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Issue 23

2012

APRIL - MAY

Koreatown. Organized. Energized. The Vasquez Family. Teaching Kids to Eat Their Veggies, One Recipe at a Time

Saving Bank of Tokyo

Mount Vernon Jr. High Reunion

Councilman Wesson Gets Roasted

Gallery Hopping on La Cienega

How Redistricting Shone a Light On the Councilman

And so much more...


Publisher/Executive Editor/Reporter

Dianne V. Lawrence Associate Editor/Reporter

Renee Montgomery Staff Reporters

Carla Pineda, Deborah Charles, Contributing Writers

Laura Meyers, Herbert A. Sample Robert Cronkite, Ron Hutchinson

L - R Carla Pineda, Deborah Charles, Dianne V. Lawrence, Renee Montgomery

Layout & Design/Executive Ad Sales

Dianne V. Lawrence

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NN just couldn’t take it’s eyes off the fascinating Redistricting Reality Show being played out in our district, especially since it’s star was our own fiesty Councilman Wesson. Like all great reality shows, the fur was flying and TNN tries to sort it all out for you. A shout out to all the Neighborhood Council reports fans. We have not forgotten you and your favorite reports will return! I want to turn the rest of the editor’s notes over to my right hand gal and Associate Editor Renee Montgomery. Her love of the spirit and uniqueness of our community has been a critical ingredient in our success. I love getting her calls “Dianne grab your camera and get over to Adams west of Crenshaw. There are over 500 bikers hanging around. It’s amazing!” (a funeral for biker Pee Wee, featured in our “In Memory Of”) and “get over here! The cutest kids have the most adorable lemonade stand” Hence our cover photo. Anyway I love this piece she wrote and will turn the rest of this column over to her...

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he last decade has seen an explosion of “Austen-Mania” – several films and BBC productions based on “Pride and Prejudice,” “Sense and Sensibility,” etc, etc, not to mention two Austen “zombie” books. TNN wants to remind its readers that the literary giant Austen was a ‘local-vore.’ – that is, Austen found meaning and intrigue in her immediate environment. Rather than author another exotic Gothic novel --as was popular in her day -- Jane chose to focus on the everyday dynamics within her little Hampshire neck of the country. Austen grew up during the great expansion of the British Empire, with relatives serving in India and in Napoleanic wars, but instead of drawing from those faraway topics, Jane wrote about life’s lessons of human frailties and goodness all based on local subject matter. TNN encourages its readers to likewise focus on the subtle conversations’ within the borders of our own Mid-City landscape. With a greater diversity of cultures than any place in Southern California, Mid-City offers every moral lesson at our doorstep. Here one can observe the fine dynamics between classes, races, men, women, straight, gay, old and young. Stop running to the artificial-stimuli of The Grove and appreciate the complex organic texture of your own area. Shop your own neighborhood for human insight. Slow down, listen and observe like Jane. Valuable messages of pride, folly, good nature and human understanding are all on special at your local intersection. Renee Montgomery, Associate Editor

Cover Photo: D.V. Lawrence L-R- Annalise Stork, Sophia Miller, Mia Aguilar, Diego Stork

CONTENT 4

Mount Vernon Reunion.

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Redistricting Awakens Koreatown.

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Saving Bank of Tokyo in Jefferson Park.

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Rock Rolls Through West Adams.

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CIM Wall and 16th Place Follow Up.

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Restaurant Review. Mariscos “El Gringo”

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Kinsey’s at the Ebony Repertory.

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Expo Line Opens April 28.

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In Memory Of: Elena A. Brown Anthony. John McCallum aka PeeWee. Free Spring Festivals. Teaching Kids To Eat Their Veggies

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Gallery Hopping on La Cienega WAHA Annual Art Tour

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Redistricting. What Just Happened? 2nd Anniversary Wellington Square

BACK PAGE: Retailers Map


Calling All Mount Vernon Jr. High Alumni

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ONE-TIME ONLY GRAND REUNION for Mount Vernon Junior High School (currently known as Johnny Cochran) and its elementary schools for the period of 1930 through the1950s will be held on July 29, 2012, at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City. Mount Vernon opened in 1926 and for many years was the preeminent Junior High School in Los Angeles. Alta Loma, Arlington Heights, Burnside Avenue, Cienega, Marvin Avenue, Queen Anne, 6th Avenue, 24th Street, Virginia Road and Wilton Place sent their students to Mount Vernon. The Reunion Committee is seeking to find copies of the Tribune News-Advertiser, a weekly newspaper in the ‘40s and ‘50s, that published articles about the people, businesses and schools in the greater West Adams neighborhood. Also sought are Mount Vernon graduates, memorabilia, pictures, local histories and other historical information from these neighborhoods during this era. Please contact the Reunion Committee at mjordan1941@ verizon.net or 805-987-6682 if you desire to participate or have knowledge about the items sought for this once in a lifetime reunion.

