My favorite kid music

Iolani is really starting to enjoy dancing around to music. I was thinking that we most likely couldn't have her dancing around to...say...Ice-T's copkiller, and the idea of having The Wiggles playing in the car makes be barf just a little.

Here's what Alex and I have to offer to Iolani to prepare her for a future in music-snobbery:

Kimya Dawson (Anything with "Butt" in the title, you know you are going to like)

They Might Be Giants (yes, they are doing kids music, with one song titled Pee-Pee in the Potty)

Any recent Hawaiian music works too.  However, be on the lookout for Hawaiian rap.  (Yes, Rap)  My favorite - recent Hawaiian music about Hawaiian independence.

(Iolani loves that Single Ladies video)

Laurie Berkner...maybe not something you'd want to play at work.  Keep in mind, it's not a cartoon character.

Yo Gabba Gabba has been putting out CDs.

When you are watching YGG, and you see a band...they are likely already on iTunes.  Like Smoosh...downloaded them tonight...  Loving it.  Iolani will too!

Finally - anything by Rockabye Baby.  Yes - I can listen to all the dirty worded Green Day songs I long as I'm listening to this album.

The post about talking sh*t

My friends.  My dear dear dear friends.  My neighbors.  My dear neighbors.  Dear dear dear neighbors.

I'm going to say something, and I don't want you all to take it the wrong way, but...  Maybe I've watched too much "Yo Gabba Gabba" and "Sesame Street"

Here it is:

Don't bite your friends.  
Be nice to everyone.

Can't get more kum-by-ya than that.  I don't intend to be so cryptic, but I've heard the different rumors running around town and I feel like if I tell you to follow the things I've bolded above...then your day will be much easier.

There is far too much good stuff going on to get caught up in other people's negativity.  And stop effing biting your friends.  

If you caught up in other's negative energy, well...gimme a call and we can go blow bubbles for Iolani out on the sidewalk.  She likes that, and it's good for you to take deep breaths.

Another decade come and gone...

When I was quickly falling asleep last night I was thinking about the past ten years.  1999 was one of those years where it seemed everyone was on edge all the time. And, as December 1999 approached, that level of intensity just got to be so much I think I really just tuned out.  But, before that…let’s look back. 

February 1999 I remember was super rainy, super grey, and super dark all the time.  Hole was big on the radio, and she was singing MalibuYahoo was the big search engine at the time.  I was in the early part of semester number 3 of 5 at Evergreen.  When I mixed the 4 things with a beer (or maybe a couple of beers) I had this brilliant idea to apply to graduate school. 

Between February and May I was either in class, with classmates, at the Tacoma Bar and Grill, Grounds for Coffee, the Manette Saloon, at Mud Bay Coffee, or at home.  I was also sending out resumes, doing interviews, all in preparation for graduating at the end of the Summer.  (yes yes…I had to do summer school)

In April I visited Pepperdine’s campus and quickly decided that this would be a good next move for me.  Thankfully it wasn’t up to me, and the decision wouldn’t come easily.  I had to think about the $$$,$$$ investment I would be making, weighed with the $$,$$$ I would be making with just my bachelors degree.

So, go figure.  June 3, I get two pieces of mail.  One was the job offer to move to Portland and translate EIRs into something people could understand.  The other piece of mail was the offer letter from Pepperdine.  After an informal poll at the coffeeshop, a couple of beers at the Manette Saloon, and a chilly walk home from the bar, it was agreed that I would be going to Pepperdine.

That, and the conversation I had with my Grandfather that ended in him saying “You really do need to get out of Washington, and I think Pepperdine is a great place to improve on that liberal education you received at Evergreen”

Started classes at Pepperdine and Oh-Em-Gee…tough stuff, but I did end up finding an amazing group of people that even to this day, I respect and admire very much.  Classes aside, there was still a lot going on in Washington that I could no longer be a part of.

But, I don’t want to tell you about that.  I want to tell you about my stupid idea to come home for New Years Eve.  Imagine my luck when two guys get picked up in Port Angeles with a car full of bomb-making mess, and ruin my New Years.  New Years was C A N C E L L E D at the Space Needle in 1999.  And, it was the only reason I traded NYE in Los Angeles for NYE in Seattle.  I ended up spending it at the Manette Saloon (even though to Laurie’s credit, she tried to get me out of there before midnight before I made my somewhat regrettable mistake…which isn’t what you think, but…girls wear beer goggles too…LOL). 

2001, finished grad school, got a job, quit drinking quite so much (getting a job does that), and started dating Alex.

From 2002 to 2007, I remember Alex, baseball, leaving TRG, starting and ending at eCivis (which will forever likely be known as the only real teenage rebellion I ever had), and going back to TRG.

2007: Alex and I went on a one night cruise to no where.  Where, on the front of the boat, in front of a bunch of 50-something ladies, Alex asked me to be his partner forever and ever and ever and ever. And, ever and ever…and so on.

I remember that we were going to plan for something on a train.  We were trying for the parlor car on Amtrak. 

2008 came around, and so did Iolani. I could easily say that the Stork dropped her off with little warning and leave it at that.

Which brings us to 2009.  On the somber side, this is the 15th Christmas without my Mom around, the 9th without Mommo, and the 1st without Margaret.  The dwindling number of matriarchs in the family is unsettling, but new ones are slowly appearing.  What that really means, I’m not sure.  Families aren’t like what they used to be, as Mad Men has shown us.  But, I think all in all – in the Brideau household, things are okay.

Things we’ve seen this year…Iolani’s multiple first this or that.  Baseball games at the stadium or at home.  New parent struggles. Childcare challenges.  Vacations.  And, of course a big wedding on the Red Car in San Pedro

When I look back on the whole decade, it is easy to dismiss the huge national challenges…at least I find it easy to dismiss the economic downturn woes (um…because they were expected!!!).  The electoral downturns…well…maybe we could consider 2000 the Supreme Courts an exercise of teenage rebellion? 

But, if I could just set that all aside and look at the joys of 2009, then everything will be just fine.  Happy Holidays to everyone, and raise a glass to the end of this decade and entry of the next.

Marching Band coming to Downtown


WILL BE FILMING: Northern Trust Bank

LOCATION: Hope Pl, Hope St - Grand Ave

FILMING DATE(S): 12/13/09 FILMING HOURS: 8:00 A.M. - 6:00 P.M.

DESCRIPTION OF SCENE: Pending Community Survey Driving shots/ scenes in reverse flow. Camera & equipment on the sidewalk, in the curb lane and across the street. Occasional traffic & pedestrian control. Exterior dialogue. Wetting of the street. 20 piece Marching band. Condor and crane. Generator. Picture vehicles. Fire hydrant, water effects. Detouring traffic from 4th St offramps.

PARKING: 12/13, 7:00 A.M. - 10:00 P.M. West side of Grand Ave from 4th St - Hope Pl.; Both sides of Hope St from 4th St Ramp - Hope Pl.; West side of Hope St from 3rd St - 4th St. STREET CLOSURES: n/a

Home Depot

Since 2004 we've been downtown, and while initially we were woo-ed with marble, stainless steel, and a bazillion amenities...I'm worn out.

I was reading the comments to this post, and it really hit a nerve. If you skim down through the comments you see someone make reference to "Home Depot" interiors.  Don't you think if more developers had used the home depot approach some of the housing that is still sitting vacant might be filled because it seemed more affordable and not extravagant?  

Are Ya Thinking About Your Neighborhood Council?

I came across this email today:

We are pleased to announce our series of Open Dialogues and Candidate Preparation Sessions beginning this fall and ending in the late spring. The series will offer participants an opportunity to learn about civic participation, the Neighborhood Council System, and important information on the upcoming 2010 Neighborhood Council Elections. Participants will acquaint themselves with their local Neighborhood Council and learn about key election dates to become a voter and/or a candidate for their Council board. Please spread the good news about the series of Open Dialogues and Candidate Preparation Sessions with all your stakeholders, friends and community partners.  For more information on the series, please see the flyer or call (213) 485-1360.

