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October 28, 2007

Pinkberry patrol

These cops did not want doughnuts. Saturday about noon -- the time when the anti-war rally was set to begin at Olympic Ave. not far away -- my daughter and I were in Little Tokyo. We cut through the plaza at the Japanese America Cultural Center, as we usually do when she has a doctor's appointment, and were on our way to get lichee ice cream on the south/east side of 2nd Street when the bicycle cops started shooting past us -- one after another until they were about fifteen. They zipped over the sidewalk, stopped their bikes and dismounted with an air of purpose and urgency. All business, they parked their bikes in the plaza.

I asked if they were here for the demonstration (which I had hoped to attend). No, was the answer, that was going to be up on Broadway (2 blocks away). When enough of them had arrived, they were ready for the next phase of their mission: Pinkberry. They all went in, and then, as far as I know, they all came out with the yogurt frozen stuff they sell at Pinkberry. Meanwhile, Madeleine and I crossed 2nd street, got our ice cream, and passed the cops on our way back to Echo Park. Downtown, there were helicopters and blocked streets, it took us about half an hour to get back to EP, which of course was a different scene entirely: yard sales and languid yet busy cafe Chango, shoppers at Sunset and EP Ave., dogs going on walks, a "Free Daytime Party at Echo Park Lake" (also missed) with bands like Very Be Careful, James Lumb (Electric Skychurch) with Miss Darcey Leonard, Sam Sparro and a Puppet Workshop by Marcel deJure / Cinnamon Roll Gang: In EP things were peaceful.

October 26, 2007

Carp per diem

Dear Benjamin, thank you so much for replying to my question about carp in the Los Angeles River. You provided so much information that I am definitely going to share it on the corner. Though I do believe some some readers may object to your plan to kidnap the turtles of Echo Park Lake and re-home them at the river.* Then again, I'm not sure I trust any of the engineering firms that are now competing for the revamp-the-lake project to do any better by the turtles. I hope the river carp have not been over-eaten.
Sincerely Yours,
Chicken Corner

Benjamin wrote:

Dear Chicken Corner: Yes, the carp are good in soup. Carp are considered a trash fish in America, but a delicacy in Europe and Asia. They have a lot of bones, and mushy, bland meat. But, in soup, fine. Are they safe? It turns out carp do hold poison in their little bodies, but mostly in guts.
Oddly enough, carp from the Sierra Nevada are likely to be dangerous, due to a type of mercury poisoning. Mercury somehow leaches from old gold mine tailings, and gets into the clear blue water, and poisons the carp. If you eat more than one a year, you are poisoning yourself, and especially do not eat if pregnant. Jeez, poisoned while fishing a clear mountain stream. As far as I can tell, no one has tested LA River carp. So I eat a few a year. There were very abundant about one year ago, but too many people started to fish, and they are less common now. They are a pretty golden-silvery-bronzey color. The mallards do not migrate, I am fairly sure. There are some Canadian geese on the river, and I wonder about them. Also, some white and mixed-color geese here and there. I have seen great blue heron, many sizes of white heron, and many other birds. Crayfish were very common one year, but not since. I have seen cormorants divebombing the river, and coming up with a carp in their beaks, which they eat. They then triumphantly sun themselves with black wings spread open, while perched on river rocks. I bet the carp do not appreciate that display. I wonder if turtles would add or subtract from the river. Would they eat eggs, reducing population of fish and birds? I wonder if the carp ate all the crayfish eggs. Everything is a wonder. I wonder if big snapping turtles could make a go of it. After all, a croc lived for a couple of years in that cruddy little lake down by the harbor. I think I will try to transplant some Echo Park turtles. If successful, we can graduate to snapping turtles. I am also putting some beehives on top of my factory. There are feral bee colonies here, so I think it will work.

I do know one thing about cormorants: they spread their wings to dry -- a design flaw, perhaps, as they are waterfowl who don't tolerate wet for long. Of course, it's possible they are proud and pleased to be gobbling up the carp.

*(Oh, I just remembered the turtle relocation plan was Chicken Corner's originally.)

October 25, 2007

7th annual human rights films fest in EP at EPFC

Home and community are the themes of this year's Human Rights films fest at the Echo Park Film Center -- this weekend.