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Redistricting Awakens Koreatown “We Are Not Going To Be The Quiet Group That Just Hands Out Money” D.V. Lawrence

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ne of the more shocking allegations to come out of the contentious Feb. 1 Redistricting Commission meeting were accusations by Koreatown activists that a staff member of Council District 10 was squeezing Koreatown businesses for financial contributions and the Korean businesses and new generation of Korean professionals did not appreciate it. It began when Lloyd Lee, a Korean business attorney who serves on the Board of Governors of the Korean Bar Association, proclaimed to the commissioners “Welcome to the political awakening of Koreatown. We are not going to be the quiet group that just hands out money without political representation. Those days are gone.” With the many restaurants and businesses moving in and out of the active Korean business corridor running through CD10 territory, there is a constant demand for liquor licenses, permits, variances and renewals. Support by or opposition from the Council office can mean the success or failure of a business. But Steve Yablok, who has owned the popular Fais Do Do, a nightclub on Adams, for over 20 years and has had to deal with three CD10 Councilmen said “It’s standard practice if you own a business like mine to make nice with the Council people. Support their causes, maybe hold a fundraiser, contribute to their campaigns. All in the hopes that they will be supportive or at least not get in your way. But there are no guarantees. My application for a full line of spirits was still denied.” and Steve is still standing strong. Fair enough. A token contribution to the Council Office, with no guarantees of assistance or opposition, is standard practice for doing business in Los Angeles. But what if you are feeling pressured into giving them money? A land use consultant who helps Koreatown businesses navigate the permit,

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variance or liquor license process and who insists on remaining anonymous -“I still have to do business with the council office” - said he gets regular calls from CD10 asking him to generate donations from his Koreatown clients. He confirms that he and his clients do so out of fear of the consequences. Does Councilman Wesson punish or reward as he has been accused of lately? At the least there is the perception that he does and that could be enough. “You are asked for a donation, you give one with no assurances and you hope that if he doesn’t support he won’t oppose.” claimed our source. While looking into the campaign contributions of 2011, an election year, TNN found that Councilman Wesson generated $229,235 and approximately $87,600 of it came from donors with Korean surnames. That is little over 1/3 of the donations. Yet Koreans make up less than 10% of the community. These numbers were supported by the LA Time’s own inquiry. So either the Korean community is really, really happy with Councilman Wesson…or the activist’s accusations are worth looking into. Koreatown Activist Alex Cha told TNN that Koreatown has been an ATM for Councilmen in CD10 for a long time. There may be something to this. TNN discovered an LA Times article written by reporter Peter Y. Hong, as far back as May 26, 2002 which accused then Councilman Nate Holden of clearing the way for dozens of bars and nightclubs to open in Koreatown.

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Continued on the next page

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Hong considered this unusual since after the riots Holden had pegged himself a crusader against inner-city liquor businesses. Hong claims to have discovered many disturbing links between the Korean businesses and Holden: (1) that many of the liquorrelated businesses he supported were represented by his top fund-raisers, lobbyists and zoning consultants, King Woods or Bill Robinson a former city hall aide to the councilman. (2) One of his deputies accepted $15,000 from a Koreatown nightclub operator. Supposedly it was for two interest free loans, which he claims to have paid back. (3) Another Koreatown nightclub owner, previously imprisoned in South Korea on unrelated bribery charges, had given Holden a Rolex watch in 1997, Holden had given him a jeweled broach and in 1999 after Holden solicited the contribution, the same nightclub owner donated $10,000 to Holden’s son’s unsuccessful Pasadena Mayoral campaign. (4) Le Prive, one of Koreatown’s largest nightclubs, opened and found support in Holden who assured fellow council members and regulators that it would be a “family-style” restaurant he would visit with his granddaughter. Le Prive owners and supporters contributed $8,000 to Holden’s 1999 election campaign. Once the restaurant launched in 2000, Le Prive was anything but a family style establishment, opening after 9 pm for exclusive customers who had to provide a waiter’s name to gain entry. Food was served only with liquor and a minimum order was a $200 bottle of whiskey. One has to wonder what Holden’s granddaughter ordered. But why are we talking about Holden? Wesson began his political career in the 10th district as Chief of Staff to Nate Holden in 1987. Although he left Holden well before Holden’s alleged shenanigans in Koreatown were exposed, in an LA Times article Feb. 2002 Holden jokingly takes credit for getting Councilman Wesson started. “‘I knew he wanted something in the game,’ said Holden, who only half-jokingly assumes credit for Wesson’s entire political career. ‘You could see he was in it to get ahead, and he knew he would get ahead through me.’” Now nearly 25 years later Councilman Wesson controls CD10, has maneuvered his way onto the City Council’s President’s throne and according to these recent accusations may be working from Holden’s playbook. continued on Pg.14

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Saving Bank Of Tokyo A Remnant of Jefferson Park’s Japanese American Heritage Laura Meyers

