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Los Feliz Ledger
Vol 3. No. 4
Alcohol Appeal For Observatory Postponed LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles Central Area Planning Commission has postponed hearing the appeal challenging a variance permitting Wolfgang Puck’s catering company a full liquor license for events at the Griffith Observatory. Many supporters of the appeal were present at the Sept. 25th meeting at City Hall. But commission President Young S. Kim delayed the hearing until Nov. 13th stating city attorneys need a more complete Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before the case can be heard. The EIA is an evaluation of the effect Puck’s alcohol variance might have on the environment, measuring such things as air and noise pollution. Wolfgang Puck Catering and Events, the Observatory’s exclusive caterer, requested the variance last March. The Los Feliz Improvement Association (LFIA) filed an appeal soon after the variance was granted. Marian Dodge, LFIA president, worries a full liquor license will compromise the Observatory’s purpose. “For 70 years the Observatory’s mission has been the scientific education of the people of L.A.,” Dodge said. “If the WPC has a full liquor license for special events, portions of the Observatory—even the entire Observatory grounds—can be blocked off. Then the Observatory will not be available to the community.”
[ What’s Inside ] Police Blotter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Genesis of LaBonge Map . . . . . 3 Family: Los Feliz Mom’s Club . . 9 People in My Neighborhood: Sol Shankman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Real Estate: Local Real Estate Analysis . . . . . . . . . . Su Casa D & E Restaurant Review: Larkin’s . . 16 Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Crossword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Open Mike: The LFIA Didn’t Speak for Me . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Serving the Greater Los Feliz, Silver Lake & Hollywood Hills Area | Distribution 32,500
Rising Village Rents Fuel Concern By Paria Kooklan / Ledger Contributing Writer LOS FELIZ—Rising retail rents in Los Feliz Village are impacting small businesses and fueling worries that mom-and-pop establishments will soon be replaced by corporate chains. “The whole face of Los Feliz is going to change,” said Denise Saker, who owns Rosetta Stone Gallery, a boutique on Hillhurst Avenue. “It’s going to lose its charm. I feel so sad about that, because I love this neighborhood.” Saker’s building was recently sold for $2 million,
and her new landlord is demanding $7,200 a month in rent for her 1,200-square-foot space, up from $2,000 under her old lease. So, after 30 years of doing business in Los Feliz—15 of them in her current location—Saker will be closing Rosetta Stone Gallery on December 31st. “I’m devastated by the loss of my business,” she said. Kelly Wood, who owns Karuna Yoga on Hillhurst Avenue, has seen her rent rise as well.
When her five-year lease recently expired, Wood was told her rent would rise from $2,000 a month to $3,100 for approximately 600 square feet of space. That works out to $5.17 per square foot, up from just $3.30. Though her rent has not gone up as dramatically as Saker’s, the climbing rent, Wood said, has made it difficult for her to turn a profit. In order to raise awareness of the problem, Wood held a fundraiser last summer at which she raised see Rents page 7
MESSAGE IN A CHESS DRAWER: Diners can get a dose of philosophy and therapy reading left behind notes stuffed the drawers of a table at the Alcove.
