In Honor of Lt. Col. Hall and the Family that Remains

Ginny-Marie Case
Help Support Families of Our Fallen Marines/In Honor of Lt. Col. Hall and the Family that Remains
1 message
Leticia Jones Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 11:39 AM
Reply-To: Leticia Jones
"All Gave Some; Will Gave All" -- Please Show Your Support for T*A*P*S as We Run the Marine Corps Marathon on October 26th in Memory of Lt. Col. William G. Hall

Dear Ginny-Marie

Following is a short piece from our life that has forever changed and added to our family. Please show your support as you read by donating to T*A*P*S as we run the 26.2 miles to remember a husband, father, brother, friend, Marine......

Saturday, March 29th 2008, we receive a frantic call from our friend Xio and head north. Little is known. We simply wait. The next morning, the image of the approaching Marines in uniform, the overwhelming emotions, and shock of what follows burns into our memory -- Lt. Col. Wlliam G. Hall killed-in-action (KIA) on March 30th in Fallujah, Iraq. Since then, friends, family and complete strangers have been there to offer any amount of help and support. It has been truly amazing!

Will served a teacher/mentor role to Derrick in the early years of his Marine Corps service in Okinawa, Japan when he was a "butter-bar" 2nd Lieutenant (now a Major) and they soon became close friends; Derrick later served as Will's best man when he married Xio; we've jumped around together from Oki to Florida and finally California interspersed with multiple deployments; we've danced and partied together and could tell a thousand stories of good times; the "boys" rode motorcycles together and exchanged Mustang knowledge (since they both owned a Ford muscle car); we've experienced the pregnancies and births of their 2 daughters and watched their sons grow. To say the least, we are quite close; we're family.

As you may know, I am a bit of a runner and have been fortunate enough to have spent the last 4 and half years running the many trails of America's Finest City - San Diego, CA. As a runner (who will now be running the trails outside of Quantico, VA south of Washington, DC - Marine-country, as they say), I thought the Marine Corps Marathon would be a special tribute to Will, our friend and brother. Xio, his wife, has decided to join as a first-timer and Team Semper Fi was born with 11 (and counting) committed to running the 26.2 miles on October 26th (room for more, too - hint).

Making it even more special is this phenomenal group - TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) - that provides help and support to families like Xio's. This past May, Xio and the kids attended one of the TAPS programs in DC. In her words..."the TAPS Survivor Seminars and Good Grief Camp (for the kids) gives military survivors an opportunity to come together in our nation’s capital each Memorial Day weekend and share in a weekend of remembering, healing, and love. We attended the camp this year and the kids had a wonderful time healing, playing and being around others who understood and shared their grief. Words can not express the impact the seminars had on me and the camp had on my children."

While it is tragic that I have discovered TAPS with Will's death, I am grateful that such an organization exists for the military family. To continue to support the TAPS efforts and, more importantly, Xio and the kids - Xavier (13), Xander (10), Tia (6), and Gladys (3) , I am raising funds for what is truly a wonderful organization. Please use the link in this email to donate online quickly and securely plus learn more about my progress and T*A*P*S. You will receive a confirmation of your donation by email and I will be notified as soon as you make your donation.

Please join us as we run and remember.

Many thanks!
Leticia "Tish" Jones

Follow This Link to visit my personal web page and help me in my efforts to support TAPS

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Leticia Jones

Note to Family: Yes, we had an earthquake

I'm at work. Everything is fine. No contractions.

However - great reminder: if you want up to the minute "what's Ginny doing" - check my twitter

How Alex celebrates Ginny's Birthday

What cracks me up is that Casey Blake was already in the dugout, and then he gets tossed from the game. It seems like everything that I saw, Casey was safely in the "no spin zone" and the safety of the dugout when he was announcing his displeasure with the call. I saw it as a needless toss.

But - you know there's something about a coach charging out to the umpire to make the point.

For my birthday Alex got us tickets really close to the field. Like only a couple of rows back. It was a weird game (some Giant fan "fell" into SF's dugout, a security guard thought another fan stole Omar Vizquel's hat), but so much fun!

Thanks Alex!

Funny things from home

Oh, man...I was looking for some funny news from home. In my weekly look to the Kitsap Sun...the funniest thing that could be found was a video on a luau, and the link to the police scanner.

But of course - Noise Violations!

Window-rattling Music Earns Citation
Kitsap Sun Staff
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Central Kitsap

A Kitsap County Sheriff's deputy responded to multiple noise complaints Saturday evening from the 13700 block of NW Klahanie Place. According to reports, the deputy could hear "loud music and heavy bass thumping." The deputy reported that while arriving he could hear the music coming from a parked vehicle despite being in a patrol car four houses away beside a man using a gas-powered weed eater.

The deputy approached the man to whom the car belonged and advised him to turn the music down so they could talk. The 44-year-old man responded that the music was coming from a vehicle on his property and therefore he did not have to turn it down. The deputy asked again and the man complied.

According to the report the man explained to the deputy that he had a right to play his music loud because it was between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. The deputy then advised the man that there was a county ordinance and that his music was "rattling" the windows in his patrol car as he approached. The man was given a citation for violation of the county ordinance.

The Plan

Alex picked me up from work yesterday.  Mostly because when I left for work I broke down in tears because I didn't sleep well because I had leg cramps that kept me from rolling over.  (So, getting up at 3:45 in the morning to rush to the bathroom isn't just a pain in terms of sleep, but in terms of real honest to goodness pain) I told him that I wouldn't be able to take the bus home because I had to stand and wait for it.

He bought it.  But it's TRUE!  The wait for the bus is no fun.  Even when I watch the timetable, I can expect 20 minutes of standing, shifting my weight side to side.  Waiting for the bus like a little kid waits for Santa Claus.