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he Bank Of Tokyo building (currently the Union Bank) at the corner of Crenshaw and Jefferson has historic roots in the Japanese American community. This mid-century modern building designed by a pair of noted architects, Tosh Terasawa and Arthur O’Leary, was erected to remedy the Japanese Americans’ quest for financial equality in the face of racism, after they were resettled in the Jefferson Park community from the intern-

ment camps of World War II. Jefferson Boulevard had become a thriving business corridor, catering to the Japanese American community during the late 1940s until well into the 1980s. When this historic building was threatened with complete demolition in order to make room for a parking lot for the development of a Fresh & Easy, the West Adams Heritage Association, WAHA and others objected, and began a series of meetings from August through October with representatives from CIM and West Angelus Community Development Corp. (the developers), Fresh & Easy (tenants), Council District 10, and United Neighborhoods Neighborhood Council (UNNC). After months of negotiations and meetings, the community was able to reach an agreement with the developers whereby a Fresh & Easy grocery store and a small bank branch building will be erected, and the frontage portion facing Jefferson (about half the building) of the existing Bank of Tokyo will be retained and rehabilitated. The compromise balances the neighborhood’s desire for a new development at the long-vacant corner of Crenshaw and Jefferson, near the new Expo Line light rail train station, with historic preservation and design that is compatible with not just the adjacent community but also with “New Urbanism” goals of pedestrian-activated streets and transit-friendly development. “The adaptive reuse of the building will also enhance the overall project on the site,” said WAHA Board member Eric Bronson.

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Would you like to get each issue delivered to your desktop? Want to get instant info about local events, news, business specials? Put ‘YES’ in the subject line and email: theneighborhoodnews@yahoo.com In its appeal papers, WAHA wrote that “The Bank of Tokyo building represents a still-standing piece of community fabric in a neighborhood where much has been demolished. It is reflective of a time both past and present of a neighborhood filled with diverse culture. It is important to work toward goals that ensure the Japanese-American community’s history in Jefferson Park, as expressed through physical structures, is not erased.“

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Rock Rolls Through West Adams Robert Cronkite and Ron Hutchinson

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est Adams played a small but crucial part in art history on the morning of March 10 when the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s 340 ton rock (technically a megalith – pay attention at the back of the class!) – made a left off Adams onto Western, heading north to Wilshire and then to the museum. It was on the last leg of an eleven night transport from a quarry in Riverside County. It made such good time that, on assignment for The Neighborhood News, your special correspondents slept in and missed the turn only a few blocks from their house. Undaunted, they threw on some clothes, rushed out the door, met up and tracked it down to La Brea and Wilshire. They can report that although the rock looked pretty tame, the trucks moving the rock were awesome. Heading to LACMA we witnessed its arrival at 4.30 a.m. to a rousing LA welcome from several hundred insomniacs, a line of gourmet food trucks, a man claiming to be Jesus Christ, another dressed as a white rabbit and a reveller set on getting himself arrested by shouting ‘F- the police’ every time a black-and-white came by. One detail stood out – the very last truck in the impressive collection of vehicles (maybe 30 in all) towed an Andy Gump. We made sure to note the phone number of the moving company in case anyone needs to shift an Atlas rocket or small Caribbean island any time soon. Editor’s Note: Levitated Mass is the name of the installation being created by the artist Michael Heltzer. He conceived the piece in 1968 but only discovered the appropriate boulder in Riverside County decades later. The 340 ton boulder is one of the largest megaliths to have been moved since ancient times. Once installed it will appear to float as observers walk down a ramp around the rock. The installation is slated to open in the summer. For more info and pics: www.lacma.org

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APRIL/MAY 2012

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CIM Wall and 16th Place Follow Up

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s promised, TNN continues to keep updates on the efforts of the 16th Place residents to engage Councilman Wesson in their effort to resolve the many problems created by the overnight installation of a cement wall by the CIM development company. This wall has destroyed their pricless views of the Hollywood Hills, property values and has added a host of other serious problems. In our last installment we reported that the list of actions Councilman Wesson promised to take for them resulted in months of ignored emails and cancelled meetings. On Feb. 23 they were finally able to have a meeting with a CD10 rep and a rep from CIM to talk about planting vegetation to help absorb noise, pollution and cover the visual blight. As of the date of this printing there continues to be no follow up from Councilman Wesson’s office for any of the promised acitons.