City Clerk 2010 NC Elections Updates 

City Clerk has launched the NC Elections Volunteer Pollworker Program to assist in the 2010 NC elections.  For more information on how to volunteer, please click here (THE LINK DIDN'T WORK).  To keep track of regional election updates, please visit the City Clerk website.

Hey, who cut the sign?

Alex was going over email tonight and he said "Oh, someone cut our sign"

Sure enough, popped over to Pastor Sandie's website and there it was.

The Before:

The After

You know, whatever.... You cut our sign, we'll put a bigger sign up there with a big phat rainbox...and we are going to put it somewhere you can't easily cut it.

Baseball season is done, back to cruising everyone!

Once Halloween is out of the way, time to plan the next Brideau Household Adventure! We are heading back to the boat! The three of us will be taking the cruise to nowhere.

This is how it works:
Board in San Pedro
Eat and sleep and swim and relax for two days
Get off the boat in San Pedro

If you have never been on a cruise, a cruise to nowhere is really the way to go. These cruises are generally inexpensive, the staff is especially relaxed because they are either coming on or off contract, and if you don't like cruising - the boat docks back at home in a couple of days.

Cruising with a baby is no sweat. Our last cruise Iolani was just a hair over 6 months. She loved her tub, all the attention (being the youngest member on the boat has perks), and all the shiny (and incredibly clean) things to touch. This time she has a couple of teeth, isn't drinking formula, and WALKS! We will see if she has sea legs!

So - if you are planning on joining the cruise to no where come the end of November...don't forget to hop onto Cruise Critic and participate in the Roll Call.

Waiting for the new mac

I ordered the new mac the other day.  It will be delivered on the 29th.  In the meantime, I am visiting the order tracking page a couple of times a day.  Right now my package is in Anchorage, AK.  And, then tomorrow - it will travel like this:

This week's to do list The rain is coming...shoot.

Iolani didn't want to go to bed tonight.  We put her down for bed at 8, and by 8:15 she was using her favorite and only complete phrase: "All Done"

Like, she was "All Done" sleeping.  LOL.  She was sobbing in her room "All Done....All Done....All Done...."  It was hard not to laugh when I heard her saying this.  Alex and I would take turns going into her room and picking up Mr. Bear off the floor.  Alex would give Mr. Bear back to her, and I would simply set Mr. Bear back in the crib.  So, if she wanted to throw Mr. Bear again - she would have to get back to the far side of the crib to do anything with him.

Earlier in the evening she was "All Done" at the table after only three bites of food.  Then, she was "All Done" with her bath.  She knows what it means, or at least she knows what it does - it causes Alex or I to pick her up and move her onto the next thing.

Ah-lllll Done

We couldn't get her to settle down until we turned on the baseball game (Colorado v Philadelphia).  Once the game was on she settled down. She was close to falling asleep but then somehow got her hands on the remote.  And, with her being so tired - she just crumpled into a sobbing mess when we took the remote away from her.  I made her a bottle and let her fall asleep to the game.  

She's in bed now and I can get a little bit of work done before tomorrow morning....  Pre-work.  

Tomorrow is Monday.  I have a dentist and doctor appointment.  I'll be skipping the doctor appointment, errr  rather rescheduling it.  The Dentist and I have been like two ships passing in the night.  He's sitting on my invisilines, and our schedules haven't matched for me to go and get them.  The doctor appointment is a doctor appointment.  Dentist appointments are far more exciting to talk about than doctor appointments.

Tuesday is the last scoping meeting for Wilshire BRT. We will be at the conference center at Good Sam.  
Wednesday is the first meeting for the Rosa Parks station project.

And, of course there's the rain.  The rain is supposed to get here on Tuesday and leave on Wednesday.  I don't want to think the rain won't impact turn out for the two meetings, but I know that it will.  Which...of course makes me a bit frustrated.  The funny part of it is who can you really be frustrated with - the weather man? 

So, I'll do my best to give people good reasons to come to the meetings: I promise to have hot coffee when you walk in the door.  

Are you ready for the meetings?

Most of you know what I do: I sit at the entrance of community meetings, ask you to sign in, and then I record your comments. (I decided that I would come up with a very simple way to explain to children what I do) I do a lot more than this, however for the sake of this blog entry, we will keep it simple.

I’d like to think I’m almost an expert on “public comment” as I’ve written about it a couple of times. In reviewing my calendar I noticed that everyone should be planning for “public comment” opportunities galore come this fall.

So, I’d like to offer some tips. In the interest of full disclosure I am always excited to see people come to community meetings. I think community meetings are educational opportunities, examples of community participation, and a great way to meet your neighbor. However, usually the reason for people to attend a community is that a project may (or may not) be moving forward, and you might (or might not) like it. Either way, I am genuinely glad to see you take time out of your busy schedule to just be in the present. (Que the Cheese Factor)

So turn the ringer off on your phone, feel free to Twitter and text away about what you are seeing and hearing.

My tips:

1) Take your time signing in. You took the time to make it to the meeting, take the time to record your attendance. If you walk in the door, arms full of stuff, you should feel free to set your stuff down on the table, and neatly write your name down. Have kids with you? Feel free to get them settled and come back. Before you leave the table, make sure you have all the materials for the meeting (the agenda, comment form, speaker card, and fact sheet).

2) Even if you are late, browse the boards (if there are any). Usually staff lingers in the back of the room, and you should feel free to engage them. It is a rare staffer who doesn’t like to talk about the project they are working on.

3) Sit Close! It must be human nature to want to sit in the back. Resist this urge. The closer you sit to the front the more likely you are to see the details of the presentation, connect with the speaker, and not get distracted by those wiggling around in the back.

When it comes time for the Question/Answer portion of the meeting, know that it’s just as nerve-racking for the presenter as it is for you once you get to the microphone. Based on watching numerous Question/Answer sessions, here are my suggestions:

1) Take notes. During the presentation, write down what your questions are. You can use the comment form for this. Once you get up to the microphone, you might have 2 minutes to get your question out. Don’t spend your two minutes at the microphone formulating your very important question.

2) Don’t expect an answer. This is the toughest part about community meetings. Your question is important, however it is likely when you ask your question, the person won’t have an answer. This is especially important during “scoping meetings”. The whole purpose of a scoping meeting is to find out what needs to be studied. So, when questions and comments are asked during the scoping process – you are essentially asking someone to study and get back to you. (Which then goes back to you signing in – being able to read your contact information is key)

3) Just because you see a timer, this doesn’t mean that you need to race through your time. The purpose of the timer is to ensure fairness for all – not to limit questioning of a project. Take the time to say your name, and then get into your statement.

If you see a court reporter, recording your comments verbatim – using your regular speech pace is a good idea. Since you know this isn’t a race to get in all the words you can, just slow down. If you run out of time – no worries: If you took my suggestion from above, you can just submit your notes into the comment box.

4) What if there’s no court reporter? Then know that the meeting is either being recorded with an audio recorder, or there are 2 or 3 staff members in the back feverishly writing down your comments. I often bring a recorder and take notes concurrently.

5) If you don’t like to speak at the microphone, ran out of time and you still had things to say, or you don’t feel ready to speak at the microphone, you can still send in your comment to the project. Check for a project website, an email address, or phone number. If it doesn’t seem obvious where you can send in your comment, come back to the sign in table, or connect with the presenter…someone will know.

6) Maybe you missed the meeting or came late there are a couple of ways to get caught up on a project. The first is to locate the project website, and review materials from there. If the website seems out of date, check for contact information, send an email and find out where you can find out more information. If you can’t find a project website, search on the internet for it. Not all projects have websites. Sometimes you can find a group for or against a project that is able to put something together. Facebook is another good option.