In any case, he picked me up from work, and in the backseat was the car seat.  Then, it hits home - a couple of weeks from now we will have a little girl to put into the car seat.  It is a little trippy to see a car seat in the back of a Mini Cooper.  I'm sure that it will cause people to pause because when you think Mini Cooper, the vision isn't one of a family-mobile.  But - it is.  

On our way home Alex had a couple of questions all around the inevitable "going into labor" circumstances.  I think he's convinced (I may have played a role in this) that I'll be in the bottom floor of the Metro parking lot, in the car, unable to move because of contractions, unable to make a phone call...soaking the seat of the Mini Cooper.  (Okay, so I thought it was a funny story, and come to find out...No one thinks it is the tiniest bit funny)

Here he was trying to be serious, and I'm laughing it up at the idea of being in the car at Temple and Glendale, on my way to pick him up at the office, as we calmly make our way to the hospital. 

I know the labor part will be painful, but I grew up around women who had their babies during the afternoon, when their partners were at work, they had to drive themselves to the doctors office, and hope that the message left somewhere at the shipyard got to their partner on time.  I figure if I'm by myself, and I have an idea the birthing is a couple of hours away, I've got time to finish my time card, stock the printer up, get the car washed, pick up the dry cleaning, and make my way to the hospital.  And, probably post a blog entry...

But, of  course - I could be all wrong in this.  I don't imagine being on the 4th floor of the parking garage when I've been experiencing labor pains.  I don't imagine being alone at the office.  I could imagine standing in line at Starbucks, screaming out in pain...but so did the guy who stood in front of me when he found out they were out of hazelnut syrup.  (What a whiner that guy was) 

In any case, the whole thing has cause me to up my usual amount Twitter updates.  (Note to all - another great use for twitter - tracking pregnant women).  

It reminds me of when my Mommo used to wander around the nursing home.  I'd go to pick her up for something, couldn't find her.  We finally put an alarm on her.  Simple little contraption.  It was a box with a thick pin.  When the pin was pulled, the box would set off a mildly annoying alarm.  You connect the pin to her shirt, and when she exited her wheel chair without assistance, the alarm would go off.

It's almost the same thing, but Twitter is not the least bit annoying.

Long story short - Alex and I are both done being pregnant, not quite ready for a baby.  But, we are getting pretty anxious to see what the little one has in store for us.

I <3 APTs!

You know in Downtown - we like our Toilets. I wish the "neighborhoods" that don't want toilets were a little more open about why they don't want toilets. I have a hunch their response is a sad attempt to deny something that is already there.

Seattle's reason for why the toilets won't work is one thankfully we don't have to worry about.

Seattle to Remove Automated Toilets

SEATTLE — After spending $5 million on its five automated public toilets, Seattle is calling it quits.

In the end, the restrooms, installed in early 2004, had become so filthy, so overrun with drug abusers and prostitutes, that although use was free of charge, even some of the city’s most destitute people refused to step inside them.

The units were put up for sale Wednesday afternoon on eBay, with a starting bid set by the city at $89,000 apiece.

The dismal outcome coincides with plans by New York, Los Angeles and Boston, among other cities, to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for expansion this fall in their installation of automated toilets — stand-alone structures with metal doors that open at the press of a button and stay closed for up to 20 minutes. The units clean themselves after each use, disinfecting the seats and power-washing the floors.

Seattle officials say the project here failed because the toilets, which are to close on Aug. 1, were placed in neighborhoods that already had many drug users and transients. Then there was the matter of cost: $1 million apiece over five years, which because of a local ordinance had to be borne entirely by taxpayers instead of advertisers.

In the typical arrangement involving cities that want to try automated toilets, an outdoor advertising company like JCDecaux provides, operates and maintains them for the municipality in exchange for a right to place ads on public property like bus stops and kiosks. Revenue from the advertisers flows to both the company and the city.

But a strict advertising law here barred officials from such an arrangement, meaning Seattle had to pick up the entire $5 million cost. “That’s a lot of money, a whole lot,” said Ray Hoffman, director of corporate policy for Seattle Public Utilities, the municipal water and sewage agency that ran the project.

Richard McIver, a Seattle city councilman, agrees. “Other cities around the world seem to be able to handle toilets civilly,” Mr. McIver said. “But we were unable to control the street population, and without the benefit of advertising, our costs were awfully high.”

Automated toilets have been common fixtures on European sidewalks for decades. But they have been less popular in American cities, where concerns including their appearance, cleanliness and tendency to attract illegal activity have slowed their installation.

In Seattle, problems arose almost immediately. Users left so much trash behind that the automated floor scrubbers had to be disabled, and prostitutes and drug users found privacy behind the toilets’ locked doors.

“I’m not going to lie: I used to smoke crack in there,” said one homeless woman, Veronyka Cordner, nodding toward the toilet behind Pike Place Market. “But I won’t even go inside that thing now. It’s disgusting.”

In May, the City Council decided to close the toilets. It agreed to pay an additional $540,000 fee to end, five years early, its maintenance contract with the operator, Northwest Cascade, a local company with no prior experience in the field that was chosen when established operators like JCDecaux and Cemusa declined to bid because the project lacked advertising revenue.

Seattle’s automated toilets, 12 feet in circumference and 9 feet high, are round and shiny like steel cans. New York’s design is a modernist box of steel and frosted glass, while the toilets in Los Angeles and San Francisco resemble ornate trolley cars without wheels. All have mechanisms that control the doors and clean the floors.

Nowhere was the controversy over public toilets more bitter or longer than in New York, where it lasted 18 years and vexed three mayoral administrations.

“At this point, I’m glad it’s happening at all,” said Fran Reiter, a deputy mayor in the Giuliani administration who led a failed effort to build toilets in the city in the mid-1990s.

