Domestic Partnerships...Crash Course

From www.lacity.org

1. What is a domestic partner?

Effective January 17, 2000, Domestic Partners are defined as two adults who have chosen to share one another’s lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring. They must have a common residence, jointly be responsible for each other’s basic living expenses, not married, not related by blood, be at least 18 years of age, and each consent to the domestic partnership.

2. How do I register a domestic partnership relationship?

You must file a Domestic Partnership Declaration Form with the Board of Fire and Police Pension Commissioners along with a copy of a valid driver’s license of each partner. This declaration is applicable to pension benefits only (survivor pension and health subsidy after member dies). To obtain a form, call Member Services at (213) 978-4522.

3. What benefits can a qualified domestic partner get?

A domestic partner who meets the eligibility requirements can receive a survivor pension and health subsidy benefits, the same benefits available to qualified surviving spouses.

4. What are the domestic partner eligibility requirements for receiving a survivor pension?

The requirements for qualified domestic partner pension benefits are the same as for a qualified surviving spouse. Following are the requirements to receive a surviving spouse/domestic partner pension:

• Service Pension – if your spouse/domestic partner is on a service pension, to qualify for a survivor pension you must be married to or be the qualified domestic partner of the member for at least one year prior to the effective date of the pension and on the date of death.

• Service-connected disability pension – you must be married to or be the qualified domestic partner of the member on the effective date of the pension and on the date of death.

• Service-connected death – you must be married to or be the qualified domestic partner of the member on the date of death.

• Non-service connected death and non-service connected disability pension – you must be married to or be the qualified domestic partner of the member at least one year prior to the effective date of the pension and on the date of death. The member must also have had at least 5 years of service. (Note that the member must have at least 10 years of service for the member or the surviving spouse/domestic partner to qualify for a health subsidy.)

5. What are the domestic partner eligibility requirements for receiving a surviving spouse/domestic partner health subsidy?

If you receive a surviving spouse/domestic partner pension, you qualify for a health subsidy if the following conditions are met:

• You are in a City approved (one offered by Fire Relief, Police Relief, UFLAC or the Personnel Department) health plan.
• Your domestic partner had at least 10 years of service.
• Your domestic partner would have been at least 55 years old.

6. When are qualified domestic partners eligible to begin receiving the pension and health subsidy benefits?

The effective date of this benefit is January 17, 2000. However, you must meet the eligibility requirements for the various types of pensions. Those requirements are covered above in the question "What are the domestic partner eligibility requirements for receiving a survivor pension?"

7. I am already retired. Can I file a domestic partner declaration and qualify my domestic partner for a pension?

If you retired prior to the effective date of January 17, 2000, you cannot qualify a domestic partner to receive survivor pension or health subsidy benefits.

8. I filed a Domestic Partner affidavit with the city's Personnel Department, do I still have to file one with the Department of Fire and Police Pensions?

Yes, you must file a form with the Department of Fire and Police Pensions on or before March 31, 2000. If you do this and we verify the form filed with the Personnel Department, the effective date of your domestic partnership will be the date you filed with the Personnel Department.

If you file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the Department of Fire and Police Pensions after March 31, 2000, the effective date of your domestic partnership will be the date the Department of Fire and Police Pensions receives your application.

9. If I file a domestic partner declaration with the Department of Fire and Police Pensions, should I still file one with the Personnel Department?

The form you file with the Fire and Police Pension System is for pension benefits and retiree health subsidy. If you are an active employee and want to cover your domestic partner on your health insurance, you must file a form with the City’s Personnel Department. Call the Employee Benefits Section at (213) 485-2440 to get a form.

10. How do I terminate a domestic partnership?

A domestic partnership terminates when any of the following occurs:

• One partner gives or sends to the other partner a written notice that he or she is terminating the partnership.
• One of the domestic partners dies.
• One of the domestic partners marries.
• The domestic partners no longer share a common residence.

Whenever one of these events ends the partnership, one of the domestic partners must file a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership Form with the Department of Fire and Police Pensions.

A new declaration of Domestic Partnership cannot be filed until at least six months after the filing of a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership Form. This six-month waiting period does not apply where the domestic partnership was terminated because of death or marriage.
1. What is a domestic partner?

Effective January 17, 2000, Domestic Partners are defined as two adults who have chosen to share one another’s lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring. They must have a common residence, jointly be responsible for each other’s basic living expenses, not married, not related by blood, be at least 18 years of age, and each consent to the domestic partnership.