Echo Park Film Center hosts the 7th Annual Human Rights Film Festival on October 27 & 28. The festival is free and open to the general public.

Sixteen films range in length from 2 minutes to 116, with some of the filmmakers present.

Fire benefit at Dodger Stadium

Howard of the Dodgers wrote to the Echo Park Animal Alliance today that the Dodgers would be co-hosting a benefit for the Red Cross and its effort to help people affected by the fires. The benefit will be televised. To this, Chicken Corner says: Go, Dodgers! This is a wonderful and appropriate service to the region. But Chicken Corner would be remiss not to point out a fire issue right in the Dodgers' front, back and side yards, especially on the east side of the park, which is where the stadium is located. On a recent stroll through the north-east sections of the park I saw that there was trash all over the place, and there was so much uncleared brush on the hillsides above the Golden State's ready to burn. How about an inexpensive -- and televised
-- clean-up over there?

Howard wrote:

Dear Neighbor: In light of the terrible fire tragedy that has displaced thousands of Southern California families, the Los Angeles Dodgers have partnered with KCBS2/KCAL9 to have a day-long fundraiser at Dodger Stadium tomorrow, Friday, October 26th and Monday, October 27th from 5:00AM to 11:00PM. All monies collected will go to the American Red Cross to aid in their humanitarian efforts towards this disaster.
The fundraising location will be inside of our Sunset Avenue Gate (located at Stadium Way/Elysian Park Avenue). Set-up will commence at approx 3:00AM with vehicles being allowed to line-up starting at approx 4:30AM. Prospective donors will be allowed to drive up into the Stadium, make their donations and then circle back out of the property. The event will also have live television and radio remotes taking place, also from inside the property.
Note that Dodger personnel and senior executives will be on hand to monitor the event during its entirety. Should you have any concerns relative to these events; please call our Neighborhood Focus Line at (323) 224-2636.Best regards, Howard Sunkin, Sr VP, Public Affairs, Los Angeles Dodgers
What's missing from this word picture?

Photo: Chicken Corner from Magic Gas Panoramic
By Cindy Bennett

Chicken Corner

This morning, I received an email from a reader named Rene who was raised in the Del Mor Apartments building on Echo Park Avenue between Delta and Grafton. Since about 1999, galleries and then boutiques replaced old-time venues such as the Suku Suku (sp?) club, and hipsters and artists have moved into most of the units in a building that once was occupied principally by low-income Latino families. El Batey grocery is the last of the pre-2000 commercial shops, though it occupies half the space it used to have. The other half was transformed into Chango coffee house.

Dear Jenny, I grew up in that brick building above the Batey. I'm old school. I was there when all the ExP [Echo Park gang] was around. I thought I'd write you because I moved away to Oregon when I was fifteen. I haven't been back for almost ten years, but I've heard about the changes [in the neighborhood]. Even though things were bad back then it sucks the people aren't around anymore. I'm one of the many sad stories of that place. I always called it poverty's paradise. The place where the concrete bleeds and mothers' tears water seeds. It's sad the newcomers don’t know the history.

Some of the other changes at Chicken Corner include the revamping of Magic Gas; the disappearance of the chickens and goat in the lot across the street from Chango; the disappearance of the chicken mural on the Delta wall of the Del Mor Apartments; the exponential rise in rent and property "values"; the coming and going of several art galleries; the introduction of a stop sign; fewer children.

What's missing from this picture? The stories.

October 24, 2007

Hernandez in San Diego

Echo Park blogger Daniel Hernandez -- soon to be Mexico City writer/and maybe blogger -- was in San Diego yesterday, watching the fires and visiting a refugee center. Daniel reported:

Tijuana fire authorities are sending reinforcements north. Traffic jammed at Qualcomm. Many evacuation centers no longer need supplies and donations. Still, fires remain active and some new evacuations are being called. Six people have now died, four of them eldery evacuees. The estimates of people displaced and acreage scorched are just astronomical. The Union-Tribune also has a scenes blog.

As of now (Wednesday morning), there are reportedly three major fires still burning in SD County.

