WARRIORS, GHOSTS AND ANCIENT GODS OF THE PACIFIC

“What holds you, rather, is the stand-off between different kinds and orders of
imagery, between hard lines and sprayed ones. action and stillness, elegance and
regression.”
Suth
Justin Paton, the Curator of International Art of the Art Gallery of New
South Wales in Sydney, made the statement in an article for Art and Australia
about Gajin Fugita. .

Fugita took a BFA from Otis College of Art and Design, and an MFA from the
University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His work has been widely shown in museums
and galleries in this country and abroad, as well as in group shows here and
abroad.

Recognized for his painting style that merges traditional Japanese iconography
with Los Angeles street culture and American pop references, Fujita’s recent works display refinements of technical skill and subject matter Using a stable of
materials and methods, including spray paint (applied loosely and through
intricately hand-cut stencils), paint markers and gold leaf on wood panels, .
Fugita has created some of his most complex and ambitious paintings to date.

“Gajin Fujita: Warriors, Ghosts, And Ancient Gods of the Pacific,” the artist’s
fifth show at LA Louver opens Wednesday, May 27. A reception for the artist
will begin at 7 pm, .

An exhibition of works by six sculptors – Tony Cragg, Richard Beacon, Joel
Shapiro, Peter Shelton, Sui Jianguo and Matt Wedel — will open in the
Second floor gallery simultaneously

Valet parking is provided.
A new short film on Gajin Fujita produced in conjuntion with the exhibition: www.lalouver.com/fujita

L A LOUVER 45 N. Venice Blvd.

PONIES END 12-YEAR RUN AT SUNDAY FARMERS MARKET

After featuring a carousel pony ride for twelve years at the Sunday Main Street
Market, the City of Santa Monica ended it earlier this month.

The ride featured ponies teathered to a metal bar, and, beginning in 2005, it became
the site of occasional protests. The protests culminated in 2014 with a petition
signed by over 2,000 people calling for an end to city-sponsored animal exploitation.

Market-goers no longer encounter children on ponies circling shoeless in one direction on a concrete surface. Now market patrons enjoy brunch while listening to bands, including the retro-Beverly Belles, and the rocking Masanga Marimba, an eclectic mix of sounds
from Zimbabwe and Latin America. Patrons are invited to join in singing, dancing, and marimba playing.

On the heels of a Sept. 9, 2014, City Council vote to give preference to non-animal vendors at the entrance to the market, the Department of Housing and Economic Develop-
ment launched a pilot program, inviting alternative children’s activity vendors and chefs to submit applications for painting, arts and crafts, cooking demonstrations, and more.

Those interested in participating in the pilot program may download an application here:

http://www.smgov.net/portals/farmersmarket/

and copy the following when submitting the application: application:jodi.low@smgov.net, jason.harris@smgov.net, andy.agle@smgov.net and elaine.polachek@smgov.net

Participants in the pilot program have included Main Street’s Books and Cookies, a children’s book store which offers story-telling and Bricks 4 Kidz, a company that
works with schools to encourage engineering through lego-building of space stations
and amusement parks.

Meanwhile, animal protection advocate Marcy Winograd is taking her case to the California Court of Appeal, where judges will be asked to dismiss the pony operators’ lawsuit on the grounds that it is an attack on the First Amendment and petition rights protected by California law . Previously, a lower court judge dismissed part of the suit against Winograd and all of the causes of action against another local resident, Danielle Charney, whose lawyers collected $20,000 in legal fees from animal vendors Tawni Angel and Jason Nester — this after the judge declared the suit a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation or SLAPP intended to chill public debate.

A BRIEF COURSE IN MEDIOCRE ARCHITECTURE

One of Santa Monica’s most significant assets is its ability to absorb mediocre
architecture without being diminished by it.

Since 1989, when the new buildings on the west end of Santa Monica Pier opened,
the City of Santa Monica has not built one really fine building. The pier buildings
overlook one of the great American coastlines. The old buildings, which were
destroyed in the storms of 1983, were glass boxes. The new buildings had no glass
at all..

The mystery of the missing windows was never resolved. The architect vanished, and
subsequently surfaced in San Francisco. Windows were eventually cut in some walls,
but they have a makeshift look, which is, of course, utterly honest and eternally disappointing.

Ken Edwards was a wise, kind mayor, who died in office. The notion of naming a
building for him was a nice idea, but the building looks like nothing so much as
a tract house in New Hampshire, overlooks Fourth Street traffic jams and has been expendable from the day it opened.

If the Ken Edwards center is pointless, the Public Safety Building is too emphatic
— a brutal structure that insults the gorgeous City Hall and looms over the east-
bound Fourth Street exit from the 10, as if to warn arrivals to mind their manners.

As the new Main Library was taking shape, someone summed it up succinctly and
.finally.“It looks like a branch of the L.A. County Jail,” he said. And it did.
And does. And it only provided space for 50,000 additional books, which, in effect,
suggests that literature is on its way to oblivion.

Then, as if to prove that it has no taste, the City commissioned what is surely the ugliest parking structure in the history of parking structures on Fourth Street.

But all that turned out to be a minor bleep on the townscape, when compared to the
City’s mega-blunder: “The Village.” .

In an astonishing move, unmatched in the annals of wrong moves, the City paid $53
million to buy back some of the land it sold to RAND decades earlier for $250,000.
RAND held onto four acres on which it built what appears to be an earthbound blimp
that is at odds with virtually everything else in the area.

