FilterForGood Challenge

April 15, 2009 § 6 Comments

Brita's environmental site:

Brita's environmental site:

Tag! I’m it! Siel, of the fun and informative Green LA Girl blog, challenged me to blog about five things I am doing this Earth Month (apparently Earth Day wasn’t enough) for the good of the earth, and to pass the challenge along to five other bloggers. Yup, it is definitely a viral marketing tie-in for the Brita corporation, who do seem to be concerned about the environment, health, and clean water – and against bottled water (yay! bottled water is pretty nasty for the environment.)   And, if you suspect an interested motive, you’re correct: if I do all this, I may win cool water filter products from Brita.

Here are five things I am doing for good this Earth Month:

1. Gardening-For-GoodSiel pledged to get her garden going, so I’ll start there, too… er… I mean, in my garden though, not hers!  Spring is the best time in the garden. This month I will plant more of my summer veggies – corn, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers… mmmm.  I will work with my neighbors to finish creating our new multi-functional raised bed / seating bench in front of Los Angeles Eco-Village – similar to this one.

2. For-the-Good-of-Hazard-Park – On and off now for a while, I’ve been working on some illustrations for a campaign planning to restore a creekbed and wetlands at Hazard Park. The park is located in Boyle Heights, near County USC Medical Center. This month I will finish my illustrations and will post here at Creek Freak to get the word out on this excellent campaign. Keep your RSS tuned here. I’ll probably post the illustrations at my art blog, too.

3. Parking-For-Good – It’s probably more aptly Not-Parking-For-Good or Less-Parking-For-Good (or maybe Finishing-the-In-Lieu-Parking-Report-For-Good – ok, enough!)  This month I promise to complete my work coordinating the writing and disseminating of a white paper by Dr. Richard W. Willson. The topic (a bit wonky, but actually really good for the environment) is how the city of Los Angeles might implement an “in-lieu fee” to reduce excess parking at new developments in transit-rich areas. Instead of building excessive unneeded parking, new development could pay a portion of the money they would have spent to build infrastructure for bicycing, walking, transit, and/or shared off-street parking. The report was commissioned by the Green LA Transportation Working Group. I’ll be posting that final report on our blog soooon! This month!

4. Reading-For-Good – I am going to read the newly released book This Could Be the Start of Something Big. It’s co-written by my friend and stalwart environmental justice activist Martha Matsuoka. It’s about how regional equity movements are improving our cities.  What, you might ask, is “regional equity”??  Well… it’s a grassroots movement that builds on past work for civil rights and brings it into the way we grow and shape our cities and regions.  There are, of course, entire blogs on it.  Here’s another brief explanation of regional equity, from an article on-line:

Proponents of regional equity blame widespread spacial inequality on a combination of public policy and market forces, and they call on policy makers, elected officials, and community activists to take a regional approach to economic growth so that all residents will benefit.

5. Bicycling-For-Good – I’m going to keep bicycling all over. I am looking forward to a Los Angeles that doesn’t have any cars. I’ve been thinking that I should write a blog entry making those connections between bicycling and environmental/watershed health. Look for that soon, too, here at your friendly neighborhood creak freek.

Here are five bloggers whom I’m passing the challenge along to – they’re all friends and they all have excellent and informative blogs that you should all read immediately!  (Note to my fellow bloggers – no pressure – I will continue to read and adore you, even if you don’t accept my challenge to advertise Brita!)

Andrea at (among others) the L.A. Eco-Village Garden Blog
Erik at Home Grown Evolution
Federico and Yuki at (among others) the Los Angeles Eco-Village Blog
Ilsa at Rambling L.A.
Liz and Shay at C.I.C.L.E.

The good news is that I expect that all of us blogistas so routinely track and savor inbound links, that I probably don’t even need to notify any of them (other than by publishing this blog with their links), though I will.  They’ll probably have discovered that I’ve tagged them before you’ve read this far!

The rules are simple – and to comply with the contest, I’m obligated to post them here. If you’re tagged (or even if you’re just reading this) and you’re up to the challenge, post five things you plan to do for the environment this Earth Month on your blog. At the end of your list, tag five of your favorite blogs, and include a link back to this post using the hyperlinked text “FilterForGood Blog Meme Contest.

Recent News, Upcoming Events 2008 October 30

October 30, 2008 § Leave a comment

A sporadic consolidation of news and events designed to appeal to the discriminating tastes of local creek freaks:

The endangered Arroyo Toad (public domain photo from Wikipedia)

The endangered Arroyo Toad (public domain photo from Wikipedia)

Amplexus is the technical term for toad nooky. KPCC environmental reporter Ilsa Setziol blogs on amphibian species found in local mountain waterways.

Jenny price recently became an artist. Accidentally.  Price, a person who can really write about urban nature, blogs on the need for artists’ imagination to reconnect our populace with our local rivers.  Creek Freaks should get hip to her role as an urban ranger, read Thirteen Ways of Seeing Nature in L.A., and sign-up for LA River tours that she leads.