October 23, 2007

They painted the mountain

Three days ago, standing at the top of the Baxter Steps, there were clear skies, no fires and a swath of green on a southeastern face of Griffith Park. I assumed the green was new grass, as there were fresh shoots coming up on Kite Hill, below me. I didn't give it much more thought. Then, today, on a stroll through the eastern side of Elysian Park, I saw that half the east side of Griffith Park, way in the distance, was a limey-pale green, artificial looking. It was before noon, and there wasn't much smoke in the sky; the weird light and scorching air came later. One of my two (human) strolling companions said the green wasn't grass: it had been dumped by helicopters, which were dropping seeds and maybe flame retardant, maybe a little green decoration. "They" were spray-painting the mountain. They left no initials, so I don't know whether it was LAFD or Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks Urban Forestry (RXP) or Keno or Chaka or anyone else. In the afternoon, a lavender-gray-brown curtain began to lower over the Angeles Forest, where I heard fires were burning. At my daughter's preschool, all the kids were kept inside after lunchtime. Outside, it was hot, despite being overcast, the clouds being made of smoke instead of moisture. The light was muted and bright at the same time. I imagine it was this way--the light from a planet with three suns-- for most of the city, but can't say for sure as I never left the neighborhood.

October 20, 2007

A good neighbor

Sunday I received an email from Mindy, who wanted to praise Peter Shire, the ceramicist and sculptor, for the way he opened his studio to neighborhood kids when Mindy was younger.

Mindy wrote:

I am the youngest of the Saenz family that lived in Echo Park. My brother Richard Saenz was the first known leader of the Echo Park gang, got 25 to life for killing the guy that killed our brother Fernando Saenz back in 1979 -- they found his body in Elysian Park. We still have a lot of family members who live in the neighborhood. I want you to know that a lot of us grew up in dysfunctional families, and I can remember when I was a little girl and Pete Shire first moved to our neighborhood. Pete Shire is a part of our neighborhood family. ... He loves Echo Park like we do. He was the best thing that happen to us kids back in '70s -- instead of hanging in the streets [we'd go to the ceramics studio on Echo Park Ave.]. He'd let us play with his clay and make things and take it home to show our parents. He's been an inspiration in a lot of peoples' lives. I can go on with things that he's done for all of us in the neighborhood. I just wanted you to know how loved Pete Shire is in this neighborhood. That's a good man!

In the past, I've heard from neighbors with Echo Park gang connections that Peter included their images in his plate-portraits series. They own Shire pottery. If a person can represent an intersection of the neighborhood, then Peter Shire -- raised in EP, whose mother was a well-known activist who suffered as a result of perceived affiliation with the Communist Party -- gets his own corner.

October 19, 2007

GEPENC election...results?

Well, word on the street has it that District 1 of the Echo-Elysian Neighborhood Council (GEPENC) has new reps: Christine Peters, the energetic and skilled servant of many neighborhood organizations, and Larry Pickens, who is dead. Like Peters, Pickens was a beloved community activist. He choked to death at home after his name was already on the neighborhood council ballot. He appears to be deeply missed by many in the neighborhood, as his election attests.

As for the other districts -- 2, 3 and 4 -- I can't say for sure who won seats to represent those in last Saturday's election. I checked GEPENC's website on and off during the week, and so far it doesn't appear to have been updated. The "election results" button leads to results from a previous year. I hope the tardy results posting is not a sign of dysfunction.

Catfish and more turtles

A reader named Benjamin wrote me with the following observation and suggestions, per animal husbandry, LA River:

Your entry on Taix, and the Frenchies duck-hunting, makes me wonder. Are there too many mallards now on the LA River? What if they are polluting the river? They have to poop somewhere. Do they get eaten by coyotes? Are they safe to eat? Mallards are like pigeons on parts of the river. River carp taste okay. I do wish they would stock something else, like catfish. A few damns and catfish and talipia and turtles, and lots of nesting areas for mallards.

Well, I know where they can find the turtles. There are about a thousand red-eared sliders at Echo Park Lake. Just charter a turtle bus and drive them down to the LA River. Note that many of these are abandoned pets -- or the descendants of them, so be extra nice to them, please. As for coyotes and ducks, if you borrow a film producer and a screenwriter and go down to the lake -- maybe the river, too -- to talk ideas at 2 or 3 a.m., a coyote may appear to eat a duck. Don't forget to bring a Page 6 reporter.