In 2005, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg signed an agreement giving Cemusa, a Spanish company, a 20-year franchise to sell advertisements on bus stops, newsstands and kiosks. In return, the city will receive $1.4 billion in cash and 20 automated toilets. The first, in Madison Square Park, opened in January. Four more are to be installed in Brooklyn and Queens this fall.

In Boston, a similar advertising contract has paid for six automated toilets, said Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman for Mayor Thomas M. Menino, and the city plans two more this fall.

“It works very well for us,” Ms. Joyce said.

But opposition to advertising is hampering the effort in Los Angeles. In 2002, the city gave CBS Outdoor and JCDecaux a contract to sell advertisements on bus shelters, kiosks and newsstands in exchange for 150 automated toilets. Thirteen are operational so far, with two more coming this fall, said Lance Oishi, who leads the project for the city. Six of the units are downtown near Skid Row, but others sit near transit stations or shopping areas, Mr. Oishi said, and, contrary to Seattle’s experience, all 13 have remained clean and largely crime free.

Neighborhood groups are blocking construction of new structures on which to place advertising, however, and that means there is not enough revenue to support additional toilets, Mr. Oishi said.

“I do feel some frustration that things are not moving as fast as I’d like,” he said.

Some cities have had problems with maintenance. The 25 automated toilets in San Francisco require constant fiddling, officials there say. “You need a dedicated crew taking care of them every day,” said J. Fran├žois Nion, executive vice president of JCDecaux North America, whose French parent company maintains 3,229 automated toilets worldwide.

Rather than automated toilets, some cities are looking for cheaper alternatives that would be cleaned by human attendants. One prototype, to be installed next month in Portland, Ore., would cost $50,000 each, compared with some $300,000 for an automated unit.

Randy Leonard, a Portland city commissioner, helped design that toilet, which in addition has open gaps at the top and bottom of the door, a feature discouraging drug abuse, prostitution and the like.

But given that lesser privacy, it is unclear how popular such a toilet might be, as Mr. Leonard acknowledges.

“We in the U.S. have yet to shed our puritanical roots,” he said. “We are uptight about toilets.”

Can the tummy get any bigger?

Yesterday I had to come home early from work. Actually, when I left work I called Alex to tell him I was coming his way and that he would need to take me to the doctor. I was having really bad back pain, those Toni Braxton contractions seemed a little more aggressive than I remember them being. I tried calling the doctor, only to be met with "He's not in"

Once we did find the doctor, he made it clear that I'd been doing too much and not drinking enough water.  I agree with both

I've always been busy (some say a busybody), but it has been a source of pride that I've been all up in everyone elses business.  And, now I need to redirect and get up in my business.  So, at 34 weeks...yes I admit it...I'm tired, my back aches, and going through nights with leg pain is getting old.

But, like everyone says - "you are almost done"

Yes, I'll get to trade the mass of movement in my belly for a happy little girl.

I guess we should go get the crib or something.

No Max - you ARE NOT cool.

Fresh from Starbucks. (No fear - it's just iced soy milk.)

There was this guy in front of me who ordered an double shot of espresso over ice, and two shots of caramel.

His order was about $3.00.

When his drink was ready he asked for extra caramel sauce.

He got his drink in his cheap little hand, went over to the condiments counter and filled the rest of the cup up with nonfat milk.

Then, he giggles in delight and says " I just got a 4 dollar drink for 3 dollars"

His friends nod in affirmation of his drink order.

And, I sighed (unfortunately...loudly) and thought to myself, this guy is such a waste of air. First off - sure, he's getting a great deal on "his drink" but he's made a mockery of the whole essence of Starbucks. Second, enjoy the true taste and roast of the coffee, don't eff it all up with your caramel sauce and STEALING of milk. Third, I think those frappy-drinks are total crap and waste of good coffee. (I know...Alex likes them, but still..CRAP).

If it is a matter of not being able to afford the frappachino that you wanted in the first place, suck it up. Life's full of disappointments, get a drink that you both like and can afford. Don't go wasting the talent of the beautiful baristas behind the bar. But, Max, if you are just cheap...well...I'm sorry, but be cheap at Dunkin' Doughnuts. Not at Starbucks.

Ode to the Starbucks Gossip site!

I'd sleep more

But, I've got matching leg cramps in my legs.  

Drinking more water....

Cheers!  Here's to 6 and unknown number of weeks to go!

Had the follow up glucose test this week.  Fasting is difficult under any circumstances, but when you've got a baby kicking inside reminding you to eat - someone (Alex) needs to block all access to food at all hours of the day.  But, I did it.  

At 9 am on Thursday I went in for the screen.  The first check was at 9:15, again at 10:15, and 11:15.  I met with the doctor to find out that I'd passed the first check, and failed the second two...but not by much.  The last check at 12:15 put me in the clear - so no gestational diabetes.  But, a stern warning from the doctor to eat more veggies, and NO MORE PINEAPPLE.  (both of which I've done for a couple of weeks).

I can smell pineapple a mile away.  And, it's everywhere.  On the fruit carts in the neighborhood, at Central Market, Ralphs, Whole Foods, Bristol...the Pineapple follows me.  Actually - it comes to me...Pastor gave me two cans of pineapple juice just last weekend.  It sits in the fridge.  It can be my Labor Reward (because the baby won't be enough...riiiiiight?).

Yesterday we met up with Alex's parent for lunch, which turned into stroller shopping, which turned into rocker shopping.  Which probably explains the matching leg cramps - I did an amazing amount of walking yesterday.  The car seat will be installed in the car on the 21st.

The 21st...7 days earlier than our goal.  For the first time this whole pregnancy we finally were able to do something before the "suggested date"!  Maybe we've officially caught up on the whole baby preparation.  Uh...not yet...the crib still needs to be secured.    Now we know what to do with the extra 7 days.  :-)

The rocker...oh man...interesting story.  The first trip to the Children's Wonderland, the rocker was the second thing Alex saw.  This store was made for him. 