2. How do I register a domestic partnership relationship?

You must file a Domestic Partnership Declaration Form with the Board of Fire and Police Pension Commissioners along with a copy of a valid driver’s license of each partner. This declaration is applicable to pension benefits only (survivor pension and health subsidy after member dies). To obtain a form, call Member Services at (213) 978-4522.

3. What benefits can a qualified domestic partner get?

A domestic partner who meets the eligibility requirements can receive a survivor pension and health subsidy benefits, the same benefits available to qualified surviving spouses.

4. What are the domestic partner eligibility requirements for receiving a survivor pension?

The requirements for qualified domestic partner pension benefits are the same as for a qualified surviving spouse. Following are the requirements to receive a surviving spouse/domestic partner pension:

• Service Pension – if your spouse/domestic partner is on a service pension, to qualify for a survivor pension you must be married to or be the qualified domestic partner of the member for at least one year prior to the effective date of the pension and on the date of death.

• Service-connected disability pension – you must be married to or be the qualified domestic partner of the member on the effective date of the pension and on the date of death.

• Service-connected death – you must be married to or be the qualified domestic partner of the member on the date of death.

• Non-service connected death and non-service connected disability pension – you must be married to or be the qualified domestic partner of the member at least one year prior to the effective date of the pension and on the date of death. The member must also have had at least 5 years of service. (Note that the member must have at least 10 years of service for the member or the surviving spouse/domestic partner to qualify for a health subsidy.)

5. What are the domestic partner eligibility requirements for receiving a surviving spouse/domestic partner health subsidy?

If you receive a surviving spouse/domestic partner pension, you qualify for a health subsidy if the following conditions are met:

• You are in a City approved (one offered by Fire Relief, Police Relief, UFLAC or the Personnel Department) health plan.
• Your domestic partner had at least 10 years of service.
• Your domestic partner would have been at least 55 years old.

6. When are qualified domestic partners eligible to begin receiving the pension and health subsidy benefits?

The effective date of this benefit is January 17, 2000. However, you must meet the eligibility requirements for the various types of pensions. Those requirements are covered above in the question "What are the domestic partner eligibility requirements for receiving a survivor pension?"

7. I am already retired. Can I file a domestic partner declaration and qualify my domestic partner for a pension?

If you retired prior to the effective date of January 17, 2000, you cannot qualify a domestic partner to receive survivor pension or health subsidy benefits.

8. I filed a Domestic Partner affidavit with the city's Personnel Department, do I still have to file one with the Department of Fire and Police Pensions?

Yes, you must file a form with the Department of Fire and Police Pensions on or before March 31, 2000. If you do this and we verify the form filed with the Personnel Department, the effective date of your domestic partnership will be the date you filed with the Personnel Department.

If you file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the Department of Fire and Police Pensions after March 31, 2000, the effective date of your domestic partnership will be the date the Department of Fire and Police Pensions receives your application.

9. If I file a domestic partner declaration with the Department of Fire and Police Pensions, should I still file one with the Personnel Department?

The form you file with the Fire and Police Pension System is for pension benefits and retiree health subsidy. If you are an active employee and want to cover your domestic partner on your health insurance, you must file a form with the City’s Personnel Department. Call the Employee Benefits Section at (213) 485-2440 to get a form.

10. How do I terminate a domestic partnership?

A domestic partnership terminates when any of the following occurs:

• One partner gives or sends to the other partner a written notice that he or she is terminating the partnership.
• One of the domestic partners dies.
• One of the domestic partners marries.
• The domestic partners no longer share a common residence.

Whenever one of these events ends the partnership, one of the domestic partners must file a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership Form with the Department of Fire and Police Pensions.

A new declaration of Domestic Partnership cannot be filed until at least six months after the filing of a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership Form. This six-month waiting period does not apply where the domestic partnership was terminated because of death or marriage.

So, now there's a board!

So, now there's a board!

I found it this morning on my way to work: pebuilding.org, although I tried looking it up at work, and didn't see it. But, there's plenty of work @ work, so I didn't spend much time trying to find it.

Tonight, I feel like poo poo. I had three cups of coffee, no water, and a lot of fruit. My belly does not like me. I'd go into more details, but the last time I discussed poo - all my friends started making poo-poo jokes.