Still stumped on trying to find a project website – well I guess you could always email me, and I’ll take a look around.

Websites not for you (however ironic that you are reading this website) then consider contacting the agency leading the project, or your elected representatives.

National Coming Out Day Coming Up!

My dear friends and blogging buddies!

A very special Sunday is coming up: National Coming Out Day!

What is National Coming Out Day?
Wikipedia puts it best:
National Coming Out Day is an internationally-observed civil awareness day for coming out and discussion about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues. It is observed on October 11 every year[1] by members of the LGBT communities and their supporters (often referred to as "allies").

National Coming Out Day happens to fall on a Sunday this year, and in the times of Post Prop 8, I plan to be at Church celebrating! Our Pastor Sandie will be out of town that day, so she was able to ask Rev. Jonipher Kwon to come give the sermon. And, I couldn't be any more excited.

Pastor Kwon last spoke to our congregation before the passage of Prop 8. That afternoon, when Iolani was just a couple of months old, we were out on our corner, holding up our No On 8 signs.

Okay - this blog entry is a little winding.

Here's the thing...on National Coming Out Day, you should come out! Come out to support your brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, mothers, fathers.... In fact, on National Coming Out Day, you need to come out for those who either can't or don't feel like they can't come out and be who they are. You need to come out and tell your friends and neighbors that you believe that if two people are in love and fully committed to one another should be able to be legally married, and to have that marriage equally count in both the eyes of the law and society.

So, I'll close with this...

The First United Methodist Church of Los Angeles welcomes you! We welcome you as a full person. You might think there's an additional catch to this...but there's not. Gay isn't wrong. Hating is. And, our lives are far too short to have this kind of hate in it, and it's a shame that in California we have our hate on the books.

I hope to see you on National Coming Out Day!

Some additional links:

Reconciling Ministries Network Blog

HRC: National Coming Out Day


Scary title huh?

I was reading about unemployment levels tonight. Take a look.

Ever wonder how the Unemployment level is actually counted? Here's the question: do you think the unemployment rate is determined by the number of people claiming unemployment? Nope. A survey of about 60K households is completed on a monthly basis.


At the time of the first enumeration of a household, the interviewer prepares a roster of the household members, including their personal characteristics (date of birth, sex, race, Hispanic ethnicity, marital status, educational attainment, veteran status, and so on) and their relationships to the person maintaining the household. This information, relating to all household members 15 years of age and over, is entered by the interviewers into laptop computers; at the end of each day's interviewing, the data collected are transmitted to the Census Bureau's central computer in Washington, D.C. (The labor force measures in the CPS pertain to individuals 16 years and over.) In addition, a portion of the sample is interviewed by phone through three central data collection facilities. (Prior to 1994, the interviews were conducted using a paper questionnaire that had to be mailed in by the interviewers each month.)

Each person is classified according to the activities he or she engaged in during the reference week. Then, the total numbers are "weighted," or adjusted to independent population estimates (based on updated decennial census results). The weighting takes into account the age, sex, race, Hispanic ethnicity, and State of residence of the person, so that these characteristics are reflected in the proper proportions in the final estimates.

A sample is not a total count, and the survey may not produce the same results that would be obtained from interviewing the entire population. But the chances are 90 out of 100 that the monthly estimate of unemployment from the sample is within about 290,000 of the figure obtainable from a total census. Since monthly unemployment totals have ranged between about 7 and 11 million in recent years, the possible error resulting from sampling is not large enough to distort the total unemployment picture.

How the unemployment level is calculated reminds me about a West Wing episode.

Two parts to this: the first being - are you concerned that the unemployment level is determined by interviewing 60K households? The second, and more importantly - I would think the real unemployment level would be terrifying.

Here's why it would be terrifying: if a true unemployment level was identified, the number would have to include stay at home parents, those between 16 and 65 who aren't working for one reason or another, are not generating income, and are no longer looking for work. People who the government would identify as someone NOT in the labor force.

My take on Artwalk (in response to Downtown News)

Everything is changing; Art Walk is no exception! For years it was a kind of grass-roots organization without a formal structure, but with thousands of people coming to the corner of Spring and 5th every second Tuesday Thursday of the month the Art Walk was ready to take a step forward. For quite some time the Artwalk was a joyfully decentralized effort led by gallery owners, with additionally wonderful (and successful) stakeholders stepping up to be supportive and a part of the action.

The only thing was, people had grown frustrated with the problems presented by the crowds and other kinds of problems, and some of those frustrations had gone unresolved for so long, that the BRAND NEW Artwalk Board was blamed for all the OLD problems.

Richard Schave, Kim Cooper and Chinta Cooper came forward to organize a Board of Directors, and it was the Board who led to incorporate the Art Walk as a 501-c-3 non-profit entity. The Downtown L.A. Artwalk as an entity was born on July 8 2009, with a group of community leaders dedicated to resolving the crowd logistics, supporting and promoting the galleries, promoting other local business, and helping to curate public art and performances for the second Tuesday of the month.

People don't know how hard Richard, Kim, and Chinta have been working to create, print and distribute maps, get a logo, get a great website going, and work with LAPD, and other groups to help make ARTWALK great. And, they are doing it all as volunteers for the time being.

Instead of working together, a small group of frustrated people have blamed the new Art Walk board for problems that have been on-going for at least a year and a half.

I say, let's move forward! End the bitterness! Get behind our community and work together so we can have a fun Art Walk that benefits our community. Two examples of great new things that are happening:

Richard got the owners of the Spring Arcade building to open up the arcade between Spring and Broadway for September's Art Walk. There was a band and some performance artists there. At first there were only a few people, but in about forty minutes, the arcade was full of people, and lots of people came from Broadway to Spring. That's the kind of creative, pro-active work that is being done now.

And, Nick Cha Kim's website, up for three years has been updated in the past month or so and it looks great! It's a way for Gallery Row to break out from the once-a-month Art Walk label and get people thinking about visiting the galleries all month long. That just shows how once the Art Walk board came in to handle the once-monthly events, galleries can now focus on themselves.

Are there problems? Of course. But we can only solve them if people work together, instead of just complaining and being bitter.

And let's see how we can get the galleries who now close at 6pm to open up again for all of ART WALK!

Taking it on the chin

From time to time Facebook changes from a happy pink glow of love and joyfulness to a grey no-man's land of discussion.

During the Prop 8 campaign, the political and social beliefs of long-time friends, acquaintances, and professional connections played out on their Facebook walls twitter pages, and blogs. It wasn't until the heat of Prop 8 did I have to teach myself how to "unfriend" or prevent them from contacting me. I did it to just one person, and in retrospect - I kind of wish I hadn't.

In any case, tonight...I posted a link about another tea-party protest and I used a disparaging catch phrase I'd heard on a conservative radio show to describe the event.  Yes - I heard it on a conservative radio was a misstep by the radio personality - as tea-bagging is very different from a tea-party. So, here's what is playing out on my facebook page:

So, there it is.

I can appreciate how Scott is feeling.  I've been perceived for decades as the folky-crazy-lefty-tree-hugging-tofu-snorting-government handout-loving liberal.

In high school I was the punch line for many off hand remarks about how my afterschool activities raised the taxes of those who couldn't afford it.  The moment after graduation, some one told me that I could go out and save all the trees I wanted.

When I started college I was made fun of because I loved the Indigo Girls and Ani Difranco and that I still liked boys.

It gets better.

When I got to Evergreen, while at first a seemingly haven of the super liberal...I was questioned why I would dare to put a Nader poster on my door.  I was asked - why not Clinton?  Hasn't he done well?

Apparently it was wrong to question TANF and the attempt to "end welfare as we know it"

Then...came Pepperdine.

Why would a liberal-loving girl go to a well-known conservative institution?  Well - the weather was nice, I liked the religious component, and I didn't think there would be anything wrong learning about the conservative argument.