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Mariscos “El Gringo”

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D.V. Lawrence

ter a few bumpy starts and stops, Jerry Del Campo’s seafood restaurant Mariscos “El Gringo” is open and business is brisk. Located in the corner of the pocket mall on Washington and Crenshaw, Jerry worked hard to create an inviting and attractive interior, complete with four tv screens, festive décor, attractive table cloths and a dj for the evenings. After a few missteps that resulted in Councilman Wesson and a few neighbors opposing Jerry’s request for a beer and wine license, Jerry volunteered to adhere to a long list of requirements and finally received his license to the delight of his local supporters. One last touch, a chef who knew what he was doing and Jerry was off and running. During a recent visit I started with an appetizer of Pico de Gallo with chips. The bowl of avocado, tomatoes, onion and cilantro had just the right amount of tart, spicy and fresh and I polished it off by the time my main meal, the Camarones Gringos, arrived. Served on a large square platter I knew I would not be hungry when I finished. The plate contained lightly shredded red cabbage topped with croutons and drizzled with a very delicious homemade sesame dressing all sitting next to slices of cucumber and tomato topped with avocado slices, a small bowl of tasty dip made from blending salsa, mayonnaise and few other ingredients, a compact mound of white rice and a big wrap of foil. I opened it up to a steaming mixture of flayed open shrimps, potatoes, red peppers and onions in a flavorful broth that I sopped up with the rice. Other dishes to choose from include garlic shrimp or fish fillet, combinations of octopus, abalone, crab, shrimp and oysters, and many other combinations. The oyster dish has become very popular and I look forward to stopping in for lunch to try one of his signature bagel sandwiches. Dinners range from $9 - $12, bagel sandwiches are around $8, tacos are $2.25, soups $10 - $12. Our community cries out for more local food resources and the residents on the south east side of TNN’s borders welcome this needed addition to their restaurant options. (see ad on previous page for more info)

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Kinsey’s Kick Off Black History Month At the Ebony Repertory Theater

Wheatley, Garvey, Malcolm X. It also included amazing art, letters and pictures from the life of anonymous slaves and determined individuals. Equally inspiring were the examples of black achievement on

Renee Montgomery

Bernard Kinsey awarding a scholarship to Crenshaw High student Isaiah Taylor

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he Nate Holden Performing Arts Center kicked off their “Journey in Four Parts” celebration of Black History month with the fourth annual presentation of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey’s “What You Didn’t Learn in High School History”. It was an uplifting evening of encouragement for people of all colors and the positivity and good cheer was palpable. The evening kicked off with the gorgeous jazz playing of the Kevin Toney 3, followed by philanthropists, educators and collectors Bernard & Shirley Kinsey’s slide show from “The Kinsey Collection”. The audience enjoyed images and text from

stage. The Kinsey’s helped organize a trip to China for a group of Crenshaw High students who made presentations to their Chinese counterparts in an effort to overcome clichéd images of contemporary black culture. The President of UPS Central California District, Noel Massie assisted Bernard in awarding academic scholarships to two of the students. The audience was also entertained with monologues from the writings of Malcom X, Fredrick Douglass and a spot on, chill raising reciting of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speach, presented by actors from the GBT Academy of the Arts and directed by Dr. Mary J. Goodwin-Clinkscale. They flew in Continued on Pg. 21

Bernard & Shirley Kinsey, Editor Dianne V. Lawrence and Ebony Performing Showcase Director, Wren Brown

their nationally celebrated collection of art and artifacts tracing little known successes of black culture, such as rare photographs and documents relating to icons like Douglass, Tubman,

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Expo Line Finally Opens!

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hase I of the Expo Line will officially open on Saturday, April 28, 2012, as the newest addition to LA’s expanding rail network. The line will initially run 7.6 miles from downtown 7th/Metro to La Cienega/Jefferson. This opening also includes the murals done at the Crenshaw stop, by TNN’s featured artist Willie Middlebrook.You can see his work at our website under”Art”. This summer, the Culver City stop will extend the line a mile further. Including the Culver City stop, the Expo Line Phase I will share two stations with the Blue Line downtown for a total of 12 Expo Line stops. MTA will operate the Expo Line seven days a week starting at about 5am and ending at about 12:30am, and is expected to have 27,000 daily boardings. Phase II of the Expo Line, whose construction began last September and is scheduled to be completed by 2015, will extend from Culver City 6.6 miles out to Santa Monica ending at 4th/ Colorado. Together, Expo Phase I and II will be the first mass transit line to connect Downtown Los Angeles to the Santa Monica in half a century. In a little over one year, Los Angeles will open three major transportation projects—the Expo Phase I Line, the Orange Line expansion, and the I-405 expansion. Los Angeles will also break ground on three more major projects—the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor, the Purple Line Subway extension, and the Regional Connector. These projects are expected to support over 100,000 jobs.

