Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Welcome to the Chinese monkey house

Okay, I told you. I'm not Tibetan. I'm a hot Chinese chick okay? I speak, write perfect Chinese and know all about the community here. These months have stressed the hell out of me. It just brings out all the bigots around me. Yeah, the presidential election and Proposition 8.

Wanna know about how the ethnic minority's media in Southern California are like? Well, yeah, fuck it, you know who I'm talking about, the FOBs, Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, all the way to Diamond Bar or whatever the China in the Far East on the 10 Fwy. Even if you don't have cable, you can still watch LA18.6 just from digital signal starting this year. Yes, that station with some mid-aged yellow trash woman under 1-inch-thick heavy makeup, 90s fashion and lots of dated accessories all over, interviewing some jackasses from whatever Protect Marriage or unknown graduate school, talking about gay marriage. It's a daily show called "LA Living". Yes, that's the channel, KSCI. You got it. It's like a fucking Chinese version of Fox TV, only even stupider. Write a message to complain here.

Or, look at that church woman who also hosts a daily show on the Chinese radio, one time, about "counseling gay people". Um, excuse me? How dare you bitch?! Every evening, you can mistake AM 1430 for FM 99.5. It's the same heterosexist Christian preaching shit on air. What time is it now? 7PM? Yeah, here we go.

I think Chinese people in L.A. are facing a big crisis: the mainstream Chinese media serving 5-6 million Chinese Californians here are monopolized by bigots. I sometimes read / listen to the news done by the local Chinese media. Oh my holy moly, that's just awful journalism. I don't know what we can do with it when each year, thousands of immigrants from Asia, who don't speak English well enough to understand other media, settle down in Southern California and thought what these bigots preached about was true. I'm from Asia but none of the people I knew from school would say offensive stuff like "counseling the gays." My home was more westernized, not as tainted. So I was stunned, surprised, bothered and I'm now very confused. I hate stereotypes and all but I still feel I have actually lost touch with "my people". But really, who are "my people"? You tell me if you know who "your people" are. Do you really know? Who are Chinese and who are whatever names you call yourself? I have to admit I feel very embarrassed to just think of the idea that I might be associated to a big ethnic group like these FOBs. Is anybody just as ashamed as I? I need a hug.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

No lawyers for the disabled on Skid Row

From: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/los_angeles_metro/la-me-mayor16-2008oct16,0,6066295.story?track=rss
From the Los Angeles Times

Villaraigosa vetoes contract for legal help in skid row lawsuit
In only the fourth veto of his career, mayor says he would prefer to spend the money addressing issues instead of paying attorneys.
By Phil Willon
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

October 16, 2008

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has vetoed a $96,000 contract for outside legal help to defend the city against allegations that it discriminates against the disabled on skid row. It marks only the fourth veto the mayor has issued since taking office in 2005.

Villaraigosa, in an announcement released Wednesday, said that paying an outside law firm was unnecessary because the city has ample expertise, both legal and otherwise, on issues related to the Americans With Disabilities Act, which is at the heart of the class-action federal lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that the city violated the rights of the disabled by not providing adequate safety measures for them on sidewalks, crosswalks and traffic signals on skid row.

In his veto message to the City Council, the mayor said the outside legal expense was "contrary to our shared principles of fiscal prudence." Villaraigosa warned Saturday that the city could face a budget shortfall of up to $400 million.

The mayor recommended reviewing the allegations in the lawsuit to see if any have merit and suggested that, if they do, he would rather see the city spend its money addressing those concerns than paying outside attorneys.

The veto led to a sharp response from City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo, who had requested the contract for outside legal counsel. The council had unanimously approved Delgadillo's request earlier this month.

In a letter to the council Wednesday, Delgadillo said he had been unaware that the mayor had planned to devote a "significant investment of resources" to bring the city into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

"In taking this action, the mayor suggested that we should spend taxpayer dollars to fix the underlying problem instead of legal costs to defend it. I couldn't agree more," Delgadillo said.

In response, Villaraigosa spokesman Matt Szabo said: "We're glad the city attorney agrees with the mayor's veto of his own proposal, because the City Council should have had the chance to consider a smart settlement long before being asked to approve yet another expensive contract for outside counsel."

Because of the mayor's veto, the city attorney added that his office has requested a settlement proposal from the plaintiffs' attorneys, which he will take before the council for consideration. If the council agrees to the settlement, there will be no need to hire outside attorneys, he said.

Of the mayor's four vetoes, three have related to recommendations from the city attorney. The most controversial dealt with a $2.7-million settlement agreement with an African American firefighter, Tennie Pierce, who contended that he was the victim of racial harassment. The city ultimately agreed to settle the case for nearly $1.5 million.