I knew that I would be made fun of being a member of the Green Party (and I still am).  Since so many people see the Greens as an illegitimate political force.  I expected my fellow students to be the most relentless - which wasn't the case.  There were two professors in particular who felt they could take additional liberties to do their best to embarrass me and belittle my political and social beliefs.

There were questions about how I could consider baptism and continue to be pro-choice.  Outrageous questions about the limits of government, which seemed irrational.  Of course I would take a moment to consider the argument.  The whole experience forced me to really question my commitment to both my political and social beliefs.

I think that I have good friends who are politically and socially conservative.  IMO, the good conservative is one who came to it on their own.  They aren't registered as a republican just because their parents were, but rather they came to the conclusion on their own.  I have good friends who are politically and socially liberal.  Same thing...People who are confident in their beliefs not because it's how their parents were/are, but believe in their beliefs because they are indeed their beliefs.

Now - just to focus on the government spending protesting...

After September 2001, the left mobilized.  This mobilization was to support peace, to avoid war.  I fully admit there are people who would be very aggressive in "fighting" for peace and "fighting" to avoid war.  I've had friends who have died working for peace.  I know people who have died in uniform - all in the effort to seek peace.  I worry about it all the time, given my brother is in the Navy.

From all of President Bush's decisions to dig the United States deeper into debt, deeper into a very messy and (IMO illegal) war, I take pride that I essentially was protesting years ago against government spending. I was protesting against government spending on war.

Others are taking pride in protesting against government spending on health care, education, and social services.

Here's my promise to the tea-party folks: Protest at the federal building on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays.  The "other" anti-spending folks will take Tuesdays and Thursdays.  However - let's leave the federal buildings along on Saturday and Sundays so that the feds don't have to schedule extra private security on the weekends.

At the end of the day, I hope that Scott and his wife don't "unfriend" me on Facebook.  I like them, they are good people, and we obviously don't agree on a couple of things.  And, today - of all days...we can see this as a joyful and prideful example of the American Democracy.

Can I get an Amen?  (or what-what if you are so inclined)

First Year of Motherhood - Done

At 11:56 p.m. tomorrow night, Alex and I will have been parents for exactly one year. She's a happy and healthy baby girl. Plus...she's been walking for weeks now. The year has flown by (although there have been some very long nights). I will say that I think our secret to success has been the support of all of our friends and family.

So - here's to Iolani's First Birthday! (Party on Sunday!)

Just for Robby Scharf

In response to your article

When we moved to the neighborhood in 2004 we realized that we had practically moved into Rural Los Angeles. Here's why: there's no HOA that covers a large area, the NC was trying to get it's legs underneath it, and the neighborhood is divided by a city council district.

So, the question is how do you stay in the loop?

Want to know when to expect a parade, protest, or community festival? LAPD will 9.9 times out of 10 know WTF is going on. And...even better...LAPD sends out these things called "First Amendment Notifications"
Sign up here:

Want to know about filming in the neighborhood? Sign up for FilmLA's notices. Be warned: Nearly all of the notices come out between 5:10 and 6:30 at night. Sign up using an email address you can access on the evenings and weekends.
Sign up here:

City Council
There are two City Council members who cover most of Downtown. Each have newsletters that you should be interested in:
Huizar and Perry

Finally, DLANC. Your Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council

It will be more email (esp FilmLA) but at least you will be in the know.

A piece of a peace

Holy cow. (Big sigh)

There is a lot going on right now. If you follow twitter or facebook, you can tell that I'm sucked in by everything but keeping my blog up to date on current happenings. Eh, something had to drop.

Iolani's birthday is in two weeks (the 30). If you are reading this, you should considered yourself invited. Please remember to RSVP.

I was thinking about what would it be like if my mind could just automatically blog when something came to mind. I do get these 5 minute stretches where I look down at my feet and I have a moment to blog?

Then someone either calls my name, the phone rings, or the baby is ready for her next step in the day.

All of which I do not mind at all. I enjoy it when Alex asks (or more likely implies the need) for something, or trying to decipher Iolani's grunt. I don't mind it when I'm asked some obscure question about a computer. I usually don't mind when someone asks me where the 7th Street Metro station is (this is usually when we are standing right by the sign).

Oh...I just remembered something.

I don't like it when...

I was strolling with Iolani to Starbucks at 6th and Grant (I keep thinking it's Hope). The door is a little tricky when you have a stroller (not as bad as it could be, but with the is possible). I've got this process for getting into the door, I use one hand to hold the door open, and the other to swing Iolani through the door.

We are half way through the door and a guy asks me if I could get him some food.

Now, this is a difficult question for me. If you know me, you know I'm more likely to blow my paycheck on every needy person between my desk and Starbucks. But (!) at that very moment I'm focused on getting Iolani in the door before my hand gives out.

And, the guy has some how positioned himself between me and the baby.

(Don't people know not to get between parent and child...or suffer their wrath????)

I tell the guy "Hey, back off"

Then I swing the stroller into the store, get Iolani breakfast and myself my double-shot-dry-cap. And I sit there on the verge of tears! What am I so upset about? That I as consumed my drink and Iolani ate her food - there's a guy right outside the store hungry. And, at the same time I'm upset that he had to see that was busy with a tricky door entry.

There. Finally -that is off my chest. it only happened like a month ago.

Central Division Cops give Neighborhood Councilman meaningless ticket

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: General Jeff
Cc: Captain Blake Chow
Sent: Friday, August 7, 2009 1:32:30 PM
Subject: Central Division Cops give Neighborhood Councilman meaningless ticket

August 7, 2009

Deputy Chief Diaz and
Captain Chow,

Yesterday at apprx. 6:25 p.m. in Skid Row, L.A.P.D. officers issued a ticket marked "infraction" to a well-respected community activist for what said officers described as "standing in the street".

The community activist was none other than General Jeff, who sits on the Board of Directors for the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council and heads a positive, grass-roots organization called ISSUES AND SOLUTIONS in the Skid Row community.

The involved officers were Officer Galvez( badge number 37964) and his partner Officer Valenzuela( badge number unknown).

Without any warning, the officers jumped out of their squad car and immediately told General Jeff, who was speaking to his constituients as he usually does, to get up against the wall and they quickly put him into handcuffs along with the two gentlemen he was conversating with. After searching his person and running his license(and finding nothing illegal of course), the officers still continued to keep the handcuffs on all three men. When General Jeff asked, "why are these cuffs still on me?", Officer Galvez replied, "for your safety".

This is the same General Jeff that has worked extensively with Central Division's S.C.I. unit( Safer Cities Initiative) for almost three years, has often spoken highly of L.A.P.D.'s efforts in the community ( e.g. L.A.P.D. versus the Skid Row 3on3 Streetball League and S.L.O. Joseph's "Ladies Night Out" event) and has put his street credibility/reputation on the line over and over again by continuing to suport the department at events such as L.A.P.D.'s National Night Out, which was just held on August 4th on Olvera Street.

When the concept and strategy of S.C.I. is discussed at meetings, officers are always quick to elude to statistics that show that "meaningless tickets" are not issued as widely as it is being rumored and/or reported. Now, General Jeff has no choice but to think otherwise. Is meeting a ticket quota more important than "protecting and serving" a community? What is being served to the community, tickets?

Just last week, General Jeff was helping at the City Attorney's Project HALO Citation Clinc, where citizen's could have their infraction tickets erased in exchange for community service. Now will General Jeff stand in line with them?

What, then, does this do to the communtiy-officer relationships that are necessary to heal this abused area? What message does this send out to the rest of society that truly believe that the L.A.P.D. is doing everything possible to "clean up" this area? Will General Jeff join other activists that are already against the L.A.P.D. and S.C.I.?

Stay tuned...

I get to be proud and snobby all at once!

First, let's think back to all my rants about unruly children at restaurants.

Second, let me tell you what happened at dinner tonight.

