spent about 1 1/2 hours picking up trash on a section of the equestrian trail close to the basin. Along just 1.3 miles of this trail, in 90 minutes on foot I collected:
  • 55 beer cans, 33 of which were Bud Light
  • 23 water/sports drink bottles
  • 11 glass beer bottles
  • 1 Coke can
  • 1 Starbucks can
  • A few other trash items
Poison oak forced me to leave quite a few Bud Light cans behind.

After dragging all of this crap back down the canyon, I gotta ask again:
Who are the Bud Light Riders?

Drinking while riding in public spaces is illegal, same as drinking and driving. It is not only illegal, it is dangerous. Of course, littering is illegal. It is also damaging to the environment, to nature, and disrespectful to those who do ride on this trail responsibly.

The Bud Light Riders don't just trash up Little Tujunga Canyon, their crap is all over every single connecting trail throughout the NE San Fernando Valley.

1.3 miles of the Little Tujunga trail along which 55 beer cans 
were collected in just 90 minutes
The last time I wrote about this problem,  some discussion among parts of the community who primarily use this trail took place. Unfortunately, the discussion sounded for the most part like soundbytes from those who defend drinking while driving.    

"I'm always in control." "I know when to stop."  "I just do it to relax."

Many responses were very aggressive, defending drinking while riding in public spaces as if it were a god-given right.

Of course, to a person those admitting they do drink and ride swear they always 'have control at all times', and to a person they all swear they 'pack all their empties out'. A few claim they know who does all the littering - usually ID'd as some nebulous ethnic group who are supposedly belligerent when asked not to litter. 

Well, gee: a lot of someones are obviously engaged in this activity by the sheer volume of crap I picked up over a very small section of this trail.

Someone isn't packing their empties out, either.

I'm hardly the only one who cleans up this area, too. The real amount of beer can trash dumped annually along this trail is much greater than just what I picked up this trip.

Time to man up. If the Bud Light Riders are only one person or group, as some who defend drinking while riding will insist, then let's get these people identified and cited at the very least.

As for those who drink and ride, that law exists for good reason. Start looking into drinking and driving statistics. 17 million drive drunk in the US annually, risking their own lives and the lives of everyone else on the road with them.  The State of California rightfully considers drinking and driving as the drinker being armed with a 2,000lb or greater weapon when behind the wheel, with real impairment starting at Blood Alcohol Levels lower than .04.

A horse may not be 2000 lbs of steel, but they are 1000 lbs of animal with a mind of their own. To maximize everyone's safety, riders need to be in control of themselves and their horses at all times.

If you drink and ride, please reconsider. Imagine how good that beer will taste when you get back home from a long, hot ride.

Meanwhile, let's find out who the Bud Light Riders are and bring their trashing of our environmentally sensitive areas out in full public view.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

[RonKaye] CRA's Unlimited Authority to Squander Tax Money Anywhere in LA on Anything

Beutner's Folly:  
The CRA's Unlimited Authority to Squander Tax Money Anywhere in LA on Anything

By Ron Kaye
TAKE ACTION NOW:  Contact Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, 
State Capitol Building, Sacramento CA 95814
Phone: 916-445-2841 Fax: 916-558-3160

Please Arnold, veto Felipe Fuentes' audacious bill AB 2531.

Don't join the conspiracy to destroy LA in order to save it.

Don't allow the scandal-plagued Community Redevelopment Agency to take tax money for schools, libraries, parks and other basic services and give it to just about anyone, for any purpose, projects or programs, anywhere in the city, even outside CRA project areas.

Don't rob four million people to enrich the few.

Don't destroy the intent of redevelopment law and put billions of dollars in public money into the hands of one man -- First Deputy Mayor and Interim DWP General Manager Austin Beutner -- without adequate safeguards to protect the public interest.

AB 2531 is now sitting on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk awaiting his signature or veto.