Chicken Soup for the Hillhurst Soul Drawer at Alcove Overflows with Anonymous Notes By Judy Coleman / Ledger Contributing Writer LOS FELIZ—Brunchers at Los Feliz’s Alcove café come for the people-watching, the omelettes and the cake. But some also come to confess. Since Alcove opened in 2004, its customers have stuffed love letters and anonymous notes in the drawers of an antique chess table in the restaurant’s back room. Customers started the tradition on their own, according to Alcove owner Tom Trellis. “The amount of notes has skyrocketed over the last three years,” he said, “and it’s fun to see customers discover that when they sit at the table and spend time leafing through them.” The notes are scrawled on napkins, receipts, tickets and
notebook paper. One notewriter described meeting the love of her life on an otherwise boring Tuesday evening. “Isn’t life funny?,” the note reads, “I never go out on weeknights.” Other diners went for anonymous wit: “If today is the first day of the rest of my life, I’m already a felon.” The fortune-cookie wisdom was also abundant. As one note cautions, “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time.” Another was more comforting: “Remember, everything is okay in the end, and if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” Alcove cake was also a source of inspiration for many note-writers. One customer recommended the buttercream
cake, while another, overstuffed diner declared: “I will go with a salad next time.” Owner Trellis recalled a few of his favorite notes of the past years. “Somebody left a note with a $5 bill attached offering an espresso and a treat to the next reader,” he said. “There’s one from a woman who arrived feeling lonely and depressed and found the notes and left feeling really inspired and feeling like part of a community,” he recalled. The restaurant has never cleaned out the notes and Trellis is not sure what will happen when the stuffed drawers overflow. “We haven’t crossed that bridge yet,” he said, “but I think we’ll have to buy a table with bigger drawers.”
Local Upgrade to DWP Power Grid Helped Create Recent Outages By Paria Kooklan Ledger Contributing Writer After last year’s power outages that left some local residents without power for days, the Los Angeles Dept. and Power vowed to upgrade the city’s power grid to prevent blackouts. When the Labor Day weekend heat wave hit, temporary circuitry installed locally for that purpose—to help upgrade Los Feliz and Silver Lake’s system—failed, leaving thousands of Los Feliz and Silver Lake residents without power, up to three days in some locations. According to the Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power, roughly 29,000 of its electrical customers experienced power outages citywide during the heat wave. The most widespread and longest blackouts occurred in the San Fernando Valley and in neighborhoods surrounding downtown, including Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Koreatown, Atwater Village, Eagle Rock, Mount Olympus and Highland Park. Of the 5,700 electrical customers experiencing outsee Blackouts page 6
Missing Franklin Ave. Man Found LOS FELIZ—Solomon Templo, 53, a resident of Franklin Avenue, was found on a grassy area near his home Sept. 13th –a month exactly since he was reported missing on Aug. 13th. Templo, 53, who is retired and disabled, was taken to the emergency room at Kaiser Permanente Hospital at approximately 9 p.m., Sept. 13th where he was stabilized and then released to his family. “My mom was losing hope,” said Templo’s 20-yearold daughter, Sabrina, who helped organize a vigil for her father in August that attracted over 100 friends and concerned neighbors. “But I tried to stay strong,” she said, “and think positively.” The family declined any more details.
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A nice woman picked up my lost dog â€œTacoâ€? a few weeks ago and returned him to the city of Los Angeles Animal Services, North Central, at 3201 Lacey Street. Throughout the 2 1/2 days â€œTacoâ€? was missing, I learned what to do if your dog runs awayâ€”or if you find a lost dog. The shelter where I was reunited with â€œTacoâ€? is open 24/7 to accept lost animals. (Hours for seeing if your pet is at the shelter, however, are limited. Check the website for times: http://www.lacity.org/ ANI/locatecarecenter.htm.) This anonymous woman found my little chihuahuaterrier mix on the same Sunday he was lost; in fact, he only wandered the streets for a couple of hours. She took time out of her Sunday to pick him up, befriend him and drive him five or so miles to the shelter. This was also the first case of â€œmissingâ€? dog Iâ€™ve had since the Internet. At a loss for what to do, I aimlessly googled â€œMissing Dog in Los Felizâ€?â€” and came up with a number of Internet based websites where you can post photos of lost and found dogs. (The County Animal Care and Control and Los Angeles Animal Services also post photos of their new â€œintakesâ€?â€”a photo database that can be searched by breed and zip code.) I didnâ€™t find â€œTacoâ€? through any of the websites, but checking and rechecking the sites refreshed my hope every couple of hours and gave me something constructive to do while I was waiting. If we all were as informed as the woman who found â€œTaco,â€? Page 2
there would be a lot less heartache out there as evidenced by the many â€œLost Petâ€? posters nailed to Los Feliz and Silver Lake area streetlamps and telephone poles.