Did you read the previous post? Yes...then continue.

The five of us were at dinner at Enterprise Fish Company. Alex, his parents, Iolani and I were all having dinner. Iolani munch on bread while we all waited for dinner. Dinner arrived and Iolani munched on her broccoli and green beans, and clam chowder.

The couple behind us finished their meal, paid for their dinner and got up to leave for the evening. But first they stopped at our table to ask us where we got our delightfully behaved baby.

I must say she has such a great disposition, especially when we go out for dinner. I'm not sharing the secret...but I will confirm it does not involve alcohol or drugs. Well...maybe a little bit of alcohol for Mommy, but definitely not for baby.

So, yes...Iolani is the best child in the whole wide world.

I knew it would happen!

Iolani went into the pool for the first time today. She l o v e d it. She squealed, splashed, and was awesome. If she could talk, she would probably say it was the best day in the whole wide world.

Given that it was a beautifully warm Sunday afternoon, I knew there would be a bunch of people up there sunbathing. So, we made it a point to set up without using a seat. I didn't think we would be up there for more than 20 minutes.

We we arrived - there was not a seat available. The whole roof was filled with people sunbathing. Iolani hit the pool, and one by one...people started leaving! I didn't want them to leave, and it didn't matter to me if they stayed or left. But, in the back of my mind I had a feeling of "suck it people!!" Here's my kid, she's loving the pool and you can't take it! :-)

Usually I hate to go up to the pool because of my own insecurities of being in a swimsuit. But, Iolani's have to see how excited and happy she was... Maybe I'll put on my swimsuit sometime this week and head up there again.

So, here's to my daughter who's helping my self-confidence and helping me to defeat my own preoccupied thoughts about my swimsuit body.

It is almost time for a PARTY!

Alex and I have started planing Iolani's birthday party. It will be the same day as her Baptism! If you'd like to join us, email me at

Getting the Artwork Out

When we moved over from Pacific Electric to SB Manhattan, Alex and I made the decision to not put anything up on the walls. We anticipated that we would be moving once the lease was up. To make the move easier, we just kept our artwork boxed up.

Tonight Alex was able to get the artwork up!

Happy July 4th

I have an opportunity to blog tonight because Iolani wants to sleep a lot today. Not taking it for granted.

So - as you know we are on the move again. It was one year ago we picked up the keys to the SB Manhattan. This move is bitter sweet for a couple of reasons. The first being - we are moving out of the Historic Core. The second - we are leaving the apartment we spent our last two months of a short pregnancy, and the first 10 months of Iolani's life.

I >almost< tear up thinking about it. Almost. She had her first bath here. Her first two teeth (and maybe the third one is starting to poke out) were here. She ate her first The first time she laughed, was here.

Okay - I >might be< tearing up now. Just a little sentimental. I always get like this when we move. LOL

When we left our two bedroom apartment on Amherst I teared up. It was our first apartment together. And, we were leaving the Westside for the great unknown of Downtown.

When we left Santee Court, I cried because I loved the kitchen. We had a great housewarming, and it was our first loft.

When we left Pacific Electric, I cried because I knew it was the end of our domestic-coupledom and entry into family life. Plus, I was full of hormones...I cried when I thought one of the Dodgers poo-pooed the hitting gnome.

In any case, the departure from SB is similarly sentimental. Besides leaving the building, we are also leaving the Historic Core. I won't be able to run across the street for Drumsticks anymore. Iolani and I won't have Raw Materials to quicky walk to. Iolani won't have easy access to Wonton anymore. :-(

I always felt like this was a neighborhood I was a part of. I like taking a walk and running into people and people, and more people...all people I need to talk to. Weenez won't be so close. :-( I think between Weenez and the Drumstick ice cream...that's where most of the 70 pounds gained during the pregnancy came from.

In any case, I'm sure the Financial District has a lot of offer. The building we are moving into seems quite friendly. I figure once we get everyone settled, we'll have the house warming.

And then we need to get to planning ... da.da.da.daaaa.... the birthday/baptism party for Miss Iolani Brideau.

I need to get going. We need to change over the internet for the new place.

General and O.G. Save Skid Row...again!

From: General Jeff
Sent: Monday, June 22, 2009 1:15:52 AM
Subject: Historic Street Repaving in Skid Row

June 22, 2009

To all,

On behalf of the Skid Row community I would like to publicly thank Councilmember Jan Perry and her staff for following through on her commitment to support our "Operation Facelift" project in Skid Row.

"Operation Facelift" is a grass-roots community clean-up campaign that includes trash pick-up and mural painting, among other components. It was created by General Jeff of ISSUES AND SOLUTIONS and "O.G." of O.G.'s-N-Service and executed by the Skid Row Brigade and the Homeless Coalition. In July of 2008, we contacted Councilmember Perry's office and requested a street repaving for San Julian street, which many claim to be the "ground zero" of Skid Row because of it's common usage by various media outlets to portray the negative side of Skid Row. Now with an image-changing makeover of clean streets, painted walls and new housing construction, Skid Row is also in the process of an upgrade that allows it to attempt to keep up with the rest of Downtown.

Also, I would like to publicly thank the city agencies that were responsible for handling an incident related to the street repaving on Sunday morning. Both the Bureau of Street Services and Central Division L.A.P.D. were swift and professional with their collective efforts as an unidentified organization that claimed to be working with the V.O.A. took it upon themselves to remove the street closure barricade at the southern end of the intersection at San Julian and 6th street so that they could drive their vehicles to the front of the V.O.A. Drop-In Center and begin to set up for a homeless feeding even though the street was not yet dry.

Thus the street suffered from the weight of their vehicles and not only tire tracks were made, but what would have been permanent damage to the road. Once Central Division was notified, Officers Garcia and Guido (and an unknown supervisor) arrived quickly on the scene. Shortly thereafter, Kirk Bible of Street Services and his supervisor Nick Barragan also arrived.

After various huddles, the unknown group( who claimed to have a street clousure permit for the same day) was instructed to not have any more vehicles proceed on the fresh asphalt even though they had more trucks to come as they planned to set up tables and chairs and feed almost 300 homeless people in the street. Ultimately, Street Services decided to avoid the confusion and schedule another repaving of the whole street again. And then the feeding plans continued. Hopefully the repaving won't come out of the budget to repave other Skid Row streets.

Nevertheless, as a community, once the street is finally repaved correctly, we will continue to see more progress thanks to all the aforementioned parties. Hopefully then, the media will start to show the positive side of Skid Row!


General Jeff

Board of Directors
Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council

Sunday night and...

It is Sunday night at the baby is O . U. T. out.

For the last two months she's been waking up at 2 a.m. every couple of nights. At first I was thinking it was because he was mid-growth spurt and needed more food. Next - I thought maybe it was teething. Finally, I thought it was just that she missed us all day and figured that 2 a.m. would be the best time to hang out with us.

Then...I got to thinking...every time I went to go change her she diaper was cold. Late last week it dawned on me...she's waking up because she's cold!

To test this theory I covered her with her light and fleece blankets. Surprise! She slept through the whole night. From 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. It was awesome!

But guess how bad I feel!

We found it

Let us take a moment to remember the past:

My friends, it is time to move again. Last year's move to SB Manhattan was during a pregnancy. Always fun. Who can forget the visions of a pregnant woman walking up 6th street with a set of pots and pans in a grocery cart.

This year, adding to the fun and games...a BABY! Iolani's first move!

This move is bittersweet. We need more space, but this is the place where we nested, brought her home from the hospital, she got her first and second tooth. This is where she learned to crawl, fall, spit up, and make a slip and slide out of urine.

Okay, the slip and slide thing was my fault for letting her crawl around without a diaper for two minutes.

The only reason why we are moving is because we more space. We've liked it here.

Our next stop is the Pegasus. Here's our new place.