Anahuak is “not just about soccer anymore,” Macias said. “It’s about making good citizens. That’s why I feel satisfaction. Doing this has made me feel that I have a mission.”  The Los Angeles Times reports on Raul Macias, the man behind the youth soccer league that’s revitalizing the Los Angeles River and connecting communities with nature.  (Via The City Project blog.)

I picked up a paddle to make a point about protecting the integrity of our waters.  Threatened with suspension, Los Angeles River kayaker and federal Army Corps of Engineers biologist Heather Wylie pens an editorial for the Los Angeles Times.  (Lest you misinterpret, the Times states that “The opinions expressed are her own and do not reflect the official views of the [Army] Corps. [of Engineers]”)

Upcoming Events:

Election Day is Tuesday November 4th!  Vote like your local creek depended on it.

Come see the city of Los Angeles’ latest proposals for the Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan at two open house meetings: Thursday November 6th at 6pm at Ann Street School and Saturday November 8th at 10am at Goodwill.

Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti invites you to “A Day on the River” on Saturday November 8th from 9am to 11:30am at Crystal Street Bicycle Park in Elysian Valley.

Urban Photo Adventures hosts a Los Angeles River photography tour on November 8th and 9th.  Includes presentations by blogger, author and procrastinator Joe Linton.

The city of Los Angeles’ Ad Hoc River Committee meets on Monday November 17th at 3pm at City Hall.

Check out the latest designs for Los Angeles State Historic Park on Thursday November 20th at 6:30pm at the Los Angeles Conservation Corps Clean and Green headquarters.

Friends of the Los Angeles River offers two new tours: Saturday November 22nd bike tour (led by Ramona Marks) and Sunday December 7th lower Los Angeles River bus tour (led by Jenny Price.)

Don’t forget about the downtown Los Angeles Public Library’s map exhibition, which closes January 22nd 2009.

(Thanks to the city of Los Angeles’ river revitalization headlines for posting some of these events, and especially their associated documents.)

Ballona’s bike path: at a fork in the road.

August 30, 2008 § 6 Comments


A sore sight for the eyes.

Ballona bike path: A sore sight for the eyes.

A little over a week ago, a friend of mine got mugged while bicycling on Ballona Creek.  He was riding to work, commuting by bike as so many more of us could be doing in this city of fine weather.  Ballona Creek has a Class I (separated from traffic) bike path, albeit one marked by an aesthetic of human-dwarfing concrete.  He was mugged while riding the underpass below the 405 Freeway, a dark interlude on an otherwise blindingly bright path, one of several muggings that one day.  One of the muggers actually apologized to him, giving him the impression the action was a gang initiation.  At the same time, the police response was along the lines of “just don’t use the bike path.”  My friend later discovered that his crime on the creek never got placed on the LAPD’s crime map – the reason being it didn’t have an address.   

A mere few months ago, a nearby neighborhood was up in arms over similar crimes committed in their neighborhood, crimes which they attributed to young thugs who accessed their neighborhood via gates off the bike path.  This community rallied the support of the local councilman to have their access point locked off, to the dismay of the bicycling and environmental communities seeking to beautify and encourage use of the creek and bike path.  At the community meeting, the police indicated that locking the gate was their recommended solution.  It was frustrating that tales of crimes against bicyclists also surfaced (as well as non-bike-path related neighborhood jumpings), but were ignored.  (these stories and related posts can also be found on Streetsblog.)

And in between these two events, a local conservancy planning a new park which would provide a flash of beauty to the bike path’s current rather demoralizing aesthetics met with opposition from yet another neighborhood that feared the people who would be drawn to use the park.  I believe that subsequent meetings have progressed better than the initial one.  


Circa 2005 construction photo of Centinela overlook on Ballona Creek.

Circa 2005 construction photo of Centinela overlook on Ballona Creek, a project of the Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority.

My point is that fear is alive and well on Ballona, and other, creeks.  We have a conflict over land management, one fueled by very real, frightening experiences and a larger collective rejection of our public spaces and neglect for our youth.  We need and deserve better responses from government than a bunker mentality that writes off open space and access for legitimate users.  We need to reclaim and invest in our public lands, and in our youth.  These kids, pressured into committing crimes by older kids, lack positive structures, supervision and role models in their immediate spheres.  We fail them with our feeble-minded lack of interest in them, and members of the public pay the price.  What is also surprising is that Ballona already has many legitimate users and that still didn’t act as a preventive. Obviously we need to take action to increase their safety: patrols, beautification, lights in places like the 405 underpass, creekside development.  Bad urbanism breeds the worst behavior in the most abandoned landscapes.  So let’s move forward with occupying and reclaiming them.  The Conservancies, Culver City, and some community groups from Mid-City to Playa del Rey have stepped up to the plate with good ideas and investments.  Now, LAPD, City of LA, and adults everywhere, we need you to step up too.

Stay tuned for some crazy – and not so crazy – ideas for a Ballona Greenway.

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