Well, poo on them!

Anyway, this weekend is another big push to get us moved from Santee Court to PE lofts. It's hard to go back to Santee Court to pick up things. The only thing I really like is running into neighbors I hardly ever saw, knocking on Chris's door - only to tell them all I found Mark! Mark's with us! Well, not **with** us, but we know where he is.

I don't know if Mark reads the website, but if he does he will soon find out - when we couldn't find him, we were really worried. So, when I ran into his Mom - I was very excited. I was excited to tell Alex - Hey - I found Mark!

Anyways, tonight's big news is two fold. 1) Alex found out that the sandwich store - J.J. Sandwich Shop is open. It's right across the street from Coles, it's cheap, opens early (7 a.m.), closes a little early (6 p.m.), but there are promises to stay open later as more people visit late in the day.

For the sake of all things good and yummy, please start visiting at 5:30 p.m. so that they will stay open for me to visit when I get home at 6 p.m.

OMG - Alex just came running in to the loft yelling LOOK OUT THE WINDOW, QUICK LOOK OUT THE WINDOW.

There's police horses! So cool! "how long has it been since there's been horses on Main Street"

2) Is a kind of a big announcement, but Alex and I are not yet ready to announce. You should be excited. I want to tell you, but at the same time - not yet ready.

You will just have to keep reading.

What Would You Like To Know?

Welcome to the new edition of getting to know your friends. Okay here's what
you're supposed to do, and try not to be lame and spoil the fun!Just copy
(not forward) this entire e-mail and paste into a new e-mail that you can
send. Change all the answers so that they apply to you. Then send this to a
whole bunch of people you know, INCLUDING the person that sent it to you.
Some of you may get this several times - that means you have lots of
friends.

1. What is your occupation? Senior Client Services Associate
2. What are you listening to right now? The Metro Rapid
3. What was the last thing you ate? Oatmeal Cookie
4. Do you wish on stars? Yes
5. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? The one with the paper torn off because it's been used so much - Silver!
6. How is the weather right now? Dusky
7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Christie
8. How old are you today? 29
9. Favorite drink? Currently, Tall Iced Soy Latte
10. Favorite sport to watch? Nanny 911
11. Have you ever dyed your hair? Uhhu
12. Do you wear contacts? No
13. Pets? Nope
14. Favorite month? My Birthday
15. Favorite food? Italian
16. What was the last movie you watched? The 40-Year Old Virgin
17. Favorite day of the year? My Birthday!
18. What do you do to vent anger? Hyperventilate
19. What was your favorite toy as a child? The science kit from Radio Shack
20. Fall or Spring? Fall
21. Hugs or kisses? Hugs
22. Cherry or Blueberry? Neither - Prada
23. Do you want your friends to mail you back? Constantly
24. Who is most likely to respond? Don
26. Living arrangements? Renting a loft, my God - don't you read my blog?
27. When was the last time you cried? Today- I'm an advocate of crying everyday!
28. What is on the floor of your closet? Nothing!
29. Who is the friend you have had the longest? Ginger
30. What did you do last night? Attended a neighborhood council sub-committee meeting
31. Favorite Smell? Cucumbers
32. Who inspires you? Email
33. What are you afraid of? The Dark
34. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburger? Cheese
35. Favorite car? The Gold Line
36. Favorite dog breed? The one with owners who pick up after them.
37. Number of keys on your key ring? 5
38. How many years at your current job? 2 and something years
39. Favorite day of the week? West Wing Wednesday
40. How many states have you lived in? 2
41. How many states have you been to? I think only 10

They are gone!

I bought a pair of pants from the Gap about two years ago, and I've warn them at least once a week. Sometimes, for a week straight. Yeah...

Anyway, this morning I put them on for the third day in a row (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and found a whole in the leg. :-( Oh, so sad!

Well, they are gone now. Alex had to put them down the trash chute, rather than letting them sit in the garbage all week, because I know know know that I would have tried to wear them one more time.

Like the song.

One more time.

I'm sad.

The end.

P.S. I'm going to be having a virtural garage sale soon! And, I won't be selling crap, or pants that have worn 4 gazillion times.

Take Care!