Anyone want to help us pack? I am finding that we have a couple of extra things in our kitchen. If you are around while I'm packing, you will probably be more likely to get this stuff. Already I know - we have extra travel mugs, two pitchers (not the baseball kind), and a george foreman grill - which we do not use. I don't care what Alex says...that thing has got to go. I make better tuna sandwiches without it.

The magic bullet...we keep.

And, of girl clothes...those are for the taking.

I was wondering

First off...can I just say that my daughter is beautiful. She's the gorgeous of gorgeous babies. I'm not biased, I'm just saying - my little girl is amazingly beautiful and smart.

That said, I was wondering...why is it when people (complete strangers) come up to us and start off by saying "Oh, your daughter is soooooooooooooooooooo pretty" why do they then ask "how old is she?"

Is it they are concerned that she will only be this beautiful at this age? Do they think that if she was one or two months younger she might grow to be even more beautiful? Or, maybe they are thinking she's going to grow out of her beautifulness? I dunno.

The Cargo Bag

Last weekend Alex was poked by the stroller bag. One of the little footies had come off, and was exposing the bottom of a screw. I removed the part, and then went online to order a new cargo bag.

Before I ordered the bag, I thought to email Orbit and let them know why I was ordering a new bag.

And, here’s the reply:

Hello Ginny,

Thank you for getting in touch with us and for choosing Orbit Baby. I am so sorry to hear about your Cargo Pod and would be happy to have a new one sent to you. Please just provide me with the color. Also, is the address below fine to use?

We appreciate your patience.


Orbit Baby

This is not the only reason why this stroller is awesome. A small part of the stroller came apart, and Orbit hopped right on it to get it fixed. They could have just send a replacement screw and footie and I would have fixed it myself…but noooooo. ☺ They send a replacement bag.

Orbit’s customer service…ah….ah….ah…. Orbit has always had an upbeat tone. I’ve never had someone in a bad mood pick up the phone. Their customer service is just like their product: soothing and relaxing, and without question – the best out there.

I remember all the guilt I felt about getting this stroller. Alex and I agonized about it, but we knew that whatever stroller we ended up getting, we would spend a great deal of time with it. We knew we would be on the train, the sidewalk, car trips, in grocery stores and art galleries.

We love the fact is folds up small, quick, and light. Now that Iolani is eating messy foods, we love that we can quickly wash and wipe it.

I was looking at the stroller last night, thinking back to the first time we put Iolani in it. The stroller base has a couple of nicks and scratches, but overall – it has far exceeded our expectations.

I love how it has grown with Iolani. Once we could get her out of the infant seat and into the toddler seat, we didn’t have to get used to a whole new stroller. The cargo bag was an extension of the changing table and kitchen sink, and as she’s grown the cargo bag remains and her collection of food and diapers has gotten larger.

Occasionally people will ask us about the stroller. Off the bat I tell them it’s worth every penny. We get to show the key features: the Swivel (!!!), the removable arm, how it reclines, and the cargo bag. The swivel is the most admired feature.

I’ll just say one more thing before I close this blog entry.

I’ve never had stroller envy. Our stroller could kick your stroller’s ass any day.

Pacifier Down!

We were heading back to the house tonight, after a long afternoon of shopping. Alex was pushing the stroller, I carried Iolani in the ergo. Iolani was a little fussy, but it wasn't a big deal.

Just as the elevator closed, Iolani spits out her pacifier. She's getting really good at spitting it out - she's getting some horizontal action with it.

The pacifier landed on the floor of the elevator, at the door of the elevator. As the door closed, I saw it in slow motion...falling through the cracks... to the bottom of the elevator shaft. The next time someone will see it? Who knows?

It was probably one of the coolest things I've ever seen.

I am easily entertained.

Now I remember what I was going to say…

Last week I was this short of going out of my mind because I was thinking about one of the pictures I took that I really wanted to blog about. I was searching for it over the weekend and all I kept visualizing were these:

This was not the one I was ultimately thinking of…

It was THIS ONE!

This is across the street from the Alexis Hotel in Seattle. (The hotel was very baby friendly... most importantly the crib was clean!) It does not belong to the Hotel, and there was no way for us to access it. Still…What a great idea!

Turn the top floor of a parking garage into a playground!

We also saw a playground inserted on the corner of a very busy downtown intersection by the federal courthouse. I am growing jealous of the how ingenious Seattle is in regards to fitting play space in the most interesting locations.

I’m sure the insurance on this would be a bit insane, but play space is play space. There’s a parking garage on Spring Street that would be a great potential location for something like this.

And, to state the obvious…in Los Angeles we would need sunshades and maybe even those awesome little sprayer things they have all over Burbank.

Do you have a garage on your block this would work on?

What would your rooftop playground have on it?

It is that time of year

Of course, since we are done with all the wedding and honeymoon plans, it's time for something else.

Yes, my is time to move again!

Our next move is a little more complicated than the previous ones.

From PE to Here
From Santee Court to PE

(and I didn't blog when we moved from West LA to Downtown)

We'd like to move to a two-bedroom apartment (or loft) and pay less than $2200 a month. We only need one parking space. It would be great if the unit included a washer/dryer. And, it must must must be located Downtown.

Where would you like us to live?

On a honeymoon

Alex and I were married on Saturday.

We are on our honeymoon.

Don't expect too many updates. Iolani slobbered all over my iPhone and it shorted out.

If that wasn't divine intervention I don't know what would be.

Don't pay attention to the guy in the Red truck trying to kill his dog

I realize the title of this entry is a bit jarring, but eh...

I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from work.. On my way back to the car I spotted a truck with a dog inside. Being that it was 98 degrees outside, I could only imagine what the temperature was inside the cab of the truck.

Did you know that it is illegal to keep your dog in the car?

With my groceries in hand, I head back into the store and let a checker know two things: 1) it is illegal to keep a dog locked up in the car, 2) there was a red Toyota Tacoma in their parking lot, with a dog inside.

The checker gave me a blank look.
I asked if he could make the announcement over the intercom.
The checker said they couldn’t make an announcement like that.

I shrugged my shoulders and headed back to my car.

I was in luck! The owner was just getting back to his truck.

There was a split second I thought to keep it all to myself. But, if you know me, your business is my business.

So, I say to the guy, in my best innocent little girl voice: “excuse me sir, but did you know that in California it is illegal to lock your dog in the car?”

I was hoping he would reply: “thanks” and just go on with his day.

Instead he looked at me, and while he was getting into his truck he says: “Mind your own business lady”

Eh…at least I spoke up for the dog.

Two things:

1) If I left Iolani in the car (and I wouldn’t even think of doing this), everyone and their great uncle would no only break the window to get her out, but someone would also call the police and have me arrested.
2) I would like to think this guy was embarrassed about the whole thing. I mean, he left his dog in the car, and it was 98 degrees outside. Do you think his friends know he left the dog in the car, subjecting it to 100+ degrees? What if this was the family dog, and it died…would he tell the kids that the dog died because he left the dog in the car while he was buying ice cream?

On the other hand, I was thinking he could have come up with a much better line. He could have said – I didn’t know about the law, or the “I was wrong” line. This was all he could come up with? “Mind Your Own Business Lady?”

If I was minding my own business, do you think I still wouldn’t feel badly for this poor dog?

OMG - when's it going to slow down?

Time is flying by. In high school I used to think the school days were sooooooooo long, and I used to wish that time would pass more quickly. I so miss those days. I don't miss high school, just those moments when I'd look at the second hand and watch it do a little bounce as it moved forward.

Iolani is full on crawling. We've had to redo the layout of our living room, and hide the booze. In order to protect Iolani from ... well... EVERYTHING, we purchased a larger than normal playpen. It's called a Joovy. It's awesome.

And, I've just realized I'm very tired. All I can think to say is "It's awesome"

On the wedding front, we are sprinting to the finish. This Saturday is the Bachelor/Bachelorette party. We had to change the time due to babysitting challenging.

