Mayor Garbageciti’s Los Angeles

It is probable and likely and arguable that Los Angeles is perhaps the dirtiest large city in the United States.

Gilmore near Columbus, Van Nuys, CA.

Near LA Fitness, Sepulveda Bl. Van Nuys, CA.

New York, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, Denver, Dallas, Miami: they do not have the amount of illegal dumping, trash, shopping carts of garbage, furniture, mountains of debris and litter in every park, street, and parking lot.

A morning walk to the gym, encompassing half a mile along Columbus, Victory and Sepulveda in Van Nuys brings one past neglect on a large and small scale, from the homeless taking over bus benches, to the non-homeless indifference to sanitation which is a hallmark of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles does not present a picture of a civilized city to anyone. Besides our nightly news of shootings and car chases, we have transformed our environment into a city where it is embarrassing to show visitors around, where the infrastructure, from pollution to transportation to parks, is sub-standard.

Put aside the yellow air, and the starter homes for $1.2 million next to a freeway. Put aside the sprawl of mini-malls and billboards and car washes and marijuana clinics and muffler shops and junk food. Put aside the speeding cars running red lights, the people, one to a car, driving to work at 5 MPH. And, of course, little spoken of…. the morning rush hour of white parents taking their kids to a school 25 miles away from home because the local school is too darkly complexioned for many liberals to bear.

The Bus Bench Near Victory at Sepulveda

Normality in Modern Los Angeles.

Yes, dismiss all that and just focus on the trash, the trash everywhere, the trash that is all around us. 

Are you listening Mayor Garbageciti? Or are you on a flight to somewhere to lay the groundwork for your presidential run?

Along Sepulveda. Nobody’s responsibility.

1949: A $72 Million Dollar Flood Control Plan to Waterproof SFV

Van Nuys Blvd. 1938 flood

Flooded area at Ventura Boulevard and Colfax Avenue in Studio City. 1938 (LAPL)

After March 1938 Flood: Lankershim Bl. looking north near Universal City. Photo: by Herman Schultheis

After the disastrous 1938 floods, the City of Los Angeles worked with the State of California and the Federal Government, specifically The Army Corps of Engineers, to encase the rivers of Los Angeles in a waterproof lined concrete sewer to expel waters during the rainy season.

These December 1949 photographs, archived at the LAPL in the “Valley Times Collection”, show the splendid progress of turning natural riverbeds into something distinctively man-made without natural life.  The cost, at the time, was $72 million, which is perhaps $800 million today, but sounds like a bargain, since the Getty Center mountaintop gouge and railroad itself cost $1.3 billion dollars upon completion in 1997 and the widening of the 405 five years ago was a $1.6 billion dollar project that has since added one lane in each direction and shaved 10 seconds off each commuter’s journey.

And let us ponder that our latest crisis, homelessness, will be remedied by taxpayer dollars close to $5 billion.  Not the Federal Government, not the State of CA, but taxpayers, you and me will shell out to well-meaning bureaucrats and post-collegiate interns, $4.6 billion to build housing — 10,000 units in 10 years — and “provide supportive services” for homeless people.  When every person in need on every continent around the world, every down and out person from every state, city and town in the US, Canada and Mexico, arrives in Los Angeles, we will see how well this plan goes down.  It once was against the law to dump garbage in parks, to set up tent cities on sidewalks, to sleep on benches, under bridges, but now this is a behavior eliciting “compassion” because that’s how you are directed and asked to speak of it. You must not condemn what your own eyes tell you is wrong.  Let it grow, let it expand, then create new programs to fight it, until it becomes unstoppable.

A city that once built hundreds of miles concrete rivers to stop flooding, cannot erect temporary shelters and police the filth and disorder and rampant grossness of the ever growing homeless situation. 1949 was a different time, for Angelenos were not intimidated and cowered into attacking threats that endangered the growth, health and well-being of this city.

Lankershim and Cahuenga

Riverside and Whitsett

Laurel Canyon Bl. near Ventura.

The concreting of the LA River in the San Fernando Valley allowed the development of housing right up to the edge of the old slopes. No longer would houses and apartments face potential destruction from heavy rains and overflowing waters.  Soon the freeways would come through, another onslaught of concrete that helped transform the San Fernando Valley from a place of horses and orange groves to one of parking lots and 10-lane local boulevards.

Today, in many parts of the LA River, most notably in Frogtown and along some sections of Studio City, there are naturalizing effects going on, and residents are biking, hiking, and even boating where it is permitted in the once fetid waters of the river.


Can You Tell if a Street is Safe Just By Looking? – Technology – The Atlantic Cities

Can You Tell if a Street is Safe Just By Looking? – Technology – The Atlantic Cities.

Architects in Mexico Design Homes that Help Women and Families.

While America enters what seems like a permanent decline, Mexico, long poor and often derided, is moving ahead with progressive architecture and social innovations.

Adobe for Women is constructing twenty sustainable houses in  San Juan Mixtepec, in the south Mexican state of Oaxaca.

Read more about the project here.

Pedestrian Friendly LA?

Century-City-Condo, originally uploaded by Here in Van Nuys.

From Project for Public Spaces:

“L.A. County has begun to rewrite the “DNA” of its streets with a new Model Streets Manual that will set guidelines to support improved safety, livability and active transportation options.

This effort was supported through a grant from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, through its RENEW initiative. RENEW stands for “Renewing Environments for Nutrition, Exercise and Wellness.” It’s inspiring to see a health-focused organization embrace a leadership role in Placemaking by broadening the scope of its concern to include planning for the built environment.

There is a growing understanding that streets configured to support an active lifestyle can lead to positive community health outcomes.

As Streetsblog reports, team lead Ryan Snyder of Ryan Snyder Associates has said the manual is like “the DNA of our streets, and it defines everything from where to place bike lanes to how wide a roundabout should be.”

Cloudy Morning: Van Nuys.

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Cloudy Morning: Van Nuys

Under the cover of clouds, I walked along Kester, Sylvan, Van Nuys Blvd., Aetna, and Oxnard streets this morning.

Kester is well-known as perhaps the filthiest street in Van Nuys, with trash-filled curbs, wrecked vehicles, and yards full of debris and neglect. Slumlord owners and indifferent managers create much of the property abuse. The tenants, amazingly, do not. It is not the fault of a renter if a building fails to repair a damaged roof, or if a mini-mall cannot sweep its curb daily.

Sylvan, between Kester and Van Nuys Blvd., is a mixture of older homes, 1950s and 60s apartments, and new construction. Some of the buildings are quite neat and tidy, while others have couches, garbage cans, and discards strewn about.

Van Nuys Blvd. is neither broken down or upscale. It is just simply unpleasant. There is nowhere good to eat; nothing fashionable to buy. Cars speed by, on a six-lane street, under the daytime burning sun and nighttime orange glow of the cobra lamps.

Most of the stores are for bail, legal services, pot dispensaries and do-it-yourself salvation/damnation churches.

A very red-hot dog stand is a bright note on Erwin and VNB right across from the Mall. An apron clad, Asian woman working there, seeing my camera, came outside and motioned me to not photograph the building. Business must be very good there to turn away free publicity.

Aetna and Bessemer, two streets that parallel the Busway, are industrial and contain machine shops, car repair and other functions involving grinding, grease and garbage.

On Aetna at Vesper, there is an elegant, two-story, Art Deco, 1930s structure that must have served some governmental function seven decades ago. It stands amidst the vast asphalt car lots and waiting braceros.

All that is missing from this environment is a plan and the money to remake it. Kandahar, Islamabad and Baghdad stand in front of the line, ahead of Van Nuys, at Uncle Sam’s bank.