Hey Mom! I Stole $500,000



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
www.oag.state.tx.us
Subscribe to E-News CONTACT:
Angela Hale, Paco Felici,
Jerry Strickland, or Tom Kelley
at (512) 463-2050

ATTORNEY GENERAL ABBOTT OBTAINS FIRST GUILTY PLEA TIED TO INSIDER PROFIT SCHEME WITHIN ELECTRIC RELIABILITY COUNCIL OF TEXAS

Chris Uranga admits to misapplication of funds; acknowledges he owes Electric Reliability Council of Texas $500,000

GEORGETOWN - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today obtained the first guilty plea in an ongoing Williamson County case against six men under indictment for setting up an elaborate criminal scheme inside the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state’s electricity grid system.

James Christopher Uranga, 37, of Round Rock, admitted his role in setting up “shell” security companies with other indicted defendants and funneling contracts to these companies as a way to obtain millions of dollars in illegal payments from ERCOT.



James Christopher Uranga
“The true nature of this white-collar crime has gradually come to light and it is appalling in its scope,” said Attorney General Abbott. “This defendant can expect the same justice as any other person who engages in organized crime in Texas.”


A scheme involving three or more individuals, as in this case, rises to the level of organized criminal activity, a felony. In this scenario, Uranga used his position inside ERCOT to misapply funds to his benefit. He now awaits sentencing for a term of not longer than 15 years in prison, depending on how much of the more than $500,000 in estimated restitution Uranga can return to ERCOT and how much assistance he can provide in the prosecution of other ERCOT defendants. This may include his cooperation with authorities investigating related crimes that occurred in Travis County.


Attorney General Abbott agreed to pursue the investigation and prosecution last year at the request of Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley. Uranga entered his plea in 395th District Court.


In his role as director of information technology operations and corporate security at ERCOT, Uranga was uniquely positioned to funnel lucrative security contracts to his own companies without ERCOT’s knowledge. In some cases, contracts were created and invoices sent for work that was never done. Uranga reported directly to Ken Shoquist, ERCOT’s chief information officer, who recruited Uranga to ERCOT from Dell Financial Services. Shoquist remains under indictment and awaits trial on similar charges.


The scheme enabled Uranga and the co-defendants to steer contracts in such a way as to violate their ethical and fiduciary responsibilities to ERCOT, all without the knowledge and approval of its legal and accounting departments.


Three other defendants awaiting trial in coming months are:

• Steve Wallace, program development director (two indictments, $800,000 misappropriated and also indicted in Travis County on three counts of first-degree felony theft);

• Carlos Luquis, physical security manager (six indictments, over $100,000 misappropriated)

• John Cavazos, a nonemployee contractor and a shell company security director (one indictment, nearly $9,000 misappropriated).


One other indicted defendant, Chris Douglas, senior manager of ERCOT’s data warehouse, is currently cooperating with Attorney General’s prosecutors and is not set for trial at this time.

Man, I'm almost beat...

I'm excited because tonight we are moving in the first half of the kitchen. I've decided that the cabinets below the microwave and coffee maker are good to go. In addition, Alex can take stuff out of his closet and bring it over. Also - if he wants to bring over chairs, that's good.

Moving is a bit of a pain because we will spend a few days living between two blocks, but once we are done...view, view, view!

Yes - it's a good move.

Go to Crawford!

From: Woody Hastings (.net) [mailto:w@woodyhastings.net]
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2005 12:55 PM
To: Friends
Subject: Go to Crawford!


Dear Friends,

I am writing to urge you to travel to Crawford Texas to stand with Cindy Sheehan at Camp Casey in her challenge to the George Bush.
I just returned from 5 days in Crawford after bringing the Arlington West memorial out there, where we set it up and dubbed it “Arlington at Crawford.”
If you have ever wanted to participate in something that may just be effective in stopping the war, this just may be it.
Although there are some discomforts like heat & humidity, fire ants, Bush supporters, etc., it’s a once in a lifetime experience and your presence and help in NEEDED.
If you go, bring plenty of supplies and be prepared to be totally self-sufficient. If you stay at Camp Casey, be aware that it is just that, a camp. So be ready to camp. There are plenty of hotels in Waco which is less than 30 miles away. Also be very flexible when you get there, circumstances change on a daily basis.
There is a house in town called the Crawford Peace House which is owned by the Dallas Peace Center. It’s the place where you will arrive first. Camp Casey is about 6 miles toward Bushes’ ranch.
For Cindy and her son and all the dead and wounded on both sides,