Tuesday I pick up the dress.

Friday, all hell breaks loose as Ginger comes to down, and Lindsey, Ginger, and I get our nails done.

Next Saturday...Wedding day. I've already turned in the invite list for the reception, but if you really want to know about the wedding, click here.

I won!

Thanks to BlogDowntown for the contest, and thanks to Goldenvoice for the tickets! I know we can find someone to sit (rather play and rough house) with Iolani!

Citywide Zero Waste Conference Coming Up

You can visit the project website by clicking here.

Central City New Community Plan Status

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Nicholas Maricich"
Date: March 13, 2009 6:36:11 PM PDT
To: "Nicholas Maricich"
Subject: Central City New Community Plan Status / Upcoming Planning Workshop on proposed Citywide Zoning Tools

Central City Stakeholders,

It has been awhile since many of you have heard from us, but I wanted let you know that the New Community Plan for Central City is still moving forward with the feedback that we received during our community outreach meetings in 2008. I was recently reassigned to work on the community plan update, along with Patricia Diefenderfer, who many of you already know. We have compiled the information you provided regarding land use issues and opportunities that should be addressed in Downtown Los Angeles, and will be posting a summary to our website in the next few weeks. Also, we are planning on holding another round of community meetings in the next couple of months, to discuss the issues we have heard thus far and to brainstorm potential community plan policies and solutions. We will be in touch in the next few weeks to let you know when the website has been updated and when we have scheduled the next round of meetings.

In the meantime, the City Planning Department would like to invite you to a citywide Public Workshop concerning proposed Zoning Code amendments to create 3 new Zoning tools, which are described in the attached flyer. The proposed tools are concerned primarily with creating opportunities to improve the City's commercial corridors. If the enabling language is adopted, the tools would not change any existing Zoning on parcels in the City at this time. Any future implementation or application of these tools to individual parcels would occur through the public community planning process.

The workshop will be held:

March 19, 2009, 5-7 PM
Los Angeles City Hall, Rm 1010
200 N. Spring Street, 90012

Please forward this message to any other interested parties, and I look forward to meeting with you in the coming months.


Nicholas P. Maricich, City Planning Associate
Central City Community Plan Program
Community Planning Bureau
Department of City Planning, City of Los Angeles
City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street, Suite 667
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: 213.978.2666
Fax: 213.978.1477

The link to the file is here.

Skid Row Needs Your Coupon

Prevailing upon you (again) but it's easy!Share
Sat 12:26pm
Hey everyone- this is an e-mail I'm sending this am to ask for everyone's help to supply low-income neighbors of mine with coupons for HDTV converter coupons. Can you please help too?

Hi friends & family!
First, let me say that yes, this is really me- i know it's ironic, given that mostly all of you know I've barely ever owned a TV in my life! Second- sorry for the massive bulk e-mail. But, I'm writing to prevail upon you to help. And it's something that is really, really easy!

I found out at last week's Downtown LA Neighborhood Council Board meeting that, as the rest of you probably already knew, by June 12, 2009, (I guess this was postponed from an original date of February 17th) all television stations in the US will stop analog broadcasts. Digital broadcasting is supposed to provide a clearer picture and more programming options and free up airwaves for use by emergency responders. Because of this, everyone in the US who has an Analog TV(s) is eligible to apply for up to 2 coupons, worth $40 each, for a discount on the purchase of the converter box that will be necessary to use those TV's after the conversion is complete.

Only there's a hitch. Unfortunately, for some reason, people who reside in SRO's ("Single Room Occupancy" dwellings) according to the rules, are not eligible to apply for the coupons. My understanding is that it has something to do with the fact that an SRO has some official zoning or regulatory designation as a hotel- but the fact is, in LA, the city with the whole country's LARGEST homeless population, SRO's are both transitional housing solutions for those who've been homeless, and permanent housing for very low-income people. So they are the folks who are least likely to have the disposable income to pay full price (about $60) for the converter boxes.

A solution proposed by the chair of our Social Services committee was to create a "pool of coupons" which DLANC could then give out to persons who apply to us and are verified to live in an SRO. So last week, I applied for my 2 coupons- which I will donate to the pool (who knows if I have an analog TV?? I only watch movies on it! :^) And I'd like to ask you to apply for your coupons, even if you have cable, or have HD-ready televisions, and send them either directly to me- if you have my mailing address, or send them to my attention at DLANC: PO BOX 13096, Los Angeles, CA 90013-0096

If you prefer not to send them here- then I encourage you to apply for the coupons, and find out who in your community is coordinating a similar effort. You can apply for the coupons at: It's a simple form to fill out (although if you live downtown, as I do, you may find that your address isn't eligible! I had to send an appeal saying that in fact, I DO live in a residential building!) And the waiting list is long- I applied last week, and the site said that they expected to mail my coupons (if my appeal succeeds) in May sometime. So I will bother you again in May with a reminder about mailing them.

I really appreciate it- and would appreciate it even more if you would spread the word, and ask for your friends and family to particpate too. I hope we can get so many coupons that we have enough for LA residents and can use the pool for other cities too!!! :^) Thanks very much

Let love rule.

and ps, i'm going to post this same appeal to my facebook & myspace pages, so please forgive me if you're innundated. but please do DO THIS! :^)

Dawn Nolan is your elected representative on the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, and can be reached via email at

Can I help you to your car?

I had been looking forward to grocery shopping the whole day. My life isn’t boring, meaning I didn’t see a visit to the grocery store at my Friday night excitement…however I find the grocery store to be relaxing. Most of the time.

I used to work at a grocery store. In high school I was a “courtesy clerk” aka a bagger. I bagged groceries at Stock Market. And, not to brag or anything, but our store rocked. The front end manager was a stickler for the details, however our baggers could bag like no ones business. We were fast, efficient, and never squashed eggs or bread.

You could say “It’s only groceries” right now, but how else would you want YOUR groceries.

Another thing, did you grab the wrong cup-a-noodle? Did you forget your Chips Ahoy Chewy Cookies? No problem, we could run back and grab them for you in a heart beat. We knew the store like it was something we had to sneak into after curfew. We knew the sqeaks, sqeals, turns, and inch of the store.

Where did that go?

Tonight at the store, I turned around to get our ½ gallon of non-fat organic milk, and someone took my canvas bags. Some one snatched our 8 canvas bags out of my cart, while Iolani sat there, and turned to get milk. What is with people?

I didn’t see anyone do it, and when I noticed they were gone, no one said a thing. I was surrounded by people, and yet no one thought to say “Oh, hey…I don’t think those canvas bags belong to you” or even better “Hey lady, someone just stole your canvas bags”

And, you know if I saw someone stealing the canvas bags I would have scooped up Iolani with one hand, chased down the villian, and snatched my bags with the other hand. You know by now I am not above causing a scene to get my stuff back.

Again, I am not above causing a scene to get my stuff back. (There’s another story here, but I have to save it for later.)

Any way, so I get to the check out. I say to the clerk – someone lifted my canvas bags while I was in the check out aisle. Can you check to see if maybe someone turned them in. And, the checker stared at me and said “Oh, you are a mother now, you’ll find you forget everything, and leave everything behind”

My reply: “No, someone took the bags from my grocery cart as I was getting milk”

Her reply: “Sorry”

Sorry is not what I was looking for. I was looking for someone to go and check behind the counter at the service desk to see if MAYBE the conscious of the person who took my glorious collection of canvas bags got the best of them.

But, no we couldn’t even get that far.

It gets better.

When I was a bagger you wanted to help people get out to their car. It was a break from bagging, a chance to get outside away from the beeps, intercom, and the other sounds that comes with the grocery store. The baggers at the Vons on Glendale Boulevard always ask if you need help to your car.