None of Villaraigosa's vetoes have been overridden by the council.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Downtown built by Arabs and Koreans

We the residents are all corporeal witnesses of globalization's influence on Downtown in this century...

From: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/los_angeles_metro/la-me-grand15-2008oct15,0,3982916.story?track=rss

From the Los Angeles Times

Korean firm to invest $100 million in Grand Avenue project

The Honua Group is the second foreign investor to inject funds into the $2-billion planned downtown development. The project has been stalled by financial troubles.

By Cara Mia DiMassa
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 15, 2008

The developer of the massive Grand Avenue project in downtown Los Angeles said Tuesday that it had secured an additional financial partner for the long-delayed project.

The Korean investment firm Honua Group will invest $100 million in capital funds in the first phase of the project, which has been subjected to a series of delays as the credit market has tightened.

If the project does not secure a construction loan and break ground in February, the developer, Related Cos., must pay a penalty to the city and county, which own the land where the project would be built.

The investment firm is the second foreign group to invest in the public-private development. A fund controlled by Dubai's royal family put $100 million into the project earlier.

The new investor must be approved by the Community Redevelopment Agency, the county Board of Supervisors and the joint city-county board overseeing the project.


Background story:

From: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/los_angeles_metro/la-me-oldgrand,0,5137640.story

From the Los Angeles Times
Grand Avenue project passes go
City and county OK the $2.05-billion plan to reshape downtown L.A.
By Cara Mia DiMassa and Jack Leonard
Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

February 14, 2007

Despite criticism about tax breaks and land giveaways, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles City Council gave final approvals Tuesday to a sprawling mini-city atop Bunker Hill that will alter L.A.'s skyline and set a course for future development in downtown.

Elected officials and other backers of the Grand Avenue project described the vote as a turning point for Los Angeles, whose civic leaders have tried for decades without success to establish a central cultural hub downtown that would draw people from throughout the region.

"This is a historic day for Los Angeles. It changes the entire complexion of the center of our city," said civic booster Eli Broad, who is spearheading the development.

The $2.05-billion Grand Avenue project would be the largest single development in downtown history, and would be built almost entirely on public land that would be leased for 99 years to mega-developer the Related Cos. It has few if any equals in the region, in part because of the complexity and scope of the private-public partnership.

The project also has emerged as Los Angeles' most ambitious effort to create dense, high-rise residential developments next to rail lines, offices, cultural attractions and shopping.

Though some consider the project a model for "smart growth" aimed at encouraging people to walk and use mass transit rather than drive, others see it as a tax giveaway that is not in the interests of local government. Critics complain that Related is essentially getting a double subsidy: The city and county are leasing the developer public land for a profit-making business at the same time that the city is granting breaks on future hotel and parking taxes.

They also question whether the project would be the regional magnet its backers hope.

Both the council and board voted Tuesday, in part to demonstrate their lock-step support for the project. The City Council approved the deal 13 to 0, with Councilman Ed Reyes absent. The supervisors approved the project 4 to 1, with Mike Antonovich voting against it.

By approving the deal, the governmental bodies agreed to transfer the land for the first phase of the project -- a county-owned parcel -- to the Grand Avenue Authority, a joint city-county agency that will in turn lease it to Related. (Later phases include land owned by the city's redevelopment agency.)

The votes green-light all three phases of Grand Avenue, which calls for at least five new high-rise buildings and 3.6 million square feet of development.

The first phase would include two translucent glass residential towers to be designed by Frank Gehry, one 49 stories and the other 24.

One tower would include a five-star Mandarin Oriental hotel. Two hundred of the 1,000 housing units included in the first phase would be reserved for low-income residents.

The municipal bodies also approved the development of a 16-acre park between the Music Center and City Hall as part of the project's first phase -- one of the civic benefits that backers said was vital to the project's success.

The development marks the furthest-reaching effort by local leaders to turn downtown into a 24-hour district on par with areas of New York, Chicago, London and Paris. Downtown has long retained a reputation as a sleepy district that virtually shuts down at sunset, though a recent boom in lofts and other high-end residential development is slowly changing that.

The project will rise in an area that since the early 1960s has been at the center of plans for downtown's revival. Through the 1950s, Bunker Hill was a funky -- even seedy -- collection of Victorian apartment buildings and boardinghouses that inspired some Los Angeles writers. The city leveled the neighborhood to make way for an extension of the high-rise district.