Allison B. Cohen
Los Feliz Public Library 1874 Hillhurst Avenue
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Sunday, October 14 Griffith
FIRE HEROES theRECOVERY Beethoven the
A special event in support of GrifďŹ th Park Recovery with a musical tribute to those who fought the ďŹ re
OLD ZOO PICNIC AREA
Photos: Marie Claire Sallaberry
Beethovenâ€™s â€œEroicaâ€? Symphony World Premiere of Arthur B. Rubinsteinâ€™s â€œLife as a Treeâ€? for violin, cello and orchestra
4:00 PM: Pre Concert Festivities 6:00 PM: Symphony Concert PRE CONCERT FESTIVITIES
â€˘ Learn about the recovery plan & how you can help â€˘ Learn about ďŹ re safety & park wildlife â€˘ Meet â€œSmokey the Bearâ€? â€˘ Kids learn how nature comes back after a ďŹ re â€˘ Kids art contest: â€œGrifďŹ th Park Grows Green Againâ€?
FREE ADMISSION AND PARKING Picnic-style seating. No pets, please.
www.symphonyintheglen.org (213) 955-6976 Event Co-presented by
Symphony In The Glen
Arthur B. Rubinstein, Music Director
City of Los Angeles Councilmember Tom LaBonge
The Department of Recreation and Parks
Music sponsored in part by the Music Performance Fund
This announcement is sponsored by
The Greater GrifďŹ th Park Neighborhood Council www.losfelizledger.com
Los Feliz Ledger
Epilepsy Freedom Walk Oct. 14th in Griffith Park By Kimberly Gomez Ledger Contributing Writer GRIFFITH PARK—The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles will host its annual Epilepsy Freedom Walk, Sun., Oct. 14th at 11:00 a.m. in Griffith Park. The half-mile non-competitive walk is designed so children with epilepsy—even those in wheelchairs—can participate. An estimated 150,000 to 180,000 people in the Los Angeles area are estimated to have epilepsy. Participants can either walk on their own or as part of a team, such as the groupthat eight-year-old Ivanhoe student, Leo Decter, is putting together for his friends. “It’s so we can raise money for medicine for people with epilepsy like my sister, Addie,” he said. “And that’s a good thing.” Epilepsy Freedom Walk, Oct. 14th, 11 a.m. Griffith Park, 4730 Crystal Springs Dr. epilepsyfreedomwalk. kintera.org
Taste of Los Feliz Set for Sept. 30th
Man Arrested in Marshall High Assault FRANKLIN HILLS—A 19-year-old man was arrested Sept. 18th accused of committing an on-campus sexual assault a week before at John Marshall High School. On Sept. 13th, at approximately 5 p.m., school employees happened upon the crime in progress on an isolated part of the school campus. According to police, school employees were able to stop the crime; but the suspect fled on foot. Police, working with school police officers and detectives were able to identify the suspect and arrest him in Inglewood. The suspect is not a student at Marshall.
Police Blotter Will Return Next Month.