Duck poop: that's a good question. I assume it's being washed down to the ocean, but I can't say for sure. Nor do I know whether said mallards are year-rounders or migrants, which would probably make a difference in terms of pollution. About the carp, Benjamin, are you saying that they taste good to you? Or that they taste good to coyotes and waterfowl?

October 17, 2007

Paddle boats: community won't forget

The paddle boats of MacArthur Park and Echo Park lakes get good paper and ink in the LA Weekly this week as writer David Ferrell points out that city employees are getting a 23% pay raise...and the paddle boats and their captains are told to go take a long swim in the ocean.

In regard to the city not being "able to afford" the foot-powered craft, EP activist Isa Kae meksin puts it nicely: “If they could sustain this during the Depression, why can’t they now? You have no idea how upset the community is about this.”

Echo benefit

The system? What system. These days it may be your rock-and-roll pals who come to your medical rescue. Case in point: Animal Magik, Blank Blue, Lavender Diamond, the Long Lost, Winter Flowers and Entrance will play tomorrow night (Thursday) to benefit painter/Show Pony proprietess/Echo Park personality Kime Buzzelli, whose medical care depends on an infusion of funds. So wrong...yet the evening sounds so right. Click here for info.

October 16, 2007

You can't find these flavors in EP

Ice cream in Echo Park. Hmm, yes -- or, rather, no. There used to be trucks everywhere -- hand-painted, sometimes piloted by drug dealers, sometimes by undercover cops. Not that I ever made use of the ice cream trucks. The truck that used to cruise nearest my house -- then on Sargent Place -- played a memorable piece of the Macarena (is there more than one part?) for the whole arroyo/canyon -- drove up and down Morton, where there were more children than I see these days (talking late 1990s). Of course, in the 60s and 70s, there were the Maoists and the co-op and the ice-cream scandals. Then, in this millenium, Chango opened and offered scoops for a while. But I haven't seen ice cream in their freezer for some time now. Which leaves the Spiderman ice cream truck. What happened? There are new gelato places all over Silver Lake. In East L.A. and in Hollywood you can get amazing Central American flavors (Ciudad magazine has helado info). And, now, Esotouric Tours, has sponsored a "suite" of limited-edition (thank God, actually) designer flavors in honor of a rock-and-roll tour of the Sunset Strip and "other places of subcultural importance."

As a special treat for passengers on the tour's debut excursion [Oct. 21], gelato master Tai Kim of East Hollywood's cult favorite Scoops is creating a suite of new flavors inspired by the mind-altering, hard-living spirit of the 1960s and 1970s Sunset Strip scene. It's a playful opportunity to imagine: if Jim, Janis, Jimi and Iggy ate gelato, which flavor would they pick? Tai's special flavors, available for a very limited time and free to tour passengers, include Hemp Oil and Honey, Vanilla and Jack Daniels, Pomegranate and Poppy Seeds, Mint and Jim Beam, Nicotine and Peppermint (made with crushed Nicorette gum), Juniperberry and Pear Sorbet, Guinness Tiramisu and in a bizarre take on the 1970s health food fad, Avocado and Beer Sorbet.

The problem, or perhaps the saving grace, is that you have to leave EP for Nicotene ice cream. ...Some day, though, they'll have the Echo Park pop-music tour. I am trying to imagine the ice cream that would inspire. Eucalyptus-moonshine...Loquat-pot...Elderberry-brown rice. The future is hard to see, and harder to taste.

October 12, 2007

EP enfranchise

Stakeholders are begged to come and vote for their favorites (or whomever) for seats on the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council Elections (GEPENC). This Saturday -- i.e., tomorrow -- from 9 to 5, at Logan Elementary School, corner of Montana and Logan Streets.

FAQ: What is a stakeholder?

FGA: A stakeholder is anyone over 18 who lives in the area, or works here, or drinks coffee or tequila here or even just attends services in EP -- that's you Neuroticos Anonimos! If the Foursquare Church can bus in congregants to vote (as they are rumored to be planning to do -- I'd love to be wrong about that), then I am hoping the Neuroticos will do the same. So should Arthur mag, and the silent-film obelisk society members and dog walkers, cat walkers, the cleaners and the mess-makers.