Can I just say that the first time we walked around Target, poor Alex looked like he was going to have a graphic design anxiety attack.  The bright colors, the frills, the lace...all freaked him out.  And, I don't think I helped by joking around, trying to make light of the whole thing said "well...I guess this is our life now"  

And, we left Target right away.  Actually - we had to leave the whole mall and go home.  

Anyways - Children's Wonderland...

He sees the crib...he says - ohhh...the lines, the shape, the color...this works.

I see the price tag...I say - "months way!"

He moves to the left and says - look at this chair, it matches the furniture!  And it rocks!  And, it is big enough for the two of us to sit together!

I have to admit, I like the rocking chair.  I want a rocking chair, but I couldn't find one that matched what we have.  Until this place.  

So, the fact that he likes the look of the chair, and I like the fact it rocks...the rare moment that we agree on a piece of furniture had arrived.  In the past, I'd left all the furniture or "designy" things up to Alex.  At Ikea he'd asked me if this fabric would look good with that fabric, and I just peek and say whatever moved me at the moment.  I don't give it much thought.  He on the other hand (which is one of the many things I find amazing about him) can visualize how one piece of furniture will impact the whole room.  

He is left to focus on the design stuff, and I focus on making it work.  However - I must tell everyone - he's been using the screwdriver set I bought him for Christmas!  

So - to wrap it all up (because the leg cramps are unbearable and I must start walking around) Children's Wonderland...great place to shop.  They have the good strollers, not scary baby furniture, all the fixin's for feeding your child, books, tutus and most importantly - a nice clean bathroom!

And, Alex rules for being able to stay calm when I wake up grabbing my legs saying "OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD...I've got a cramp!"  

The first time it happened he thought I went into labor, bounced out of bed and was half dressed when I told him the cramp had passed.  While he wasn't happy with me at that moment, he was relieved to find out that I wasn't in labor.

From DONE - not a "Happy Friday" email

--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Betty Wong Oyama
Date: Fri, Jul 11, 2008 at 2:35 PM
Subject: Fwd: NC Election Challenge
To: Brady Westwater , Russell Brown , Ginny-Marie Case , Susan Tae
Cc: Amber Meshack , Kevin McNeely

Dear DLANC Executive Board Members,

As you well know by now, the Downtown Los Angeles NC received an NC Election Challenge to the election held on June 12, 2008, conducted by the Office of the City Clerk. Per the DLANC Election Procedures, the City Clerks Office will issue the Final Election Report on Tuesday July 15, 2008.

In accordance with the DLANC Election Procedures, Article XVIII, Seating of Newly Elected Board Members, Section A., states that the following:

"Newly elected governing board members will not be seated pending the final results of a recount or resolution of all election challenges. The incumbent board members will continue in their duly elected/appointed positions until the election challenges are resolved."

Lastly, please be advised that the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) have not received DLANC 2008-09 Budget that was originally due on June 13, 2008. We understand due to the June NC Elections, DLANC did not have the opportunity to finalize and submit the budget. At this time it is strongly suggested that the current board have a Regular or Special Board Meeting to approve the budget, and include a clause stating, "subject to revision by newly elected 2008-09 Board Members.

Whatever the Neighborhood Council wishes to move forward with, please be sure to follow process you have used in the past, such as posting the agenda at regular locations, website, etc., all of course in compliance with the Brown Act.

I've attached a copy of DLANC's Election Procedures. Please feel free to contact me with any other questions you may have.

Thank you,

Betty Wong Oyama
City of LA, Department of Neighborhood Empowerment
305 E. 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

phone: 213/473-5095
fax: 213/473-3569
Toll Free City Access Line 3-1-1


CONFIDENTIALLY NOTICE: The information contained in this communication is confidential and/or legally privileged. It is solely for the use of the designated recipient(s). Unauthorized interception, review, duplication, use, or disclosure is strictly prohibited by law. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender immediately, return the original message via United States mail, and destroy all copies of this transmission.

Take the futon

email me at

You must be able to get it.  I cannot help you move the futon.  However- it is free to a good home.

Moving in...Again

For those who need a reminder, Alex and I move often.

We got the keys for the new place at SB Manhattan on Monday, and the movers came by on Saturday to move the big stuff.  We used LA Prom Moving - excellent!  They moved fast, were on time, and just exceeded our expectations.  I think we found our movers to use for now on.  The price - couldn't be beat.  They would put a couple of the small boxes in a wardrobe box, allowing them to move 3 or 4 boxes at a time.  Which is a huge time savings because unloading the truck took even less time than packing the truck.  And, since the wardrobe boxes were free, there just wasn't any reason why it wouldn't be a great idea.  Our Ikea furniture got the Pottery Barn treatment....  I can't say enough positive things about the whole experience.

Our house is currently overrun with boxes, stuff that needs to go to our storage unit, and stuff that just needs to go away.

Let's start with the stuff that needs to go away.  If you want them, they are yours:
  • three rugs.  Of the three, two of them match.  The third rug has a matching ottoman that Alex wants me to get rid of.  
  • Futon!  I don't know what we are going to do with this.  First, it doesn't fit with the rest of our Ikea furniture, more importantly, it's too large for our place.  It works just fine, it just needs to go.
The stuff that needs to go to our storage unit is all my fault.  We had a moving truck, but I scheduled it too late in the day and we were unable to get everything in the truck, and get it up to the storage unit before they closed.  If I wasn't pregnant, I'd be able to move this stuff with no problem.  I mean - I grew up moving fire wood, shoveling gravel...I may be small but I can move things.  But, just not right now.