Here's what it does:
"This bill would, until January 1, 2018, authorize the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles, at the request of the legislative body, to prepare applications for, and execute, economic development programs, to accept public or private assistance, and to expend those funds for any economic development activities inside or outside a project area within the territorial jurisdiction of the agency"

This bill would, until January 1, 2018, expand the agency's programmatic authority by authorizing it to provide direct assistance including, but not limited to, loans, financial guarantees, or other financial assistance, to business within project areas in connection with new or existing facilities for retaining or expanding employment in the project area, increasing energy efficiency of buildings in the project area, or for other specified redevelopment purposes. This bill would specify that these programs constitute redevelopment, as defined.
The legislative history of AB 2531 shows it was written solely for Los Angeles, and nowhere else in California, specifically to empower Beutner as the city's economic czar controlling the harbor, airport, DWP, planning, building and safety and among other departments to get his hands on local, state and federal money and channel it through his hand-picked leadership at CRA to whomever he wants.

It's all being done in the name of "jobs, jobs, jobs" no matter what they cost the public and is backed by city and San Fernando Valley business groups, environmentalists and, of course, City Hall's favorite union, the IBEW, which stands to benefit greatly since the key justification for AB 2531 is that there be some small environmental connection, as small as any increase in water or power efficiency or use of recycled materials.

Read the rest of this important story at

Use less

For those who cannot get enough of the councilmember from District 4 (until this March), Tom LaBonge's semi-annual Griffith Park equinox public hike is tonight.

This tidbit, passed along to us in this morning's email without attribution, deftly sums up the entire package:

For what it is worth - Tom's fall equinox hike is tomorrow (Thursday).

It begins at 6 at the Observatory- goes to Mt. Hollywood.

He is usually late and arrives by his city car. case anyone wants to talk to him - which would be useless.

Bet you didn't know

The Thoroughbred Times is reporting that Bell Eight poster child Robert Rizzo spends an awful lot of his allegedly ill-gained cash on bangtails.  Excerpt:
Rizzo races mostly at Emerald Downs (Auburn, WA) and Golden Gate Fields. His Rizzo Racing Stable Inc. has started ten horses this year, collecting six wins from 38 starters and $43,373 in earnings. His top runners have included Irene’s Bonus Baby, who won the $100,000 Barbara Shinpoch Stakes in 2006 at Emerald, and Princess Hiawatha, who finished second in the ’07 Barbara Shinpoch and Angie C. Stakes. Rizzo owns a ranch near Emerald in Auburn, Washington.

Race horses cost bank to maintain. If the guy has been racing thoroughbreds since at least 2006, then his alleged shenanigans probably go back a lot further than 2006.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

LA dream

Shit's a poppin' this morning in the City of Bell where 8 City officials were actually arrested for their shenanigans.

Former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo, former Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia, Mayor Oscar Hernandez; Councilmembers Luis Artiga, Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal, and former Councilmembers George Cole and Victor Bellowere arrested on warrants from the LA County DA's office.

Strangely enough, I had a similar dream last night. The beleaguered citizens of Los Angeles City itself finally rose up in protest against the mismanagement, abuse, and outright theft of their very quality of life.

In the dream, arrests were made. Different names, same high profile arrests:

Former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo    David Freeman (DWP)
Former Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia    Raj Raman (DWP)
Mayor Oscar Hernandez    Antonio Villaraigosa
Councilmember Luis Artiga    Richard Alarcon
Councilmember Teresa Jacobo    Jan Perry
Councilmember George Mirabal    Tom LaBonge
Former Councilmember George Cole    Jack Weiss

But alas, it was only a dream.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Art Sale & Auction in Sunland-Tujunga

Karla Bartholomew "Hansen Dam - Blooming Yuccas"
Oil on Canvas, 13" x 15"

What a perfect day and time of year for this...

Tomorrow (Sunday), at beautiful & historic McGroarty Arts Center in Tujunga, an art sale & silent auction will be held from 3-6pm. An extremely generous individual, who wishes to remain anonymous, has donated his entire 80 piece art collection to benefit 3 important community groups. In addition, local artists have stepped up and donated over 30 of their own works to the event.