Backers believe that Grand Avenue can succeed where other downtown revitalizations have failed. They said that it would rise amid such cultural landmarks as Walt Disney Concert Hall, the other venues of the Music Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art at a time when downtown is suddenly a hot destination for the first time in decades.

But even some supporters said it remained to be seen whether such a massive undertaking could change the way people think about the city center.

"Done right, redevelopment is a tool for good. Done wrong, it's horrible," county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said. "I really believe, let me tell you, there have been more pairs of eyes looking over this project than any I can ever remember."

Though the project has attracted mostly praise at recent public meetings, the tax breaks and other public support have their detractors.

"The desire for an iconic skyline, that's just for aesthetics," said Antonovich, a longtime opponent of the project. "That should be borne by a developer and not the taxpayers who reside in the entire county."

Christopher Sutton, an attorney for the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, which has opposed the tax breaks for the Mandarin Oriental, told the City Council and the Board of Supervisors that his client was prepared to take legal action to block the project if necessary. He called the project a "direct threat" to the Bonaventure.

The hotel issued a similar ultimatum when the convention center at L.A. Live, another mega-project being built at the south end of downtown, received a larger tax rebate in 2005. But that project has moved forward and will open its first phase this year.

Related Cos. said the Grand Avenue project was not feasible without the subsidies. The developer has spent months negotiating behind the scenes for the tax breaks, an increasingly common incentive used by cities to attract catalytic projects.

Early estimates put the tax rebates for Grand Avenue at $40 million over 20 years. But a recent report from the city's legislative analyst estimated that the rebates could cost $66 million. The largest tax break would be in the 14% city hotel tax, a maximum of $60.5 million over 20 years, the report said.

From the beginning, the Grand Avenue project has been marked by a nontraditional public-private marriage. Besides the proposed tax breaks, government agencies are providing the land, investing in street improvements and subsidizing affordable housing in the project.

Related and its fiscal partners, meanwhile, are taking much of the financial risk -- particularly tenuous in a downtown real estate market that has shown signs of softening. They also are subject to a number of requirements, including the condition that all construction and permanent jobs in the development meet the city's "prevailing" or "living" wage requirements.

In addition, the agreement calls for developers to give at least 30% of jobs to workers living within five miles of the site. That clause was criticized by Antonovich, who described the city deal as unfair to workers who live elsewhere in the county.

"It's Jim Crow of the 21st century," Antonovich said. "We're denying them their constitutional rights to work in their own county?"

Despite those criticisms, several civic leaders said it was rare for the city and county to cooperate so fully as they have to move the Grand Avenue project forward.

Councilwoman Jan Perry, who serves on the joint powers authority board, called the level of cooperation unprecedented.

Though the city, county and developer each would bear a portion of the project's financial risk, each also would profit if the development was a success.

The city and county could reap substantial tax revenue from the project, far more than they receive now from the properties, which are either vacant or parking lots.

Related has written a $50-million check to the civic agencies, which represents the prepaid ground lease on the first phase and a portion of the second phase of the project.

Related has said that construction of the first phase is expected to start in October and be completed in June 2011.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Coming closer and closer...

First it was the USC student, then the Mid-Wilshire homeless Buddha. Now, finally, near the Convention Center...

From: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/los_angeles_metro/la-me-twodead14-2008oct14,0,6664161.story?track=rss

12-year-old boy is one of two shot dead near L.A. Convention Center
By Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 14, 2008
The other victim is an 18-year-old man. Police say the Sunday night shooting is believed to be gang-related.

A 12-year-old boy was one of two people killed when gunmen opened fire on a group gathered west of the Los Angeles Convention Center, police said Monday.

The fatal shootings Sunday night of Steven Munoz of Los Angeles and Luis Rodriguez, 18, of Long Beach were believed to have been gang-related, said Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman Norma Eisenman.

The shootings occurred in the 1400 block of Connecticut Street near Olympic Boulevard and west of the 110 Freeway about 8:30 p.m., when unidentified men got out of a car and fired at the group several times, police said.

Steven, who was hit multiple times in the upper torso, ran from the area before collapsing on 11th Street. He was taken to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, where he was pronounced dead.

Rodriguez, who officials initially said was 25, was discovered bleeding in an alley in the 1400 block of 11th Street. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead on arrival. Witnesses told police that a third person may have been wounded in the foot, although that person hadn't contacted police.

Investigators were looking for assailants who fled in a four-door car, believed to be a Honda, that was gray with white spots. They were described as Latino males, 17 to 18 years old, with shaved heads, gray shirts and black pants.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Downtown mid-residential-life crisis

Today is October 06, 2008. If I die at this moment, which day will I have completely disappeared in this world? Does anybody here know how long it takes to decompose a medium built Asian woman's body?