The my pregnancy fog I forgot to label ALL of the boxes.  Opening up the boxes that I packed is like Christmas over and over and over again.  My favorite box to open was the baby stuff.  I kept tearing up because I was thinking "Oh, yeah...we moved here because we are having a baby and I wanted a Washer/Dryer in the unit!"  Why I keep tearing up over a stupid washer/dryer...I dunno.  But, I'm sure in a couple of months I won't tear up over it, I'll just be happy that I don't have to take baby clothes to the end of the hall, or worry about where I left the laundry card...AGAIN.

It was a hot weekend to move.  I'm tired of moving in the summer.  Look at this trend:

Location/Move In
Santee Court/Memorial Day Weekend 2004
Pacific Electric/August 2005
SB Manhattan/4th of July Weekend 2008

That's it, no more!  This lease is up July 2009.  Next move can be October 2009 (You know after the Dodgers win the world series) or after Valentines day.  Even better - moves can only take place between January and April.  But, not in March (Alex's Birthday).  So, January, February, April?  No, I need February to save up for Alex's birthday.  January...tends to be a light month for community meetings.  April can't work because Baseball season starts.  So - January...January it is.  But, that would mean no move until 2010.  Hmmm.  I may need to rethink this.  Maybe Early November 2009, there's no sports of note during that time (except for off-season baseball, but I can read up on that). 

I'm done with this hot weather mess.  The only benefit is that Alex and I lose weight (which didn't happen this time because we ate pizza the whole weekend).  The next move we will be doing with a baby in tow.  It's unlikely that she will be able to help at all.  She can carry her binky and blanket.  

Don't get me wrong, I like moving around.  I spent my entire childhood in the same house, and rearranged my room on a regular basis.  Once I turned 18, I didn't stay anywhere for very long.  I think Pacific Electric was the longest I'd stayed put since moving from my dad's house. While it would be nice to call something our own, I'm sure we would get antsy and start looking at new places to live - constantly.

I think that is why Downtown is good for us, as there's always something new opening up.  This time next year South Park may be overflowing with new units, or Pacific Electric does a remodel and puts the washer/dryers in more of the units.  Or at least, encourage the management not to hog up all the units with w/d.  Santee Court would be fun to move back to as well.  However,I think Alex is looking at City West as our next location.

I'd like to finish unpacking here first, deliver Iolani, and then think about what's next.

Updated Musings

Over the past couple of days two individuals have left posts on my musings on the election  and, something's amiss.

ANT was elected as the Fashion District resident representative.

However - His candidacy was for the South Park resident position.

And, the message left on my website places him in the Eastern Columbia building...which is just inside the boundary for the Historic Core.

Hmmmm...  Wonder how this happened?  Seriously - I wonder how this happened?  

I've dropped an email to the Clerks office to follow up.

Is your pool on the list?

I was reading the LA Times article on pool closures, and I thought I'd enter in my zip code to check out who's received pool violations from the county.

Los Angeles Athletic Club
Santee Court
Pacific Electric Lofts

Check it out for yourself!

A Free Betancourt?

(Adds more detail)

*Betancourt, 3 Americans, 11 other hostages rescued

*Minister says government tricked guerrillas

*Betancourt, weeping, thanks Colombian military

*Bush congratulates Uribe

*U.S. ex-hostages in American hands

By Hugh Bronstein

BOGOTA, July 2 (Reuters) - French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, three Americans and 11 other hostages held for years in jungle captivity were rescued on Wednesday from leftist guerrillas by Colombian troops posing as aid workers.

The rescue was a huge coup for popular President Alvaro Uribe, an anti-guerrilla hard-liner who has used billions of dollars in U.S. aid to push the rebels onto the defensive, cut crime and spur economic growth.

Betancourt, 46, was the highest profile captive held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, Latin America's oldest surviving left-wing insurgency.

A former presidential candidate, her dual French-Colombian nationality had helped bring world attention to the plight of hostages held by the rebels.

"I believe that this is a sign of peace for Colombia, that we can find peace," Betancourt said, thanking the Colombian military for her rescue and weeping as she made her first public comments, carried on Colombian radio station Caracol.

Minutes later a pale but smiling Betancourt landed in Bogota's military air base, walking down the stairs of the plane and hugging her mother, Yolanda Pulecio, who was waiting on the runway.

Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said all of the former captives were in reasonably good health despite having been held in harsh conditions, often chained by the neck by their rebel captors.

The rescue was carried out in the southern jungle province of Guaviare, Santos said. Soldiers posed as members of a fictitious non-government organization that supposedly would fly the hostages by helicopter to a camp to meet with rebel leader Alfonso Cano.

"The helicopters, which in reality were from the army, picked up the hostages in Guaviare and flew them to freedom," Santos said. Two guerrillas were captured in the operation.

Fifteen long-term kidnap victims were rescued in all, including Betancourt and the three Americans, he said.

"It (the rescue) will go down in history for its audaciousness and effectiveness," Santos told reporters.

The FARC has been holding about 40 high-profile hostages it has sought to exchange for jailed rebels.


French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Betancourt was in good health and despatched his Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, in a plane to Colombia.

"Today a nightmare of more than six years has ended," Sarkozy said at the presidential palace.

The president's office said earlier that Sarkozy had had a long conversation with Uribe. France had made vigorous efforts to seek Betancourt's freedom.

Betancourt was kidnapped by the FARC in 2002 and was last seen in a rebel video at the end of last year looking ill, gaunt and despondent.

"I am filled with happiness," Betancourt's sister, Astrid, told Colombian radio. "These have been long years of waiting."

The freed Americans are former Defense Department contract workers Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell and Thomas Howes. All three worked for Northrop Grumman and were captured in 2003 after their light aircraft crashed in the jungles while on a counternarcotics operation.

U.S. President George W. Bush spoke by telephone with Uribe.

"President Bush congratulated President Uribe, telling him he is a 'strong leader.' President Uribe thanked President Bush for his support and confidence in the Government of Colombia," Gordon Johndroe, White House National Security Council spokesman, said in Washington.