The beneficiaries of the sale & auction are the Little Landers Historical Society, The McGroarty Arts Center, and the Sunland-Tujunga Alliance (of which I am a director).

There will be live music (a harpist and a pianist), and wine donated by the Novy family winery. Your host will be the lovely and talented Franny McCartney (former member of Bette Midler's Harlettes, and a back up singer for Bob Dylan, Barbara Streisand and more).

The literal icing on the cake is that the famous Baking Angels of Sunland-Tujunga have whipped up another complimentary batch of delicious goodies just for you! The Baking Angels have come through on numerous fundraisers for the community, and provided treats for the firefighters during the Station Fire.

The art is being sold at below appraised value. There will be raffles and specials during the event. Good times with good friends to raise funds for 3 great groups!

Art Sale & Auction
McGroarty Arts Center
7570 McGroarty Terrace
Tujunga, CA 91042-2614
(818) 352-5285

Doors open at 3pm. Event ends at 6pm.
Admission is free.

Nancy LaCroix-Toyne, "Bowl of Cherries"
Oil on Panel
9/1/2" x 11-1/2"

Monday, September 13, 2010

Prop 19: Time for a change

When you consider that those under the influence of marijuana are less violent and less likely to commit violent crime than those under the influence of alcohol, Proposition 19 is legislation that is long overdue.

Excerpt from the AP:

Ex-Officers, Judges Support Marijuana Legalization

WEST HOLLYWOOD (AP) — A group of former law enforcement officials on Monday endorsed a November ballot measure that would legalize marijuana in California, saying it would unclog court dockets and allow police to focus on more serious crime.

The group supporting Proposition 19 is largely comprised of former or retired police officers, judges and prosecutors. Among them are former San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan and ex-San Jose police Chief Joseph McNamara.

Supporters said keeping pot illegal props up drug cartels and overburdens the state’s court system. Stephen Downing, former deputy chief for the Los Angeles Police Department, said the nation’s drug policy has failed, likening it to cutting off the leg of a spider to cripple it.

Read the rest here.

Park pic of the day: Park in the Park

Linkin Park playing the Observatory in Griffith Park at the MTV Music Awards.
Photo by ReMiyazato who was lucky enough to be there!
Watch Linken Park's whole performance here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Park pic of the day

An absolutely spectacular Twitpic of the San Rafael Hills from Beaudry South? with  SR- 2 in the foreground by tjlockwood. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

David Berger likes the LAFD too

A very cool photo and great play by play of September 5th's Sepulveda Pass brusher was in our in-box this morning from none other than Mr. David Berger. I'm kind of surprised he's still speaking to us. At least we share the same love of a good air attack.

Let's leave politics aside for a moment, and give a big 'Thank You' to the men and women of the Los Angeles City Fire Dept., who yesterday (Sept. 5th) did an awesome job in tackling the 10 acre Mountain Gate Fire just east of the 405 freeway near the Getty Center.

The fire was reported at around 5pm and smoke quickly filled the nearby Beverly Glen Canyon, worrying residents who were understandably anxious, given the dry spell we've been having. As the air filled with smoke, so too did it fill with the sound of helicopters as LA City FD deployed 5 of their own firefighting helicopters and a mighty Erikson S64E Air-Crane (currently leased by LA County Fire Dept.) together with 130 firefighters. By 7:25pm, LA City Fire Dept., reported that the fire had been "fully contained," in other words "put out" in plain English. The cause of the fire was rumored to be related to some sort of automobile incident, but at the time of writing there's no official word.

In the 10 months that I served at the City Attorney's Office, I got to know a number of firefighters, and whatever might be wrong with the way our City is run, I was always impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the brave men and women of our Fire Dept. Thank you for keeping us safe and dealing with the Mountain Gate Fire so efficiently and effectively.

I did manage to take a few photos of our tax dollars at work, and here's a shot of Helicopter Number 4 dropping water on the fire. There are some more photos at:
David Berger

Thursday, September 2, 2010