However, at the Downtown Ralphs NEVER have I been asked if I need help to get my groceries to the car. I figure if I have spent over $50 in groceries, I could use a hand getting out to the car. Because it isn’t just getting to the car, it’s getting the groceries to the car. And, it’s not just getting the groceries to the car – it’s confirm the bagging job.

Which brings me to rant item #3 – my groceries were bagged like crap not to my liking. So here it is -

Hey, you know I know the economy sucks, and bagging groceries may not be your ultimate career choice, and you might even just be bagging groceries to make ends meet. I’ve been there…but these are not your groceries – these are my groceries. And, if that doesn’t help you take a little bit of pride in your work, consider these your groceries, and bag accordingly.

When I got to the car I was very miffed about the 1) loss of our canvas bags, 2) lack of response by the checker, 3) bagged groceries getting tossed into the cart, and 4) no one seemed interested in assisting me to the car.

Is the Ralphs just too busy for downtowners? We need a second store. Vons has an extensive line of Organic foods, and maybe the Vons on Glendale Boulevard can offer up their store manager to come show people how it’s done.

Say it with me people:

Can I help you to your car?

Go clean up South Park!

From: "Mike Pfeiffer"
Date: March 10, 2009 2:20:17 PM PDT
To: "Marie Kardiban" <>
Subject: SPSG: March 21 Community Clean Up

Attention all South Park commercial and residential property owners, community stakeholders, residents and employees:

You are invited to the next Community Cleanup on Saturday, March 21st! We will be cleaning and painting out graffiti in the area not serviced by a BID, from Olive Street east to Broadway, from 9thStreet south to the Santa Monica (10) Freeway.

Meet at the parking lot adjacent to the Mayan Theatre at 7:30 am and the day will go as follows:

7:30 am – Welcome with coffee and donuts
8:00 am – Teams head out to assigned areas
11:30 am – Teams return to meeting location
12:00 pm – Lunch to be provided with hot dogs, chips, and soft drinks. Departure.

Please let us know that you are coming. Use the attached flyer to confirm your attendance so we can assure that we have enough tools, food, supplies, and drinks for everyone.

Feel free to send on the attached flyer to fellow South Park residents or employees, or photocopy and distribute this flyer to your business and resident neighbors in South Park.

We look forward to seeing you all, on Saturday, March 21, for this very special clean up day.

Mike Pfeiffer
South Park Stakeholders Group
South Park BID
(213) 612-3612

It has been a long week.

Another church member has passed away. His name was Jesse Sabado. His wife, Magdalena, passed away almost a year ago. They had been married for an eternity. They had a couple of kids. But, the real story is how important the church was to their life. Jesse was a WWII Filipino Vet, married Magdalena, and then later in life came to Los Angeles. The challenge was that he came here first, and then years later Magdalena followed him. Then, some of the kids soon followed.

Jesse did a lot for our church. Besides purchasing the Upper Room, Jesse was often the first to come help set up the multipurpose room, bring ice cream, bring down food. He also enjoyed his email. Jesse wouldn’t forward a lot of things, but what he did forward was good reading.

He also led the adult bible study. I know there is one member of our congregation who is taking Jesse’s passing very hard. They have been in bible study for years, and may have been the one other person in this world who Jesse would truly relate to. I know that I can’t fill Jesse’s void, but for the sake of this member of the congregation – I wish that I could.

So, that’s about it for the “downer” portion of this blog entry.

The upside of this week….

1) Iolani is rolling over and is aggressively crawling backwards. She isn’t really crawling as she is scooting. It is just a matter of time before she figures out the forward motions.

2) The e-waste drive was today. Thanks to everyone who brought their junk. I heard we filled SIX pallets of stuff. The hauler said we did above average. I think our Rotary club will want to make this an annual event.

3) Work is busy

4) I figured out what is wrong with the washing machine…the water pressure is too low so it doesn’t fill correctly. It is a bit frustrating because I had been made to feel like I’m not operating the machine correctly…yet I think between the two other people and myself…I’m the only one who’s read the owners manual. But, how does one go about improving water pressure in a 15 story building?

That’s all I can think to write right now. I’m exhausted. Alex is exhausted, and the baby is sound asleep…for now.

Again, thanks to everyone who disposed of their electronic waste legally today. The money raised from today’s event will be going to Rotary International as they continue their efforts to eradicate polio world wide.

Night night….

Did you see this?

Begin forwarded message:

From: BLS News Service
Date: February 6, 2009 5:41:45 AM PST
Subject: Commissioner's Statement on the Employment Situation News Release
Reply-To: BLS News Service

The latest Commissioner's Statement on the Employment Situation ( was issued today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The text is below.

Advance copies of this statement are made available to the press under lock-up conditions with the explicit understanding that the data are embargoed until 8:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Statement of
Keith Hall
Bureau of Labor Statistics

before the
Joint Economic Committee

Friday, February 6, 2009

Madam Chair and Members of the Committee:

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the employment and unemployment data we released this morning.

The labor market continued to weaken dramatically in January. Total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 598,000, and the unemployment rate rose from 7.2 to 7.6 percent. January's sharp drop in employment brings job losses to 3.6 million since the start of the recession in December 2007 (as determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research). About half of the decline occurred in the past 3 months. Job losses in January were large and widespread across the major industry sectors.

Manufacturing employment fell by 207,000 over the month, bringing the job loss in this industry to 1.1 million since the start of the recession. Nearly half of the loss occurred in the past 3 months. In January, employment declines were spread throughout the sector but were especially large in fabricated metal products (-37,000), motor vehicles and parts (-31,000), and machinery (-22,000).

Construction shed 111,000 jobs over the month. The pace of job loss in this sector has accelerated in recent months. Employment has declined by 781,000 since the beginning of the recession, with about 40 percent of the decrease occurring in the past 3 months.

In January, job losses continued throughout most of the service-providing sector. Since the start of the recession, this sector has lost 1.8 million jobs, with over half of the decline occurring in the past 3 months. Employment in temporary help agencies fell by 76,000 in January and has declined by 605,000 since December 2007. Other large over-the-month job losses occurred in retail trade (-45,000), transportation and warehousing (-44,000), financial activities (-42,000), wholesale trade (-31,000), and professional and technical services (-29,000).

Private education and health care added jobs in January. Employment in health care was up by 19,000 over the month compared with an average of 30,000 a month in 2008.

Average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory workers in the private sector rose by 5 cents, or 0.3 percent, in January. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.9 percent. From December 2007 to December 2008, the seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) fell by 0.7 percent.

Measures from our household survey also reflected the weak labor market conditions in January. The unemployment rate rose from 7.2 to 7.6 percent, bringing the total number of unemployed persons to 11.6 million. Since December 2007, the rate has risen by 2.7 percentage points, with the increase widespread across demographic groups.

In January, the employment-population ratio dropped to 60.5 percent, 2.2 percentage points lower than at the beginning of the recession. This is the lowest level since May 1986. The labor force participation rate, at 65.5 percent in January, has edged down in recent months.

This morning, on our Web site, the Bureau of Labor Statistics began publishing monthly estimates of the employment status of persons with a disability. In January, the unemployment rate for these persons was 13.2 percent, compared with a rate of 8.3 percent for persons with no disability (not seasonally adjusted). The employment-population ratio for persons with a disability was 20.0 percent, compared with 65.0 percent for those with no disability. The collection of these important data is sponsored by the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy.

Before closing, I would note there were routine annual adjustments to the data from our two surveys. The establishment survey data released today reflect the incorporation of annual benchmark revisions. Each year, we re-anchor our sample-based survey estimates to full universe counts of employment, primarily derived from administrative records of the unemployment insurance tax system. Household survey data for January reflect updated population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Further information about the impact of these adjustments is contained in our news release and on our Web site.

Summarizing labor market developments for January, nonfarm payroll employment fell by 598,000, and the unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, job losses have totaled 3.6 million, with about half of the decrease occurring in the last 3 months.

My colleagues and I now would be glad to answer your questions.

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