Northrop Grumman said in a statement that the three Americans had been transferred to the custody of the U.S. government in Colombia for return to the United States.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice congratulated Uribe and the Colombia military on the rescue of the hostages.

"We are delighted with the safe recovery of these Americans ... We are working now to reunite them swiftly with their families in the United States," Rice said in a written statement.

She urged the FARC to release all other hostages and said the United States held the group responsible for the health and well-being of those still in captivity.


The FARC has demanded that Uribe pull back troops from an area the size of New York City to facilitate talks.

Uribe, whose father was killed in a botched FARC kidnapping years ago, refuses to accept that condition. But he has offered a smaller safe haven under international observation in an area where there are no armed forces or armed groups.

The outlawed rebel army, once a 17,000-member force able to attack cities and kidnap almost at will, has been driven back into remote areas and now has about 9,000 combatants. The guerrillas have lost three major leaders this year.

Listed as a terrorist group by U.S. and European officials, the FARC has used Colombia's cocaine trade to fund its operations.

In announcing the rescue operation, Santos called on the guerrillas to give up their arms and negotiate a truce.

Michael Shifter, an analyst at the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think tank, said the rescue showed that the FARC was in a serious organizational crisis.

"The Colombian government took advantage of the FARC's weakness and disarray to carry out the mission. It was a big gamble, but it worked," he said.

"Uribe is a risk-taker and is full of surprises. Not that he needs it, but this remarkable turn of events will further boost his popularity."

U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who had been visiting Colombia, was informed about the successful release of the hostages while en route to Mexico from Colombia.

A spokesman told reporters on McCain's plane that on Tuesday night, Uribe and his defense minister pulled aside McCain and the two senators traveling with him to inform them of the operation that was planned for Wednesday to free the hostages. The three had not learned about the success of the operation before departing Colombia.

(Additional reporting by Emmanuel Jarry and Sudip Kar-Guptain Paris; Adriana Garcia, Tabassum Zakaria and Arshad Mohammed in Washington; Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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Diddy did it - so it's okay

I say yes - because Diddy rules.

Taken from
I encourage people to visit this site once a day for rest and relaxation.

Letter from District to Congregations

From: Larry Hygh
Date: Wed, Jun 25, 2008 at 8:47 AM
Subject: [CAL-PAC-UPDATE] 2008 Annual Conference Summary Report

California-Pacific Annual Conference
By Larry R. Hygh, Jr.*

More than 1,800 laity and clergy from across Southern California, Hawaii, Guam, and Saipan gathered June 18 to 22 at
the University of Redlands in Redlands, Calif., for the 2008 California-Pacific Annual Conference. This year’s theme was
“To Be The Cup Overflowing With Joy!” Bishop Mary Ann Swenson opened worship proclaiming, “Joy comes as a gift
that cannot be manufactured!”

This was the 24th Annual Conference Session of the California-Pacific Annual Conference, which was created out of the
Pacific and Southwest Annual Conference. This session marks the 157th session since the organization of The Pacific
Conference in 1851, the oldest of the merging Annual Conferences.

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of the Mississippi Annual Conference led Bible study. Bishop Ward examined the Book of
Ruth and said, “We’re all midwives to one another as we give birth and bring new life to the world!” She also examined
the “Parable of the Sower” and asked the question, “How do we live between the planting and the harvest?”
Conference members gathered in Wesley Circles following the morning Bible studies for discussion and prayer.

The Conference continued a new pattern of welcoming a lay person to preach during the Annual Session. Lewis “Bob”
Crownover, a lay member of First United Methodist Church Redondo Beach, was selected through an audition process,
and spoke during a special service of baptism about his faith journey, which included coming back from homelessness.

In legislative action, the Conference responded in several ways to recent actions of the California Supreme Court. In
early May, the Court struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage in a broadly worded decision that would
invalidate virtually any law that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation. The 4-3 ruling declared that the state
Constitution protects a fundamental "right to marry" that extends equally to same-sex couples.

The conference passed three resolutions surrounding the issue of same-sex marriage in California.

One of the resolutions focused on a pastoral response to the legality of same gender marriage in California. It read in
part, “while we recognize that we are governed by the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, we support
those pastors who conscientiously respond to the needs of their parishes by celebrating same gender marriages, and we
envision compassion and understanding in any resulting disciplinary actions.” (See “Pastoral Response” below for full
text of resolution)

The second resolution entitled “Affirmation of Marriage Equality in California” calls on the California-Pacific Annual
Conference to celebrate the Supreme Court decision regarding marriage equality. It reads in part, “Be it further resolved
that the California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church support same-gender couples who enter
into the marriage covenant and encourage both congregations and pastors to welcome, embrace, and provide spiritual
nurture and pastoral care for these families.” (See “Affirmation of Marriage” below for full text of resolution)

A third resolution was in response to an initiative on the California state ballot this coming November. The “California
Marriage Protection Act” would amend the state Constitution to define marriage as a union "between a man and a
woman" and undo the ruling which found that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was unconstitutional.

The Conference resolution entitled “Protecting Marriage Equality In California,” was passed in opposition to the state
initiative. It read in part, “we call upon the laity and clergy of our churches in the California-Pacific Annual Conference to
answer the call of General Conference by providing a witness against heterosexism and any discrimination based on
sexual orientation, and in so doing, to be actively involved in protecting the civil rights of all Californians as they pertain
to the right to civil marriage, working through correspondence with elected officials, through public venues such as
newspapers, periodicals, radio and television, and the venues offered by the internet, and through other opportunities
as they arise.” (See “Marriage Equality” below for full text of resolution)

Prior to closing worship, the Rev. Mark Ulrickson, Santa Ana District Superintendent and Dean of the Cabinet, read a
statement from the Cabinet in response to inquiries regarding same gender marriages. Ulrickson said, “Neither our
actions nor the actions of the State of California change the present Discipline of the United Methodist Church.” He
further stated, “Despite our diverse individual perspectives, we are obligated to process complaints arising from
breaches of these provisions in a manner appropriate to the circumstances.” He further stated, “As we seek to remain in
compassionate solidarity with our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, this may be a time to promote ecumenical
partnerships and a variety of engaging ministries.” (See “Cabinet Response” below for full text of statement)

Members adopted a 2009 budget of $12,906,072 representing an increase of .77 percent increase.