Woody

PS – If you can’t make it, please send flowers – they are used to decorate the 800+ crosses that have been set up and they wilt after a few days. Send flowers, cards, supplies, or anything you think might be helpful to:
Cindy Sheehan, c/o Crawford Peace House
9142 East 5th St
Crawford, TX 76638-3037

Links for Info:
http://www.crawfordpeacehouse.org/ (Crawford Peace House)
http://www.gsfp.org/ (Gold Star Families for Peace – co-founded by Cindy Sheehan)
http://www.codepink4peace.org/ (Code Pink)
http://www.veteransforpeace.org/Arlington_west_121003.htm (Arlington West)

Moving In

Last night we got the keys to our new loft at Pacific Electric. What a mess! It is still a construction site. The marble is still setting, the floors are very dusty. The parking lot looks like a dirt road. I'm a little concerned that we may have moved in before they were ready for us - but we are there now.

I spent all of last night cleaning, and admiring. The windows overlook the Rapid stop at 6th and Main. One of the windows overlooks 6th street. You can see all of the way to the 10 freeway. The main window is huge! It will probably be a pain to clean, but hey...cheaper rent!

I met a neighbor last night - when in search for the instruction guides for the heating system. Sydney (or maybe Sidney) was able to lend me her copy long enough for me to figure out how to work out heating system. I was able to set it for multiple times. The heating system will kick on at 6 a.m. on the weekdays, heating at 65 and cooling at 75. When we aren't there, up to 85 it goes, until 6 p.m. (about the time we get home from work), back to 65/72. At night, a little cooler - from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. it will be 65/68. You wanted to know didn't you!

Alex spent much of the time on the phone (which was okay). I was scrubbing, sweeping, wiping. Everything had dust, gunk, and dirt. I don't know if they did a walk through for cleanliness. But, the management did walk through for repairs. What can I say. When we moved into Santee Court our tub had a huge hole in it. But, at the new place - the stove has a chip off it's finish, dent in the door, and a number of paint smudges throughout. The fridge doesn't seem secure. On the up side, we were told at first we didn't have a deadbolt lock. Well, we do! So, all those people who read my blog, thinking to yourselves that you can just break in - well you can't!

If you look beyond the dirt, dust, and all the plastic coverings - you will see a beautiful building rising up on what is a dingy street. Before PE lofts opened, it was ruled by Pete's Cafe and Gilmore's lofts. They may have been the first to set down on Main - but watch out!

I Love P Diddy!

Declaration #1

Sean Combs is cool. He throws great parties. He ecourages people to vote. Overall, I just like his attidude. I'll call him a mentor, and I will model the next housewarming off of what his next party is like.

Poo in the Green Party

On Aug 12, 2005, at 4:57 PM, Ginny-Marie Case wrote:

I think Peter's Theory is wrong. I haven't "joined forces" with the GDI
group - I'm not even on the listserve. And, well...it's no secret -
I've asked Mike for the copies of the checks he deposited so that GPLAC
could file their FPPC paperwork. He used to say he had the copies, but
I doubt he would admit that anymore.

I know we've got some internal democracy issues - I've never shyed away
from recognizing that. But, from my view, Peter's muddied his waters,
and is forging weak relationships.

Los Angeles is a big fat pile of stinking poo. There are people (Lisa,
Joe, Linda, Roz, and many others) who are willing to hold their nose
and get out there and do good in the name of the Green Party. There
are others who like to stomp in the pile of poo and walk all over the
place with it. There are some who want to stare at the pile of poo.
Then, there are a few people out there who are looking for the plastic
bag to pick up the warm pile of poo, and figure out how to properly
dispose of it.

Since I don't have a dog, nothing really leaves a pile of poo near my
house. I'm not about to pick up the poo - but I'll support those who
are willing to.

Sincerely,

Ginny-Marie Case
Cobb/LaMarche supporter
"The girl who first questioned the "Southern California Green Party"
bank account"
So - I'm marginalized all of over the place!

Outta my way BEEEEOOOOTCH!

In one of the organizations that I am a member of, there are two women who I enjoy watching. I'd name them, but if you know what I'm talking about - you know who they are. Anyway, these two ladies are, for the lack of better definitions, oil and water. Although their broad politics are in close alignment, their organizational politics keep me reading listserves, and I like going to meetings where I can watch these two battle it out.