Come out and tip the balance!

October 10, 2007

Tale of Taix

Last night, in the evocative, old Spanish-style library of Barlow Hospital the Echo Park Historical Society members and friends gathered to hear the story of the restaurant/landmark/nightspot Taix. Michael Taix (pronounced Tex), who is the grandson of the founder, told a colorful tale not just of L.A.'s oldest French restaurant but of his family. Complete with dozens of cool old pix. As Michael Taix tells it, the family came to L.A. from the upper French alps in the 1880s. (Hard to breathe and make a living in the high altitudes.) They pronounced the X before they even crossed the pond. Michael grew up in Los Feliz and Silver Lake and lives in La Crescenta now.

Greatgrandpa lived in what then was L.A.'s French quarter, bought lots of real estate, sent his son back to France for an education in pharmacology. According to Michael this is the way Taix became a restaurant: one of his grandpa's tenants, who ran a French restaurant, was serving liquor openly during prohibition.

The G-men told Grandpa his tenant had to stop. Tenant threw down his keys and walked out (who ever heard of a French restaurant without alcool?!) And so Grandpa Taix took over the country-style French restaurant -- then in the 300 block of Commercial Street downtown -- and renamed it Taix. In the back room, the same G-men came in for Brandy served more acceptably in coffee cups. What's more, since Grandpa Taix was a pharmacist he had access to legal liquor, which was available for "medicinal purposes." (Sound familiar?) In this way he was able to medicate his restaurant patrons. With onion soup, too.

In the '60s, the restaurant's site was eminent-domained for what eventually became a parking lot. So Taix moved to Echo Park, because Frenchmen love duck hunting, which they did at Echo Park Lake and at the river. (Noooo!) Then there were the mariachis, it being the '60s and all. ... Well, that's Michael's story, and I'm sticking to it.

EP Diary

Clear, bright days, filled with promise as the leaves start to come down. Several publications seem to be doing stories on the paddle boats -- or the lack of them, among them La Opinion and the LA Weekly, which called me for a Chicken Corner perspective on the matter. I would have said Martin Cox was the person to talk to -- he's the force behind the upswell of paddle boat support -- but it was Martin who gave them ny number. Petitions are going around, in an effort to get the boats back at least for weekends. A pair of photo exhibitions opening to raise awareness of the boats, one of them having its opening reception Oct. 13: At Mama's Hot Tamales Restaurant, 2124 W. 7th St. LA, from 1 to 3 pm.

Around Elysian Heights, a few things have caught my eye: graffiti on a mattress propped against a white-ish and un-graffitied retaining wall on Valentine Street. Flocks of nuthatches (?), the tiny-tiny birds, eating black olives which are shriveling on the olive trees on upper Ewing near the park; done with the olives they move to a hibiscus that's covered with white flies. The Becket-like waiting each day, before 7 am, of a crossing guard at Ewing and EP Ave. -- said guard waiting for children who are nowhere in sight as the Headstart facility at that intersection is still under construction (the guard might be waiting for Elysian Elementary kids, but she seem to be out at the intersection too early). Coyote on a hillside, perfectly camouflaged except for its huge ears, which are outlined in black.

This Friday will be the one-year anniversary celebration of Echo Park's farmer's market -- at the market of course.

Last but not least, as you may have noticed earlier this week on LAObserved, Abel Salas (a friend) has a new blog out of El Sereno, which is the new Echo Park, perhaps.

October 8, 2007

Taix message

I heard the bread has changed, perhaps not for the better, but in most ways Taix changes slowly and not much over time. The French restaurant brings all kinds together: there's the local pols and their staffers, there's cops and robbers, office types, clergy, type-A slackers. I sat at the bar one time and next to me was a man I recognized -- he had been a waiter at one of the only sushi joints in Iowa City, Iowa. Many of us in Echo Park have celebrated many birthdays at the bar, cried in our beers, watched performers punish their ukeleles, watched the Clippers lose big screen. It's a lot of history in those windowless rooms, and this Wednesday, one of the founding family members will talk to the Echo Park Historical Society about it -- during the EPHS quarterly meeting.