CORRECTION: In last month’s article “Silver Lake Neighborhood Council Election is Sept. 29th,” we stated that Janet Cunningham had been on the Neighborhood Council previously. That was incorrect, Janet has not previously served on the SLNC board. October 2007
LFV BID Looking for New Board Members LOS FELIZ—The Los Feliz Village Business Improvement District (LFVBID) is seeking candidates for its upcoming November election. Currently, half of the 9member board seats will be vacated and are up for election. Elected board members meet monthly to work on issues to improve the business district in the Los Feliz Village area. New board members will be announced at the LFVBID’s December mixer and will start work in January. Members of the BID will receive a ballot via mail in November with a short profile about each candidate. To run for a seat contact out-going president Dora Herrera at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Map Maker and LaBonge Team to Create New Park Map GRIFFITH PARK—After a chance meeting with Los Angeles based map creator Graham Marriott, of Cartifact, Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge asked if he could develop a fully realized map and brochure of Griffith Park. The map—included in this edition of the Los Feliz Ledger—was designed over satellite terrain imagery, showing hiking trails, bridle and bike paths as well as showing areas of interest, attractions and activities. Marriott worked with Los Angeles Dept. of Recreation and Parks to ensure accuracy and precise park boundaries and also with Chief Park Ranger Alsee Map page 7
VERMONT AVENUE—The 2nd annual Taste of Los Feliz—presented by the Los Feliz Ledger—will be Sun., Sept. 30th from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. along Vermont Avenue. Participating restaurants include: Alcove, Aroma, Café Figaro, Café Los Feliz, Chi Dynasty, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Delilah Bakery, Dresden, Fritzie’s, Greenleaf Vegan, Hollywood Gelato, Home, House of Pies, Little Dom’s, Palermo, Pattaya Bay, Starbucks, Sweets for the Soul, Tangier, Tiger Lily, Toni’s Bakery and Vermont. Keller Williams is the primary sponsor of the event. Other local sponsors include: the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council; Prudential California Realty/ Los Feliz; Chris Laib, Prudential California Realty/Los Feliz; Scott Cain, Sotheby’s International Realty/Los Feliz; Heartbeat House Dance Studio, Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge, the Silver Lake Health and Wellness Co-Op and Under the Table Gallery store. Committee members working on the event are: Allison Cohen, Kirk Gerou, Rosesee Taste page 7
Los Feliz Ledger
“Concerts in the Park” Finale Brings Good Vibrations
[ SILVER LAKE CORRESPONDENT ]
Meet Dennis Lytton, New CD4 Deputy for Los Feliz & Silver Lake By Michael Locke / Silver Lake Correspondent Everywhere Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge goes in the neighborhood, you’ll likely run into his new deputy for Los Feliz and Silver Lake, Dennis Lytton. Replacing Patti Malone in the spring of 2007, Dennis has “hit the ground running,” immersing himself in the issues and people that define and shape our community. A graduate of UCLA, Dennis got his degree in political science after attending community college in Huntington Beach. Prior to working for Councilmember LaBonge, he held a variety of jobs around public policy, including working for a member of the LA County Board of Supervisors, a state assembly member, a congressional campaign and as a consultant for the lumber industry. “I got to know Tom (LaBonge) and his field staff when I was a board member of the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council. Besides being field deputy for Silver Lake and Los Feliz, Tom has me tracking
transportation issues. It’s a great job if you like public policy and have a short attention span because you get to look into so many interesting and different issues every day.”
by Michael Locke Silver Lake Correspondent SILVER LAKE—Silver Lake’s Arts & Culture Committee scored another hit in bringing the summer concert series season to conclusion at Bellevue Park on Sept. 9th. Billed as “Nostalgia Sunday,” the hills surrounding the park were filled with musical styles including ‘60s doo-wop, reggae and jazz.
Thanks to the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council, the Los Angeles Dept. of Recreation & Parks, L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti and local business sponsors, the concert series has become a community fixture. Dorsay Dujon, co-chair of the SLNC Arts & Culture Committee, brought an outstanding lineup of performers to the stage, beginning with reggae band Nassau Steel. Led by Doyle McKinney on steel drums and vocalist Aisha Humphrey, the talented singer evoked a young Sarah Vaughan. Robby Marshall, a young
saxophonist who lives in Silver Lake, brought his jazz quartet RootSystem to the stage, offering original compositions with a distinctively world sound. Finally, the Mighty Echoes brought the crowd to its feet with a joyous songfest of “oldies but goodies.” The doo-wop group, which hails from Echo Park, brought their unique a cappella act to the stage with style, comedy and a tight harmony. Dujon, who produced the event, promised “there will be more music in the park next year, music that lifts the spirit and is food for the soul.”