Recently, Lady A found out there's a separate listserve discussing the activities of a committee they were once - both on. Lady B was publicly questioned about it, and responded with vague references, alluding to Lady A's participation in similar activities previously. I think it's odd that both ladies are calling each other out on doing things - they have both done!

Their email conversations are almost civil, but remind me of the days when my stepmother had to interact with my mom. Recognized or not, these two had to work together, but they didn't like it. But, unlike Lady A and B - my mom and stepmother were able to speak, converse, and talk to each other with some degree of civility.

I guess that civility is missing from Lady A & B, and it only makes them look dumb.
What the hell - I've been reading Perez all day. Maybe these two can keep me occupied!

Left to her own

Alex is off to SF this morning. If I had it together, I could have gone too. But, I don't, so here I am on the train - on my way to work.

I didn't get to take the train yesterday because all of the parking was blocked off, essentially closing off the station to any auto passengers. That kind of pissed me off, because I hauled ass to get to the station on time. I ended up getting to work 20 minutes earlier than anticipated. Rather than spending the next 20 minutes doing something us value, I ended up sending the customer services folks at the MTA an email asking when (after I already who, if), if ever, are people notified of the loss of parking that would significantly impact Chinatown ridership.

Haven't heard anything. Probably won't either. In my world, that's bad customer service - but not as bad as the CS in Pasadena.

So, what happened in Pasadena?

Alex and I were at the Whole Foods, it's taken me three tries to find it because I kept thinking it was on Colorado Blvd., when it's actually on Foothill. Once we got there, the store is nice, has a good layout. It has a larger produce area, and the same selection of the other WF, just not as crowded. Anyway, part of the reason we were there was to purchase 3 cases of SmartWater. We wanted to have a stockpile of it, so should(when) something happens in Los Angeles - earthquake, tsunami, championship, we don't have to worry about being without stuff we need to live.

Yes - I know..."SmartWater?" I heard you allllll the way over here.

Anyways....

We get to the check out, and we order the 3 cases. The checker is all over this! She calls the stockroom and asks for the three cases, and the head stocker says to her - Call Caesar. Checker looks confused - "who's Caesar?"

She calls for Caesar....No Answer.

She calls again, this time for someone to pick up the GDphone in the back. Someone answer and says he will be right out with the water.

Meanwhile, the head stocker has really pissed our checker off. Rightly so! He blew her off. And, in blowing her off - he blew us off. AFTER WE HAD ALREADY PAID FOR THE GDWATER! She was very mad, and spoke to her supervisor about the incident.

It gets better.

The stocker comes rolling up with not three, not two, but ONLY ONE CASE OF WATER, and says the obvious - "there's only one case left"

So, I had to go back to our checker, explain the situation, and she and I together went through the trauma of refunding two cases of SmartWater.

The bad customer service wasn't from the checker? No, she kicked ass.

The stockers! What got into those guys? It must be the NMP syndrome - Not My Problem.

Well, whatever it was - we are not going back to that particular WF ever again.

So, that's what happened. A delightful afternoon of shopping was screwed over by disgruntled or stoned stock room staff.

Today - what's on tap:
1) Phone calls to clients
2) Office of Traffic Safety awards list
3) Summore Success story stuff
4) - well, the day is young, and it's Friday. Who knows what's in store.

On my way home

Nothing too big happening today. We have a baseball game this evening, but other than that...all is quiet on the Western Front. Alex will be OOT this Friday night, so I will go and pick up my laptop keyboard. Although - I'm tempted to wait for later in the weekend. A friday night at home... let me predict:

1) I'll stay in
2) I'll watch the TV, movies
3) I will play SimCity
4) I will put on a charcoal mask
5) I will stay up too late
6) Forget to eat dinner
7) Remember to eat dessert
8) Fall asleep with all the lights on in the house

So, let's check on me Saturday morning to see how I do!

Oh, I talked to Matt Pickshisnose the other day. It's a big story. Can't wait for the whole thing to break.

All work and no play, makes Ginny a dull girl

Which one are you?

How lucky do I feel this morning?

I found a $5 bill in my wallet.

For a few this may sound silly but, I was dreading the thought that I was tied to my debit card.

I can buy Alex his ice cream cookie sandwich at tonight's game.

We pick up the keys for our next place on the 15th. This will be move number 3 for us. I hope it is the last one for awhile. It is tiring to think about all the pending work. However, it is uplifting to think that rather than a view of an empty courtyard, the view will be 6 floors up.