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Koreatown Continued from Pg. 7

Politicians need money. Lots of it. During that Feb. 1 Redistricting meeting, Jimmy Chai, a member of the Korean American Democratic Committee got up after Lloyd Lee and accused CD 10 of “terrorizing” the Koreatown businesses and of “a Council deputy [Michael Bai] threatening business ownership for funding dollars for CUP’s [conditional use permits].” (This accusation can be viewed at www.cityview.org. Click on redistricting commission meetings and look for Redistricting Commission 0201-12 and fast-forward 59 minutes in.) When Commissioner Helen Kim asked him if he had proof, Mr. Chai produced and read from a letter that had been passed around the Korean community for a year. Ostensibly written by a local Korean restaurant owner, who has strenuously denied writing it, the letter attempts to file a complaint with Councilman Wesson. It declares: “your Deputy runs around your district especially Koreatown soliciting money in your behalf for some fundraising. As he approached any businesses within your district, he reassures approval for any cases submitted through the City Planning as long as he gets that “support money” or else, he will make sure the case gets denied. I am not sure if you are aware of this that is why I am writing to you directly. This has been going on for many years now and many small business owners that can barely survive in this economy are complaining that every time there [sic] City application is in the process of renewal, not only that they have to worry about the high application fees but also worry about pleasing your deputy Michael Bae [sic]. Most of this business owner are hardworking individuals who came to this country to start a business and are afraid to make complaints especially to a City employee”. It goes on to accuse a popular land use consultant who used to work for the council office of consistently getting their clients permit’s and licenses approved because of their association with the Council District office and their land use deputy Michael Bai (this experience was repeated by our separate source weeks before the public airing at the Redistricting meeting). Mr. Bai did not respond to TNN’s request for comments but Edward Johnson, Chief Deputy reiterated that the letter was forged and the contents untrue. The letter ends by warning Councilman Wesson of the potential for future embarrassment. The restaurant owner identified in the letter has strongly denied having written it claiming the writer wanted to create trouble for him, the signature was a cut and paste job and the company logo on the paper is not his. It is entirely possible that someone else wrote the letter using this unfortunate restaurant owner’s name. But it leaves us with many unanswered questions. Primarily, why? If it was a rival who wanted to get the owner of the ‘forged’ name in trouble, what kind of trouble could he get him into? It isn’t against the law to file a complaint with your councilperson. Possibly anger the Council Office who might “punish” or oppose his liquor renewals? Is that a possibility? Either way, the letter states clearly what the activists and our source claims has been happening for a long time. Let’s say the whole thing is untrue. Councilman Wesson is still left with a problem…this perception in the Korean

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business community that his office has a threatening reputation that aggressively pursues them for money. It doesn’t help when a third of his donations comes from a small percentage of the district. And more cause for concern may be that in December of last year Councilman Wesson asked the Ethics Commission to raise donation levels for candidates for City Council from $500 to $1,000 and this March they voted to raise the levels to $700. Another concern addressed in the letter was that Korean businesses are struggling and can’t afford these donations. Koreatown had been split in 4 districts and ended up in two, CD10 and 13 which continues to diffuse their collective voting power but there is a silver lining to the failure of the Commission to bring Koreatown together. That is the emerging organization and coming together of the younger generation of businessmen and women in Koreatown who are mad as hell, not willing to take it anymore and are starting to speak up. A savvy younger generation who are inheriting or creating new businesses and are not likely to be as accommodating as their elders. Can the newly motivated activists support and encourage the current businesses to simply stop responding to pressures to donate? There was a timely image being passed around on Facebook, a large fish with an open mouth about to swallow up a school of small fishes. The caption said “Don’t Panic” The next image had the big fish turned about, trying to escape as the small fish banded together, shaped themselves into a larger fish and took chase. The caption? “Organize!”

Congratulations to

Mid City Neighborhood Council

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INC celebrated its 10th Anniversary with a presentation of certificates from Mayor’s Office- Fabiola Vilidiez, CD 10-John Harmon, Office of State Senator Price-Lauren Mains, and LAPD-Capt. Davis. The following city entities sent certificates to be read: Controller’s Office-Wendy Gruel, and Office of 2nd Supervisory District-Mark Ridley Thomas.

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Elena A. Brown Anthony 1948 - 2012

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lena A. Brown Anthony dedicated 37 years of motivation, inspiration, and leadership to the progress and enhancement of student education in our community. She began a teaching career at James A. Foshay Junior High School then transferred to Susan Miller Dorsey High School where she advanced from English teacher to dean of students and then assistant principal. Elena eventually moved on to Los Angeles High School where she was inevitably promoted to Principal. She always had a reputation for being a highly proficient administrator who advocated for all students to achieve education no matter their backgrounds. With a record of success working with troubled and underachieving students she continued to lay the groundwork where students, faculty and parents were able to buy into her system for success. This resulted in a major accomplishment that earned her, the students and the faculty outstanding LAUSD awards for most improved advancement of high school academic test scores. Elena was asked to assist in giving presentations and workshop discussions to other high school administrators on her formula for successfully implementing standards for achievment. Survived by a wealth of family, her memory, legacy and love will be cherished by all who knew her.