And how does Lytton hope to help Los Feliz and Silver Lake? “I’d like to help Silver Lake and Los Feliz reach it’s potential as great neighborhoods in Los Angeles. So much has been accomplished in the last several years but much more can be done. What is possible is beyond what we have imagined.” Dennis Lytton may be reached at dennis.lytton@ lacity.org.
WHO ARE WE? WE ARE YOU!
Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council... ...is a board of 19 of your neighbors who have been organized as an advisory body to the City of Los Angeles. The purpose of the GGPNC is to participate as an advisory body on city services of concern to you. The mission of the GGPNC is to promote citizen participation in government at all levels by encouraging citizens to advise City government. Now start advising. That’s how you helped us Save the Derby!!
COMMITTEE COMMENTS Planning, Zoning & Historic Preservation Here’s the idea. Allow development to the point where people get out of their cars and into public transportation. How to do it? Create the “SNAP” plan which promotes increased development. How’s traffic and parking in your area? Let us know…
Parks, River & Open Space The City of Los Angeles is working as quickly as possible to open Griffith Park to public use. Burn areas will be closed on a long-term basis. Other park areas will be opened as conditions permit. For a good list of open and closed areas check out http://lagriffithpark.blogspot.com/
Outreach We’re always looking for new and creative ways to reach our community. If you have any projects or ideas that highlight “local” issues please let us know and we may be able to help. Los Feliz Village… there’s no place like it… help us keep it that way.
Education Committee Track expansion at Marshall is expected to be done by 2010. New projects: Helping Los Feliz Elementary get volunteers for their tutoring center and Family Resource Center... providing resources for new landscaping at King Middle School…
Did you know… …our area State Assemblyman is Paul Krekorian? If you have questions about: renters assistance programs - or - consumer complaints - or - issues with the State Franchise Tax Board - or- any legislative issues - give him a call at 818-240-6330. Now that’s Public Service!
www.ggpnc.org Page 4
To find out more about any of your councils activities just go to the website and check out our calendar. And as always all meetings are open to the public… …this means you!
Los Feliz Ledger [ ECHO PARK CORRESPONDENT ]
Confessions of an Urban Pedestrian By Sean Paul Mahoney Echo Park Correspondent
I don’t drive and I don’t own a car. Feel free to gasp or drop this very newspaper in shock. I’m used to that response. My little life in Echo Park is centralized and everything I need is either a walk or quick bus/train ride away, thank you very much. Still, for all of the convenience and peace of mind this lifestyle provides, it is certainly not free from unique perils and obstacles. Our fair city is internationally known for being a town where “the pedestrian has the right of way.” Having
pounded these pavements, however, I seriously question this policy. Daily, I risk being mowed down by a motorist who is simultaneously trying to change their shirt, drink coffee and IM their best on friend while driving. Hence the walker stare down was born. Somewhere between a snarl and a glare, the stare down involves making a stern eye contact with the multi-tasker in question. The stare basically says “Hey! I’m just trying to walk to the grocery store. Please don’t run me over!” If successful, the apologetic driver sheepishly
acknowledges your existence and no one gets hurt. This is just once of many defense mechanisms the L.A. walker has to develop in order to get from point A to point B in one piece. Others include the intimidating “shout like a crazy person,” the not recommended “full contact hood punch,” and the classic “run like hell.”
Mainly, I try to stay aware and courteous, reserving the extreme tactics for crisis situations only. On a serious note, last year a close friend told me one of her colleagues was killed crossing Hyperion. A few months later and just blocks from my apartment, a woman and her dog were hit in the intersection. Clearly, drivers and
walkers alike are not communicating. So consider this a confessional, a call for mutual respect. We’re here, we walk, get used to it. After all, we walkers don’t need a special pat on the back for doing something “green.” We simply want to get to our destinations safely. Just like you.