I like the idea of being to see the sky again. To get unfettered sunlight! The plants miss this. I miss it. I feel like we have been living in a cave.

Anyway...

Last night I was searching the web for a moving list. This morning I am thinking about the fact the loft is only 700-800 square feet. If I can't organize this move, God should just come in the night and turn me into a 4-year old. Although I've met smart 4-year olds.

Have a good day.

Things heard on the train

We were sitting at the Ave 26 station - also known to some as the Cypress Hill/Linkin Park stop. We were stopped there for a little longer than usual. The driver comes on the loudspeaker and declares there's a bit of traffic out there, and we need to wait at the station for things to clear.

What traffic?

There are no at grade rail crossings between this station and Chinatown.

Obviously, the trains were gettng to be too close together. But, we laughed about it.

What I did last week

A Walk To Remember
by Chris Coates

Don Garza is among those frustrated with the state of Central City East. "I'm fed up," said Garza, a resident of a single room occupancy hotel and a vocal supporter of the effort to make his neighborhood a safe place to live. "You just need people that will take initiative."

Last Wednesday, Garza was one of about 60 people taking that initiative. At 6 p.m., the group gathered on Sixth Street in front of the Midnight Mission for the second Central City East Neighborhood Watch walk. Organized by the Central City East Association (CCEA) and the Midnight Mission, the march attracted an eclectic mix of Skid Row social service providers, police officers, real estate brokers, security guards, City Hall staffers and Downtown dwellers.

The goal was to let the thousands of men, women and children living on Skid Row know the community is willing to help, and to warn drug dealers and other criminals that crime won't be tolerated. For a downtrodden area, the walk represented a neighborhood slowly beginning to take back its streets.

"We're getting support from all of Downtown," said CCEA Executive Director Estela Lopez. "Folks who are just getting off the streets are saying 'these streets should be safe.'"

Last week's nearly mile-long walk, which lasted about an hour, took the group around six blocks of Skid Row. Marchers, sometimes on the sidewalk and sometimes in the middle of the street, handed out pamphlets touting available shelters, drug and alcohol recovery programs and other social services.

The walk offered an opportunity for some Downtown professionals to get beyond the news reports and see the conditions for themselves.

"The good thing about walking the streets is you get to see this," said Ninth District City Councilwoman Jan Perry, who has long been active in efforts to better the district.

LAPD Capt. Andy Smith, whose Central Division patrols Skid Row, said the walks send a message of available support to those living on the streets. He said he hoped the neighborhood and police presence would deliver a different kind of message to drug dealers preying on recovering addicts living on the streets. "People are just fed up with all the dope down here," he said.

Long, Complex Process

The walks are scheduled to take place the first Wednesday of every month at 6 p.m. in front of the Midnight Mission. While it's not immediately clear what kind of impact the first two walks have had, organizers said they represent another step in the long, complex process of community-building in Central City East.

For decades the area has grappled with homelessness, drug abuse and crime, and has been impacted by practices such as the sheriff's department dumping newly released inmates in the area. The neighborhood has been largely unaffected by Downtown Los Angeles' recent construction boom.

Yet there have been significant improvements in the community. In April the Midnight Mission opened a modern, $17 million headquarters, and the formerly rundown Yankee Hotel reopened last month following a $7 million renovation. Last November another service provider, the Frank Rice Safehaven, completed a $1.2 million renovation.

There have been other, community-centered efforts. In November, People Assisting the Homeless and the Volunteer Center of Los Angeles organized the first Downtown Scrub Down, a daylong effort to clean up Central City East streets. The police department has also been active, cracking down on drug dealers, illegal food vendors and merchants hawking stolen goods. The department holds two community police advisory board meetings every month on Skid Row.

Some participants said the most important aspect of the march was that it attracted people ready to help make a difference in the area. One of them was Joel Bloom, an Arts District fixture and store owner who helped start a neighborhood walk in that community. Bloom said the key to keeping a neighborhood walk going, and have an impact, is to make it a regular part of peoples' lives.

"You make it like a community event," said Bloom. "You have to keep doing it."

For residents like Garza, it represented a chance to be proactive. "It's nice to do something collaborative," he said. "It's just the beginning."

Contact Chris Coates at chris@downtownnews.com.

page 1, 8/8/2005
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Later that day....