The answer is it depends. It differs from under the earth to let's say, on the death bed in one of the units in my building. The amount of oxygen, temperature, extent to attract bugs, everything else affect the speed of my corpse's and my dog's body decay.

Wait a minute, did I lose my job? No. I'm still fine even though the sky is falling outside. Did I break up with Joe? Neither. We're still together last time I checked. I even managed to be able to speak some French now, keep my dog alive and buy a new car and get some shows / writing done which were quite fun to do. It seems like I have gradually fit in as one of those Downtown's working hybrid car drivers walking around with a damn pure breed dog. I did not lose any of my 401K in the stock market at all either. Theoretically I should be quite happy at this point.

But for some reason, it feels like it's a bit rotten inside of me these days.

As you all know, I came to Downtown to find Grass-eater in the first place. Yeah, the jerk that bamboozled me. What I had not told you about him is, one day, I saw him in front of the Banquet while I was with my new boyfriend.

That was a surprise. After more than half a year, I saw him pass by with a super old woman when I was having breakfast there. The mysterious fiancee that I had never seen, the woman that I wondered how she was 1,000 times, was right in front of me!

You know who she was like? She was wearing a multi-colored windbreaker with the hoodie on, heavy fleece scaves tied around her neck, track pants, tennis shoes, sun glasses, i.e., I could not see too much of her skin. The only thing I saw very clearly was her face. She was wrinkled, not just at the end of the eyes as most women start having in their 30s, but all over her cheeks, and cannot be associated with the word attractive by any means, at least at that point. Thank you! That ending of the story kind of sucks, doesn't it?! What? Just an old woman? At least give me some really surprising ending, like that was an Indian princess, or a movie star, or whatever, right? Just an old woman and that's it?! WTF?!

And what was Grass-eater like? Well, if he had not done anything for me, he had done one thing: always got his hair cut when he saw me. In half a year, he had turned to a mini King Kong! I don't think he gained much weight but since the curly longer uncut, unstyled hair together with his beard were all over, he looked very large and wild. I could hardly recognize him. Of course, I still recognized him but the thrill and love feeling that used to come along with every vision of him were totally gone. He was just a big and untrimmed stranger. Isn't it weird? Finally, I could not care less about whom I had only cared about before.

He saw me and gave me a hateful look. I had no idea why he would look at me like that but that didn't really matter. My purpose to come to this area was fullfilled. I had forgotten about that man finally. I don't pass by his building anymore or when I do, I don't look at his window anymore. He is over.

So why am I here again? I can't remember. Oh yeah, to drive my damn hybrid car, walk my damn pure breed dog. Just like what they say, "all the things Downtown can offer you". "All the things, " right?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

What do you do when your bitch pees a lot?

Well, why would she pee a lot? Cuz she’s sick! Yes, I do make mid-day break to come home and let her out, but since my little crazy dog is on steroid, she drinks and pees a lot. I leave home at seven every morning and then come home at about five before I go to my second job and class. Crazy bitch can’t hold that long. She has to go a few times a day. I’ve bought the “Second Nature” from PetCo before that looks like an oversized cat litter box but for dogs. Crazy bitch did not like it and never used it. About $60 wasted. So I’ve been doing some research on indoor dog toilets. Here are my options.

Regular doggy potty $150
The drawback is you have to replace the turf. It’s about $40 each. I think you do it every month or you can cut your own from Home Depot. That’s not so economic and eco friendly. I don’t know how often I want to make a trip to Home Depot for sod. Just not a Home Depot person.

Pup Head $150
I think it’s the same as the regular doggy potty except that you don’t have to replace the turf. Just wash it in bleach and water. I’m leaning towards this option because it sounds more reasonable money-wise. What do you think?

The Right Spot $150
This looks like a knock-off of Pup Head but a bit bigger. I’m not entirely a fan of knock-off if I can afford the original but The Right Spot is definitely still an option.

PuppyPark Potty $100
This one doesn’t look bad either. Also cheaper. The only thing is it looks like about 4”-or-so high for the dog to step on. I’m not sure if she can learn how to get that high to pee. Can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Pet-a-Potty $250
Again, this kind is high. Looks like half a feet or something. I think all these “penthouses” are the same. I don’t know if crazy bitch likes the idea. It uses either real grass or synthetic and you empty the base by pulling it out. Not particularly fond of the idea of real grass.

There’s a chance that I might have to find a roommate and move elsewhere to cut cost later so I think making an investment on a dog toilet now might be wise. Looks like somebody is getting a new toilet. I feel depressed just to think about moving.