John McCallum aka Pee Wee 1936 -2012 D.V. Lawrence

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n March 10, drivers travelling along Adams, west of Crenshaw, were met with a remarkable site. Approximately 700 bikers representing motorcycle clubs from around the state converged on the Southern Memorial Baptist Church to pay respect to one of their own, John McCallum or as they knew him, Pee Wee. Pee Wee was married to Anna Johnson for 52 years and produced 2 daughters and a son. He had been employed by Lockheed and McDonnell Douglas aircraft but his great love and interest was motorcycling. He joined the L.A.D.O. motorcycle club in the ‘50s. His reputation for generosity and a big heart was in evidence as bikers, black and some white, greeted each other, hung out together and created an atmosphere of reverent celebration.

Everyday is support Small Local Business Day

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Free Spring Festivals!

Benny Potter Park Saturday, April 7, 11 am - 3 pm All ages Egg hunt, face painting, arts and crafts, community booths, and more. Egg hunt for children age 2-12 (but of course the little babies can participate too). 5 on 5 basketball tournament begins at 10am ages 14-17. Get more info about sign ups from the South Seas House. 2301 W. 24th St., 90018 Arlington and 24th (323) 373-9483

1st Annual Mid City EGGstravaganza! Queen Anne Recreation Center Saturday April 7, 10 am - 2 pm Face Painting, Arts and Crafts, Food, 4 Egg Hunts and of course, the Easter Bunny! 1240 West Blvd. 90019 N.. of Pico Sponsored by by MINC, OPNC, PICONC, UNNC and Mid City Businesses and churches.

Teaching Kids to Eat Their Veggies One Recipe at a Time Herbert A. Sample

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ocal resident and Los Angeles restaurateur Steven Vasquez and his family are on a mission to ease parents’ pain – by coaxing kids themselves to realize the delight in eating healthy, delicious meals that contain fresh ingredients. With little fanfare, the Vasquez family for the last five years have been visiting Los Angelesarea recreation centers and other locations, holding exercise and cooking sessions for kids under the rubric “Cooking With Gabby” – Gabby being Vasquez’ daughter Gabriella. The gatherings, usually held in Latino and African-American neighborhoods, can be small, sometimes just a couple handfuls of children between the ages of 9 and 12. And they can occasionally

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Gallery Hopping on La Cienaga between Washington and Venice

To see the work in color please go to the website.

Ford Beckman www.maloneyfineart.com

Hadley Holliday www.taylordecordoba.com

Delia Brown

www.anglesgallery.com

Mono-Ha

www.blumandpoe.com

WAHA Annual Art Tour Renee Montgomery

Judy Chicago www.nyeplusbrown.com

Artist at Arlington Collective surrounded by Art Tour participants

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Tom Gregg Carolyn Castano www.waltermacielgallery.com www.georgebillis.com

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anging out with cool artists, snooping around their historic homes or studios, and buying exceptional works of art was a treat for attendees of the 2012 art tour sponsored by the West Adams Heritage Association. Seven sites were available on this self-guided tour on March 24th, including the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library and the California African American Museum. Tour highlights included the Arlington Art Collective at the corner of Arlington and Washington Blvds., and the residence of Susan Wilshire, the step-mother of Gaylord Wilshire. Ceramist Art Tobias demonstrated wheel throwing in his living room. The stylish bungalow home of painter Kim Reese provided a lucky opportunity to see how artists integrate art and inspiration into their own environment. Following the tour, a reception was held in WAHA’s special ‘pop up’ exhibition at 4th Avenue and Washington Blvd. Painting, sculpture, ceramics, costume, shoe design, video and puppets were shown in the tour by the following talented artists: Kathleen Beltran, Christopher Kuhn, Bryan Freeny, Nathalie Dierick. Marcus Perez, Josh Atlas, Laura Cechanowicz, Allie Williams, Kim Reese, Art Tobias and the late Corinne Pfleger.

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Redistricting...What Just Happened? What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been

threatened. But it was all an exercise in futility. Ignoring the issues brought up by the pleading crowd, the City Council voted 13 to 2 to accept the map. The media has not minced words.

D.V. Lawrence n March 16, City Council accepted, without any serious debate and few amendments, the final map submitted to them by the Redistricting Commission. CD10 gained a little bit more of Koreatown and relinquished the street Councilman Parks lives on. After the city attorney drafts the resolution it is expected to come back to council for a vote in May. The map has forced Councilman Wesson, newly elected President of the City Council, to defend himself against accusations of misusing his new power to punish and reward. It has also resulted in cries of corruption by one of the commissioners and two city council members, brought on accusations of back room dealings as well as accusations by Koreatown activists of financial extortion by Councilman Wesson’s office. On the day the City Council was scheduled to vote to accept the map, the council chambers were packed to the gills with a majority speaking out against the map. Student activists from Councilwoman Jan Perry’s district pleaded to not have the funding from development taken away because it provided much needed revenue for their schools. Preachers from Councilman Bernard Parks district claimed Tom Bradley would roll over in his grave at the lack of respect being shown to their communities. Three lawsuits have been

photo by Branimir Kvartuc

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15th Annual LA Political Roast Honoree Herb Wesson. Proceeds benefiting the American Diabetes Association