Says the EPHS:

In 1927, Marius Taix Jr. opened a downtown restaurant featuring 50-cent chicken dinners served at communal tables (25 cents more got you a private booth). Eighty years later, Taix French Restaurant is still going strong under its third generation of family ownership at its "new" Echo Park location, which opened in 1962. Marius' grandson, Michael Taix, will present the colorful story and vintage photos of this restaurant that has survived eight decades of intense competition and constantly changing tastes. This presentation is part of the EPHS' quarterly meeting, which is free and open to the public.

Date & Time: Wednesday, Oct 10 @ 7 p.m. Location: Barlow Library at Barlow Hospital, 2000 Stadium Way.

October 5, 2007

The coyote diaries

Friday, Oct. 5. Skittered in circles today, mostly at home. Fine weather. Heard from a reader named Donna Barstow Cartoons who was concerned for the future of Slacker Coyote. Got me worried, too. A coyote without a pack is like a man/woman without a home. ... It's been a good year for Shiraz grapes in Echo Park, I heard from Heather D'Augustine (Madeleine and I were on our way home from Costco, gas tank low). Perfect sugar and Ph (for the grapes). But Heather and Joe lost half their Kite Hill crop to coyotes, who ate about 100 lbs of low-lying fruit, almost half what they expected to harvest. Coyote enjoys grapes at about 4 in the morning, magic hour for Shiraz. Heather emailed me some details.

First, Donna:

I've been observing coyotes in Silver Lake, Los Feliz & Griffith Park for many years, and I feel sorry for that fellow [Slacker Coyote]. He probably won't be able to find a coyote family after so long alone, and when he has to leave the renovated house he won't be able to hunt as well all by himself. Not to mention all the joy they get from communal activities - they are so pack-ish.
One of my neighbors had a chat with another neighbor who was sobbing as she buried her cat. Some animal had torn the head off. I looked it up, but I don't know if it was a pit bull (we don't have more than one or 2 stray dogs a year around here) a coyote, or some other type animal. Have to ask Greg Randall! In any case, I would be very cautious with cats around him. If you like the cat more, that is.

Heather says:

I’ve been following the coyote discussion on Chicken Corner and just wanted to add that I know of at least one additional source of food for the coyotes this year – our grapes! They ate all the grapes off the bottom rows of our vineyard. We figure they ate at least 100lbs – we got less than half the crop we harvested last year. Next year we’re going to have to tie the bird nets down tight around the bottom and hope it acts as some kind of deterrent.
And by the way – The KPCC show Off-Ramp was present for this year’s harvest. The show that features the D’Augustine Vineyard 2007 harvest is this Saturday (tomorrow) at noon and I believe it will be repeated Sunday evening.

October 3, 2007

Slacker Coyote

Well, coyotes, that's a big subject. And, yes, some of them do get cozy. Beth Schacter, who is a member of the Echo Park Animal Alliance, has a coyote not exactly for a pet but as more or less a member of the outdoors household at her home, which sounds like quite the peaceable kingdom, if you're not counting some comic dog-chasing-coyote scenes. Edward Hicks would be proud.

In response to a Chicken Corner query, Beth emailed me the following description:

Slacker Coyote (which is what we have dubbed him) started coming around in early July. We live next to a house which sold this year and the old tenant of the guest house used to feed him. At first we thought he was a pup but he's definitely older. We see him for a few days and then he disappears for a few days. We think he's a he.
Mostly he grooms and sleeps. The cats seem to like him, and we haven't had any cat casualties so far. Dead possums and zero mice. I think he's living in the above mentioned house which is empty and being renovated.
He seems like a dog to me. Sleeps, licks, sleeps, stretches, sleeps some more. Harry, our rottweiller and Lulu or shepherd mix are both obsessed with him, but when confronted with the opportunity to chase him they were too slow, too loud and too clumsy. They ended up on the dirt, panting, barking and chasing each other!
Anyway, I think he's decided that things are good enough here to stick it out. He's got a nice coat and no ribs sticking out so clearly he's eating. And he's larger than a lot of coyotes I see -- maybe 40lbs? But mostly I would say he slacks -- sleeps all day in the sunshine.