More than 225 youth participated in the annual Youth Day and raised funds for 1,000 bed nets for the “Nothing But
Nets” campaign.

In other business, conference members:

- Collected offerings: Domestic Disaster Response $4,200; Nothing But Nets $9,500; Global Disaster Response
$3,300; Conference Youth Endowment Fund $3,400; and Bishop’s Designation for Children $3,000;
- Raised $905 in the annual clergy basketball game for charity to benefit Nothing But Nets; and
- Adopted a resolution encouraging all churches in the Conference to calculate their carbon footprint on a
biennial basis and become carbon neutral by the year 2020.

During the conference session:

- Bishop Swenson ordained seven elders in full connection; received one candidate into full connection;
commissioned four as probationary elders, and commissioned one as a probationary deacon;
- Celebrated the retirement of 25 active clergy representing more than 656 years of active ministry; and
- Endorsed the Rev. Dr. Grant Hagiya, Executive Director, of the Conference’s new Center of Leadership
Excellence, for the Episcopacy.

Membership stands at 84,812 down 2,265 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 51,227, up 411 from
the previous year. Church school attendance stands at 12,814, down 613 from the previous year.

*Hygh is director of communications for the denomination’s California-Pacific Annual Conference which includes 380
churches with a combined membership of 85,000 in Southern California, Hawaii, Guam, and Saipan.


Pastoral Response to Legality of Same-Gender Marriage in California

Whereas many people who we know and love in our parishes are celebrating with overflowing joy the recent California
Supreme Court decision to recognize their place in society and their right to be married, and

Whereas beloved same-gender couples in our parishes are coming to us with their desire to celebrate their love and
commitment, and to have those affirmed not only by the state but by their faith community as well, and

Whereas the legality of same-sex marriage in California, the needs of our parishes, and the demands of love require a
pastoral response from the clergy and congregations of the California-Pacific Annual Conference,

Therefore, be it resolved that we recognize the pastoral need and prophetic authority of our clergy and congregations to
offer the ministry of marriage ceremonies for same-gender couples.

Be it further resolved, while we recognize that we are governed by the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist
Church, we support those pastors who conscientiously respond to the needs of their parishes by celebrating same-
gender marriages, and we envision compassion and understanding in any resulting disciplinary actions.


Protecting Marriage Equality in California [Opposition to “California Marriage Protection Act”]

Whereas the Book of Discipline 2004 states in ¶162(h) that: “Certain basic human rights and civil liberties are due all
persons. We are committed to supporting those rights and liberties for homosexual persons,” and “We insist that all
persons, regardless of age, gender, martial status, or sexual orientation, are entitled to have their human and civil rights
ensured,” and

Whereas the 2008 session of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church, held in Fort Worth, Texas, has
adopted the resolution titled Opposition to Homophobia and Heterosexism, calling on: “The United Methodist Church
strengthen its advocacy of the eradication of sexism by opposing all forms of violence or discrimination based on gender,
gender identity, sexual practice or sexual orientation,” and

Whereas the Supreme Court of the State of California ruled in the case of In re: Marriage Cases (2008), when it struck
down a state ban on same-sex marriage, has found the right to marry to be civil right of all citizens, and that “the
essence of the right to marry is freedom to join in marriage with the person of one’s choice,” and that “An individual’s
sexual orientation – like a person’s race or gender – does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or
withhold legal rights.”

Whereas a so called “California Marriage Protection Amendment” will appear on the November 4, 2008 General Election
ballot, seeking to overturn the California Supreme Court decision, and

Whereas this amendment would be a profound misuse of our state constitution for the purpose of restricting the civil
rights of one group of citizens, such an amendment would be in direct contradiction of the principles and spirit of the
United Methodist Church:

Therefore, be it resolved that the 2008 Session of the California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist
Church Opposes the California Marriage Protection Amendment, and calls upon United Methodists in favor of the defeat
of this act to work with all their might for its defeat, and

Be it further resolved that we call upon the laity and clergy of our churches in the California-Pacific Annual Conference to
answer the call of General Conference by providing a witness against heterosexism and any discrimination based on
sexual orientation, and in so doing, to be actively involved in protecting the civil rights of all Californians as they pertain
to the right to civil marriage, working through correspondence with elected officials, through public venues such as
newspapers, periodicals, radio and television, and the venues offered by the internet, and through other opportunities
as they rise.


Affirmation of Marriage Equality in California

On May 15, 2008, The California Supreme Court issued its decision holding that marriage is a basic civil right of personal
autonomy and liberty to which all persons are entitled without regard to their sexual orientation. The week the
California Pacific Annual Conference 2008 will be in session, history will be made in California as legal marriage becomes
available to gay and lesbian couples. Gay and lesbian couples in many of our churches will be married in the weeks and
months to come.