March 2, Los Angeles Downtown News wrote: “The latest shenanigans flow directly from Council President Herb Wesson, who in the past few months has demonstrated a propensity for punishing enemies and rewarding friends simply because he can. His latest move is additional evidence that he cares much more about political power than he does the good of constituents.” There is no love lost between Councilman Wesson and Council members Jan Perry and Bernard Parks who both failed to Continued on Pg 20

2nd Anniversary Wellington Square Farmers Market Market organizers Kathy Lewis and Lora Davis flank this year’s Basket o’ Plenty winner Sunday 9-1 Washington west of Crenshaw

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Redistricting. Cont. from Pg. 19

show up at the Councilman’s swearing in as Council President. Councilwoman Perry had been critical of the behind the scenes maneuvering that she believes put Wesson in power and was also concerned that there were backroom meetings to decide how to divide up the territory before the commission began its work. Her district, the 9th which covered downtown and the development boom she helped usher in, is one of the most lucrative tax and funding sources in the city. In 2008 Parks had a major dustup with Andrew Westall, (the current Executive Director of the commission) who, along with Wesson’s son, worked for Parks campaign. Both had been accused of making unauthorized robocalls to the tune of $60,000 resulting in a lawsuit for Parks by the Call Center. Parks lost. But Gabriel Grunspan, a fourteen year friend of Westall who had been working with him at the time, has recently come forth and sworn he overheard, among other things, Westall admitting he hadn’t alerted Parks to the calls. Parks used this to reopen and appeal the case. Westall until recently was also a staffer in Councilman Wesson’s office before becoming the Executive Director of the Redistricting Commission. Parks raised concern to the Ethics Commission about the ability for Westall, accused of perjury in an upcoming lawsuit with Parks, to remain objective. They were unmoved. From City News Service, Nov. 2011:``I'm not in a position to say whether he perjured himself or not. That's for the court to decide,'' Parks, Jr. said. ``But the fact that the question is out there does cause the conflict of interest. If you begin to quibble over boundaries between the 8th (Parks) and 10th (Wesson) districts, where do you think (Westall) comes out on that?'' Parks said. ``It's an extremely uncomfortable position to go through a process where (Westall) would be redrawing the lines of the councilman's district. No other council member is in litigation with the person drawing the lines,'' he added.”

coming with his team, and rewarding his team and punishing others — specifically Parks, and to a lesser extent, Perry,’ he said.” “Commissioner Helen Kim, who opposed the changes, said they were ‘absolutely’ designed to punish Perry and Parks. ‘Parks has just gotten written out of the district where he lives. You don't think that's a slap in the face?’ she said.” SoCal Connected received a series of confidential emails from one of the commissioners explaining why the land grab from CD8 was important to Wesson. “ the goal of the transfer was to increase the number of black registered voters to more than 50 percent in Wesson’s district, even though the current percentage is much lower. “Race was the sole factor in determining the boundaries of CD10, in possible violation of the Voting Rights Act,” the commissioner wrote.” This seemed to be confirmed in emails discovered by Parks and Perry and written by Wesson appointee Christopher Elliot. Elliot talks about moving the white community of Palms out of the 10th district and moving black communities from Parks district into Wesson territory, the 10th. But Commissioner Jerry Gaines, the 15th districts rep had a different explanation for the new boundaries. In a discussion with Matt Pressberg, staff reporter with USC Annenberg, he explained that technical limitations in the mapping software prohibited the commission’s ability to work as a group forcing continued on next page

Perry’s and Parks concerns proved legitimate when they found that both their districts were gutted of a majority of their lucrative tax base. Councilman Huizar, considered a Wesson ally was given Perry’s wealthy commercial downtown districts, an area Perry successfully helped develop, while commercial zones and communities in Parks CD8 district, including the street Parks lived on, suddenly found themselves enveloped by Wesson’s District 10. (With the amendments, Perry managed to get back the Staples Center and the Convention Center and Parks was given back the street he lives on) They were both also stripped of their longstanding Committee Chair positions. On Feb 17 2012 the LA Times reported: “Wesson denies newly drawn council districts are payback. The L.A. council president refutes assertions by colleagues Parks and Perry that he's altering their districts in retaliation for their lack of support.” “Jaime Regalado, emeritus professor of political science at Cal State L.A., said Wesson is playing hardball in a way that his predecessor, Councilman Eric Garcetti, did not. And he argued that this year's redistricting process is far more politicized than it was a decade ago.‘The council appears to be at war with each other. There seem to be factions. The incoming president is

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them to split up into three teams with seven members each. Because of the 15th districts unique geographical position at the bottom of the map and the fact that their population was larger than the required numbers, some of the communities at the top of the 15th district had to be added on to the southern end of the 8th and 9th districts forcing them to give up some of their northern territory to the 10th (Wesson) and 15th (Huizar).

of Illinois study finding that Los Angeles is the 2nd most corrupt city in America. The most disheartening aspect of this news was in evidence during the Redistricting process when the young teens showed up in force only to witness their concerns left unacknowledged or discussed by City Council. This will either energize their resolve to get involved or leave them with the lesson that you just can’t fight City Hall, so why bother.