In response to follow-up questions from Chicken Corner, Beth added in a later email:

We have a bunch of cats in the neighborhood including a stray we all share named Snow Boy. Snow Boy and Fubar sort of check [Slacker] out and then ignore him but Bonsai hangs out with the coyote, sleeping near him, and following him. So far, [Slacker] seems to be fine with his kitty minions. No deaths yet.
Wildlife visit*

There is one wildlife officer in the city of Los Angeles. That's right. Count him. One. There used to be two. But the other one was promoted, explained the one who came to talk to Echo Park about coyotes (the canine-animals) and other wild animals last night at Barlow Hospital's meeting room. I'd give you his name, but my house is a mess, and the notebook in which I wrote it has disappeared (possibly the work of a puppy-ish imp or gremlin who also seems to have possession of of my favorite lipsticks, some earrings, favorite pens and, sometimes, my keys. I do not take my keys for granted the way I wish I could. I'm sure I'll find it all stashed in a hidden den in a closet somewhere, hopefully not too far into the distant future.) So this lone wolf of a wildlife officer came, in uniform (when there's only one officer, the meaning of a uniform shifts just a bit), and gave a howl, explaining that it's been a bad year for the coyotes in terms of food and water, and many are sick and desperate. He had tips for keeping them away from people and houses, which he considers essential for their well-being in every way -- Tell that to the Echo Park Animal Alliance member who has a coyoye who likes to lie on his back in her driveway! Anyway, Officer Lone Wolf explained that pups were born in March or April and that the young males are now out looking for territory. He said that eating cats was normal behavior. (Tell THAT to my four cats.) A cat-eater, he said, should not be reported as an aggressive threat, in the same way humans should not be reported to the police for buying cow flesh at the grocery store. Or should they?

*Notebook found -- turns out I am the gremlin! Lone Wolf's real name is Officer Greg Randall (sp?). Randall told the well-attended meeting something interesting: He said it's not true that removal services that trap raccoons, skunks, oppossums take the trapped animals to sanctuaries. They just say they do.

Craig's List news service

Update: Craig's List is the place for Echo Park news. Mr. X (who prefers his secret identity to the official one) spotted on Craig's an announcement that Art Goldberg is going to retire from the Working People's Law Center, which Echo Parkers know (if not from actual help provided) from the sign that dwarfs the Chinese Bakery's sign on EP Ave. (Wonderful moon pies!) Old guard Echo Park has long known Art as an activist and as brother of Jackie Goldberg.

Family Law Attorney to Take Over Community Center Reply to: Date: 2007-10-02, 11:44AM PDT
The Working People's Law Center's director, Arthur L. Goldberg, who started this community law center over 35 years ago, is planning to retire within the next few months.
It is very important to the community of Echo Park as well as the City of Los Angeles at large, that a progressive, politically active community law center for low income people continue to exist. The Working People's Law Center is currently looking for a lawyer who will be able to handle a large volume law practice in all areas of family and criminal law, as of January 2008.
This Center generates a tremendous amount of referral that would be kept by the new attorney. The ultimate plan is for this attorney to pay a greater and greater share of the overhead and be in a position to eventually take over the office. About 1/3 of the clients of this Center are Spanish speaking. Therefore, it would be preferable for applying candidates to be fluent in oral and written Spanish. People of color and women are highly encouraged to apply.

October 1, 2007

The obelisk is beyond repair...*

...but the plaque has been removed and will be remounted, I learned in an email from Valerie Yaros, who is board secretary of Hollywood Heritage, the Hollywood preservation organization. Peter Svidler took photos of the former monument.

Yaros wrote:

Don't worry -- the plaque was safely removed on Sept. 20 and will be cleaned up and re-mounted somewhere on the property at 1712 Glendale Blvd.
As it turned out upon investigation, the obelisk was not in good enough shape to move, so this idea was abandoned. As the obelisk was described to us: "It was construced of 2"x2"s with angle iron extensions at the base, tar paper, chicken wire and stucco. The wooden frame was rotten, and the base of the hollow structure was filled with gravel and dirt to keep it from going anywhere."
Please feel free to let folks know that you have been notified that the Sennett plaque is safe & sound and will be back, but the obelisk could not be saved.


Questions for Hollywood Heritage: Has the organization made plans to create a new monument? Will it be similar in design? Are new designs being sought? What is the timeline? So many questions....

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