Whereas California has led the marriage equality movement, beginning 60 years ago, by striking down laws prohibiting
marriage between interracial couples (Perez v. Sharp, 1948);

Whereas on May 15, 2008, the California Supreme Court issued its decision holding that marriage is a basic civil right of
personal autonomy and liberty to which all persons are entitled without regard to their sexual orientation; and

Whereas as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision, the State of California will begin to license and recognize same-
gender marriages on June 16, 2008;

Whereas the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church states that “certain basic human rights and civil liberties
are due all persons. We are committed to supporting those rights and liberties for homosexual persons.” (¶162.H)

Whereas: The United Methodist Church understands family “to be the basic human community through which persons
are nurtured and sustained in mutual love, responsibility, respect, and fidelity.” (¶161.A)

Whereas the California Pacific Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church has had a long history of ministry
with, by and for lesbians and gay men through which the Holy Spirit has taught us the sacred worth of all persons and
our ministries have been shaped accordingly;

Therefore be it resolved that the California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church celebrates the
Supreme Court decision regarding marriage equality;

Be it further resolved that the California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist church support same-
gender couples who enter into the marriage covenant and encourage both congregations and pastors to welcome,
embrace and provide spiritual nurture and pastoral care for these families.


A Statement Offered by the Bishop and Cabinet
In response to inquiries regarding same gender marriages
Shared with the Cal-Pac Annual Conference meeting in session in Redlands, CA
Sunday, June 22, 2008

With the change in California law regarding same gender marriages, pastors and congregations have been asking how
they can respond. Our Holy Conferencing and action on resolutions at this Annual Conference have sought common
ground in this regard. Neither our actions nor the actions of the state of California change the present Discipline of the
United Methodist Church. The 2008 General Conference did add clarification that the prohibition against holy unions
(Ph 341.6) applies even when same gender marriage is legal. This provision becomes effective in 2009.

The Episcopal office and its extension through the District Superintendents fulfill two roles, pastoral and supervisory
(presidential). In the pastoral role we want to affirm that your Bishop and cabinet are available for counsel,
encouragement, support, and reflection. In the supervisory or presidential role, we are officers of the church and
responsible for upholding the order of the Discipline. Despite our diverse individual perspectives, we are obligated to
process complaints arising from breaches of these provisions in a manner appropriate to the circumstances.

In considering pastoral care, rituals and celebrations, pastors and congregations will need to understand the rules, risks
and the scope of consequences as well as recognizing the continuum of possible ministries which can be offered.

As we seek to remain in compassionate solidarity with our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, this may be a time to
promote ecumenical partnerships and a variety of engaging ministries.

Ultimately, the Annual Conference, cabinet and UMC, can not make the decision regarding your course. We can not
eliminate risks or consequences or determine your heart or behavior. These decisions reside in the space between you
and the call of God. As a cabinet, we will be in prayer for our pastors and congregations as we all seek to listen to the
guidance of the Holy Spirit in responding to the heart of Christ as we extend compassion and hospitality to those seeking
the sacral agencies of the church.

Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors
The People of the United Methodist Church

Larry R. Hygh, Jr.
Director of Communications
California-Pacific Conference
The United Methodist Church
110 South Euclid Ave.
P.O. Box 6006
Pasadena, CA 91102-6006

Letter from Sandie to Conregation

June 25, 2008

Dear Church members:

On June 17, 2008, the State of California made it legal for same sex couples to obtain legal marriage,
the same status extended to married couples of the opposite sex. However, the Discipline of the
United Methodist Church states that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian Teaching, while it
upholds the sacred worth of every individual.

If an ordained United Methodist minister holds a marriage ceremony for a same-sex couple, that
minister is liable to be brought up on charges and may lose his/her orders.

There are dozens of United Methodist clergy in our California-Pacific Annual Conference who hold that
the Discipline is wrong on this matter, and who believe that it is our responsibility to provide pastoral
care to all our members, including couples of the same sex who wish to be married by their pastors in
their churches. Attached is the summary of the Cal-Pac Annual Conference written by Dr. Larry Hygh;
in the summary you will read the various resolutions and statements we considered this past week.

We are exploring ways to respond compassionately to this situation. While we do this, I thought it might
be helpful for you to know my current thinking about this.

At this time, if two people of the same sex wish to be married but they are NOT a part of our
congregation, I would refer them to another denomination where the minister is free to perform
such a ceremony.

If the couple IS part of the congregation, I will consult with that couple as to what they want for
their ceremony. As a pastor, I am charged with caring for the ritual lives of our members and
marriage is no exception.

As a Conference, we are looking for different ways to accommodate our membership, upholding the
dignity and commitment of each couple who wish to make sacred their marriage vows whether
homosexual or heterosexual. For instance, one suggestion is to have a retired clergy member with ties
to the congregation sign the marriage license, while the appointed pastor presides over communion.
Another suggestion is for the appointed pastor to simply disobey the Discipline. I appreciate your input
on this matter.

Our denomination is bound to struggle with this issue for the next decade at least. Let us hope and pray
that our United Methodist church will welcome ALL God’s children sooner than later. Until that day, we
will continue a faithful witness that our discipline is wrong to single out same-sex couples and exclude
them from the full blessings of the denomination. We at First Church will never exclude anyone who
comes to us ready to walk the disciples’ path.

In peace,
Pastor Sandie

FUMC LA and Marriage

Ever since I was a kid, finding out that there were people who "weren't allowed to marry" I have always wholly support anyone who wants to marry, regardless of gender or sexual identify or sexual preference. If anything else, life is rough enough for us to think we can "go it alone" and that once you find your true love, nothing should stand in the way of it.
As a member of the First United Methodist Church of Los Angeles -I support Pastor Sandie without hesitation. My preference is that she be able to work in an environment that allows her to not only serve her congregation, but the community as a whole. The current hamstringing by our national church doctrine is the only thing that holds her back. I know I would not be the only one to say that if Sandy wanted to place church and community needs above national church doctrine, I'll be there to support her.
Hopefully now that you've had a chance to view the documents our congregation and pastor have been provided with, you can make a more informed choice how you see FUMC LA.

Two things

  1. Art the Ass, at PE Lofts Unit 614 has been evicted.  According to the note on the door, he's got bigger trouble than just our noise complaints. 
  2. I pick up the keys to our new unit over at SB Manhattan today.