I'm on my way home from another day of work. I'm tired. Plus, I just got off the phone with my sister, who points out that my life - while hectic in on my terms - is a walk in the park.

She has three kids, all under 5.

Everytime I call I have to listen hard to hear her voice over the background of Lydia, who is just as chatty as her mother. Ben's whimpers. And, Jill's chanting and yelling. I used to think the train was the distraction - but now I know...it's the kids. :-)

I don't have any children, and I'm not seeing any on the horizon. Mostly because I like my work, I like the life that Alex and I have, and I know that having children would change all that. It's not a matter of being selfish and not wanting to share. If anything, it's the drive to live smaller and smaller, and use less of the world's finite resources.

Also, my sister has 3 kids. My brother has 4 with another on the way. That's 7 kids, 7 sets of Christmas gifts (which I had trouble getting to when there were just two couples), 7 different birthdays (And, I admit - I don't know them all) - 8 by January. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

Think about those mouths that must be fed, clothed. Some of them need to be burped, changed. Occasionally they need to go to the doctor. They need bikes, helmets. Then, (!!!) they need school, pencils, pens, paper. Computers, calculators, College...I'm having a spaz attack just thinking about that! They aren't even my kids.

I need a beer.

I'm too tired to type now. See ya for now.

Morning

Whew, it may take me a few moments to catch my breath - I came running for the train this morning. (breathing hard) Jeesh, out of shape. (Heavy Sigh)

Okay, almost ready.

While my heartbeat returns to a resting rate, let me fill my readers in on last night's adventure. It all started when Alex was reading the Downtown News. He spotted an article about a neighborhood walk taking place only a few blocks away from the house, in an area that we only drive through, drive by, but since there's no services that we would use, there's no sense in stopping.

Three big "shelters" are located within a two to three block area: Union Rescue, Weingart, and Midnight Mission. They provide a number of services, such as showers for those who don't have a home, hot food, and somewhere safe to sleep at night. There are additional services - outreach, work programs - but because I've never taken the time to learn about it, I'm still quite in the dark.

Anyway, the article invited us to attend the walk, which started at the Midnight Mission, we walked up from 6th and San Pedro, to 7th, down a few blocks, and then back to the Mission. We were joined by a small group police officers, the hosts CCEA, and Councilwoman Jan Perry.

I didn't see much that was new to me. The one exception was the fish processing plant with the N-A-S-T-I-E-S-T smell ever. Saw a couple who looked to be arguing, but then on an instant turned into a loving couple. So obvious to the crowd that boyfriend-turned-pimp was just covering up until we cornered the block. There were people who were happy to see us, and not. It was a moment in time to see the neighborhood, to visit a part of town that I don't usually feel welcomed into.

I live only three or four blocks from there. The times I have to visit (and I say have to), it's usually to vote. But, I have to suffer catcalls - something I didn't grow up with (growing up in the middle of now where - there's not opportunity). Or the stares. I think it's the stares that I'm most uneasy about because it does give me a feeling that I don't belong, and I'm not wanted.

In college, I was able to take a trip to Europe. One part of the trip was to Southern France - Nice...which is anything but nice. I needed to buy a dress for dinner, and I stepped into a boutique and was met by two store clerks. After getting the once over, I was told there was nothing for me at this store. All I thought was, snotty French - hmph. But, I remember the chill of that once over - the look of "I know you and I know what you stand for". Apparently, the store clerks knew that I wanted to buy a pretty dress for the last night I was in town, and I wanted to get something that I could keep for a while. No, they thought I was looking for a broomstick skirt that I could just roll up and keep in my suitcase.

I get that "Nice look" when I walk down the street, east of Los Angeles street. People don't know me, there's just this look of confusion. Like, what is she doing down here - she must have gotten off at the wrong Red Line stop.

Well, I didn't. I like the Flower district, I like the Fashion District, and I know have a warm spot in my heart for the "Mission District" :-) I know that I won't always feel welcomed there, because in so many ways, the streets are the living rooms of other people.

OMG, I can't think straight. There's a guy on the train who's sleeping - but he's also drooling in his sleep. Every couple of minutes I hear him slurping. And, I just looked up to see him taking his tongue to clear the drool from his lip.

What was I saying? Yeah, right...living rooms of other people.

I'll do the walk again, if only to see the people I met the last time around.

@ Del Mar. Time to put away the computer and get ready for the day.

...Memorial Park Station....