“Music Box” Steps Day Oct. 27th SILVER LAKE—If you saw the film, you can’t forget it. Two clumsy delivery men play Sisyphus with a piano they’re hired to haul up to a house at the top of an enormous stairway. The film is called The Music Box and stars the classic comedy team of Laurel & Hardy. Located between Vendome Street and Descanso Drive in Silver Lake, the famed film site has long been a mecca for movie buffs from around the world. And since 1995, it has played the lead role in an annual children’s film festival called Music Box Steps Day. Music Box Steps Day features free food, a raffle, live music, a magic show, Laurel & Hardy look-alikes, and the highlight: multiple screenings of the Oscar-winning film in a tent set up in the recently renamed Laurel & Hardy Park, directly across from the steps. The event, founded by Silver Lake resident Vincent Brook, has attracted visitors from near and far. The event is sponsored by the Silver Lake Improvement Association, the Silver Lake Chamber of Commerce and Los Angeles City Council District 13. This year’s 13th Annual Music Box Steps Day will be held Sat., Oct.27th, noon to 3 p.m., at Laurel & Hardy Park, 900 Vendome St. Admission is free. Info: email@example.com.
New Mural Will Beautify Myra Avenue Underpass by Michael Locke / Silver Lake Correspondent MYRA AVENUE—Led by the ongoing efforts of neighborhood activist, Peter Bedard, the Myra Avenue Underpass will soon be graced by a third mural. The new mural was designed by Brandon Tu, now a freshman at Marshall High School and will be painted by students from Thomas Starr King Middle School under the direction of Metro Gallery artist, Heng Leng. October 2007
Working with King teacher Kirk Palayan, students came up with several preliminary designs which were then submitted to an online vote by members of the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council and the Franklin Hills Residents’ Association. Approximately 200 people cast ballots in the competition. The Myra Avenue Underpass has undergone significant transformation in recent
years, with upgraded lighting, maturing street trees and the completion of two new developments on the north side of the underpass, the art deco Laguna Apartments and the Sunset Silver Lake Lofts, with a third development being planned for the southeast side of the street. An opening reception at Metro Gallery honoring the young artists is being planned. COMMUNITY NEWS
Los Feliz Ledger Blackouts from page 1
ages on the Saturday before Labor Day, 2,600 were in Eagle Rock. Most of those residents did not have their power restored for 24 hours. Meanwhile, some Los Feliz and Silver Lake residents had to wait two days or more for their power to be restored. “Hotter areas tend to have more heat-related outages,” said DWP spokeswoman Kim Hughes. “The coastal areas are cooler, so people don’t use their air conditioners as much and the equipment doesn’t blow out. It all depends on how many people in your neighborhood have their air conditioners on.” According to Hughes, homeowners can help prevent blackouts by keeping thermostats at 78 degrees or higher, turning air conditioners off at night and using as few appliances as possible. “People had the air on 24/7,” she said. “It’s like running your hair dryer all day – the equipment wouldn’t get any time off, and it would break down.” Las Vegas and Palm Springs have equipment that’s built to withstand that kind of energy usage, but L.A’s systems are meant to cool down overnight, when people usu-
ally turn their air conditioners off, she said. “The equipment we’ve always had is geared toward use and efficiency for our climate,” Hughes said. “But with climate change, we’re going to have to reassess. We’re looking at replacing the transformers with different types of transformers – the kind they have in Palm Springs or Arizona.” In the wake of the outages, Los Angeles City Council members Eric Garcetti, (Council District 13) and Tom LaBonge, (Council District 4) and others called for an audit of DWP’s efforts. The utility will also be required to provide monthly reports on its progress as it upgrades the power grid. For its part, DWP has suggested a 9% rate hike to help pay for new staff and equipment. In the meantime, Los Feliz and Silver Lake residents can expect more heat-related blackouts. That’s why DWP needs to do more, Councilmember Garcetti said at a news conference on September 11th. “Last year, they told us [the heat wave] was a once in a hundred years event,” he said. “But, it did happen again. And I think in this time of climate change we have to be prepared for it to happen again.”