Despite this interesting explanation it doesn’t explain the lack of transparency or accountability within the committees, fueling accusations of a conspiracy designed to award some and punish others. The Redistricting Commission was made up of 21 members. They voted to break up into three committees composed of reps from neighboring districts. Seven members in each gave them less than a majority of the whole allowing them to avoid the required scrutiny and openness required by the Brown Act which holds that whenever a majority of members of a legislative body (in this case 11 members) meet to take up public business, public notice and participation is required. A rule was imposed on the committees by Chairman Arturo Vargas, that forbade them from talking to each other, keeping the discussion contained within the 7 members of their committee. This avoided the possibility of outside discussion that might raise the number in the group to 11 participants which would activate the Brown act and allow the public or other members in on the discussion. So each group worked behind closed doors which probably explains the crazy erratic borders of the districts. A subcommittee appointed by the Chair resolved overlapping borders. These closed door sessions and the fact that Wesson’s appointee, Chris Ellison made up a voting block including commissioners appointed by Wesson friendly Mayor Villaraigosa and Councilman Jose Huizar (whose district acquired the lucrative dowtown) fed the perception and fueled suspicions that an agenda was on the table and the wishes of the commissioner’s Councilmember benefactors were driving the conversation.

Teaching Kids to Cook continued from Pg. 17

The LA Times reported in a Jan. 25 article that Chris Ellison had complained in an email that a competing map floating around would strip Wesson of Koreatown, which was “disrespectful” to Wesson, and left him with “scraps” from other districts. This only fed the perception that Wesson’s needs took precedence over the needs of the community. Commissioner Helen Kim began to publicly accuse the commission of irregularities. Wanting continued transparency and community input, she voted against the motion to break the 21 members up into three groups. She also expressed concern about Executive Director Andrew Westall, who quit his job with Wesson to take on the job of executive director of the commission. She saw a conflict in allowing him to oversee a group that would be making decisions that would directly affect his longtime boss. She did not prevail in her concerns. When the dust settled Perry and Parks districts were decimated and Koreatown was still divided (read our report on pg.7). One of the jokes during a recent roast of Wesson to help raise money for diabetes was “By putting USC in the Ninth District, Wesson promised Jan Perry some Trojans while she gets screwed.” An LA Times report on Feb. 26 cites a recent University

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be unruly, given kids’ penchant to fidget and dismiss anything that doesn’t come with buttons and a screen. But oftentimes, their faces light up when they taste the dish they just helped prepare with guidance from Vasquez, his wife Lisa, Gabriella and sons Steve Jr. and Anthony. Such was the case at one recent session at the Jim Gilliam Recreation Center in Baldwin Hills, where several kids readied a beet salad with green beans and fresh cranberry pear sauce. “I learned how to cook,” said 11-year-old Walter Bolden, who helped peel the beets. “It was kinda cool.” According to some estimates, one in three U.S. kids are now considered overweight or obese. Cooking With Gabby began its cooking sessions as part of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Summer Night Lights anti-gang program. On its own, it also has held gatherings at parks or community centers, local churches, the offices of healthrelated groups such as the American Diabetes Association, and at a half-dozen Los Angeles City schools. The Vasquez’ efforts, are supported by grants from Toyota, Wells Fargo, and the offices of area politicians, including Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and L.A. Councilmen Herb Wesson and Bernard Parks. Reprinted with permission from healthycal.org Cooking With Gabby 323.325.1177 info@kidseat4life.org web: http://cookingwithgabby.kidseat4life.org Herbert A. Sample is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. He can be reached at hasample@mac.com. Kinsey/Ebony cont. from Pg. 12

from Omaha, Nebraska especially for the occasion. Also striking was Mid-City’s own Wren Brown, founder of the Ebony Repertory Theater and host for the evening, who officiated with his warm, powerful voice and persona. And congratulations to Ebony for their multiple award winning production of “Raisin in the Sun” now at its second venue in the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. They have received two Ovation awards for best featured actress and best play in a large theatre and most recently they received four Los Angeles Drama Critics awards; McCulloh Award for Revival: A Raisin In The Sun Lead Performance: L. Scott Caldwell ( Lena Younger) Featured Performance: Deidrie Henry (Ruth Younger) Ensemble Performance: The Cast of A Raisin In The Sun In a national environment of dire economic forecasts, struggling businesses and college graduates, Kinseys’ night was a powerful reminder that success through sheer talent, character and tenacity is attainable despite enormous odds.

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TNN ISSUE #23 April2012