The City got it wrong from the start. It dubbed its new mega-project, “The Village,” though it was not a village by any definition. and was a joint venture: the City of
Santa Monica and The Related Companies, one of the largest real estate developers in America,

Now virtually complete, “The Village” is a garish tall wall of 134 rent controlled apartments and about the same number of “luxury condos.” The sheer scale and size of
the project shattered all the precedents, and violated all the traditions. An unsubstantiated rumor has it that Related leased all the rental units in one day.

“The Waverly,” the first of the “luxury condominium” buildings is now open and sell-
ing ($2,500,000 – $4,150,000). Ultimately, it is said, there will be restaurants and shops in all the buildings. So it is that once upon a time, there were wide expanses
of open space and trees, gardens and grass, but now there are gangs of over-sized, visually noisy towers.

According to former mayor Richard Bloom, the primary purpose of “The Village” is to provide customers for Santa Monica Place and Third Street.

The condo marketing boasts about the “luxurious urban beach lifestyle.” But, of course, “urban beach lifestyle” is an oxymoron.

“The Village” has risen like a bizarre renunciation of everything we value in the
heart of our gloriously idiosyncratic beach town. The good news is that the City
Council majority of four who took campaign contributions from developers and returned
the favor by approving their projects no longer prevails. And the new majority of four doesn’t take campaign contributions from developers,

On June 3, the City’s proposed “Plaza at Santa Monica” will be reviewed by the Plann-
ing Commission. It’s not only mediocre architecture, it’s too big, out of scale and,
like the Hines project, the “activity centers,” the “tier threes” and “the Village,”
it does not belong here. . .

MAKING THE EXPO LINE A GAME-CHANGER — WHERE EVERYONE WINS

By SMa.r.t. on May 23, 2015 i

Now that our City Council has reformed the old zoning ordinance into a new, more opaque document, it is moving on to the adoption of a specific plan for our downtown. Let’s hope that the new Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) will fare better and result in a clearer, more resident-friendly document. The DSP should be a fact-based, open public process that sets out a vision for the integration of the new Expo Line into the downtown area. The success or failure to achieve this may well determine our City’s future. Will thousands of new daily visitors bring vibrancy to our City, or exacerbate the current problems of traffic and overdevelopment — or both?

When the new zoning code was being re-written, the process appeared to be driven more by external forces than the needs and desires of the City’s residents. It was a piecemeal approach that corrected some problem areas but ignored others. This must not happen with the DSP. The stakes are too high. It should provide a fresh vision that preserves our unique beach character while looking into to a future with an ever-growing daily visitor population. The new Expo Line will bring thousands into our Downtown area and the pressures on our infrastructure and current residents will be immense. It will require an innovative, well thought-out analysis and solution.

Residents and visitors alike desire a unified shopping and walking experience, one that is both convenient and enjoyable. Currently this is not always the case. More of an effort is needed to integrate our main commercial spine (The Promenade) with the rest of the downtown commercial district. One way to accomplish this would be with more mid-block pedestrian links between blocks, providing additional smaller tenancies and perhaps lower rents. This would help to broaden and enhance the downtown retail experience.

If the mid-block pedestrian passageways were open to the sky and tree-lined, they could create pathways to unify the downtown district and enhance the pedestrian experience with a secondary east-west circulation network. They would add convenience, greenery, charm and openness to a dense downtown that has now been expanded to Lincoln.

With the expansion of downtown the center has shifted east. A new urban park on the City-owned land at 4th/5th and Arizona could become the “heart” and focal point for the entire downtown district. The commercial areas east of 4th would become more connected to the west end, creating a cohesiveness to the downtown area that does not currently exist.
The next step would be to create a pedestrian-friendly link to the Expo Station. While there has been a laudable effort by the City’s planners to anticipate the impact of the new Expo Line, the resulting plan may not be robust enough to cope with the competing pedestrian and vehicle traffic effectively. Would the planned Esplanade to the Pier and beaches function better if it bridged above the north/south bound traffic at 4th St., or at the Main St. to 2nd St. crossings? And what about the impact of traffic as people pick up or drop off at the new Expo Station? How will commuters exit the 10 Freeway towards the Expo drop-off or Downtown?

Aware of the potential for gridlock at this important portal to the City, the City Council recently contacted Caltrans to request a study. Although it is late in the game, such a study is now being conducted, but it is difficult to understand how it was not integral to the original design. The area in and around the old Sears building will of necessity become a transit hub for our beach community. As such, it will require ample parking and different transit options for those who are not yet at their final destinations. Wouldn’t it make sense to create a convenient linkage to Lincoln Blvd. as well? The fact that the Expo Line will be entering downtown at street level creates numerous safety and convenience challenges. Current estimates put the eventual ridership on the Expo at more than 30,000 per day. While not all of these riders will end up in Santa Monica, those arriving downtown will have a great impact on our streets and infrastructure.

The ultimate question for the new Downtown Specific Plan is “are there no limits to growth downtown, and if there are, what are they?” We have already become the most densely visited and populated beach town in California, and at some point the City will need to answer the question, what is sustainable? Until that happens, one way to control the impact is to limit the heights of new structures downtown to 4 stories. This limit could be revisited later, but in the interim would provide some breathing room for the City to upgrade its infrastructure as well as multi-modal circulation elements, experience the arrival of the Expo, and evaluate its impact on the downtown and surrounding areas.

In summary, we would challenge the planning staff to draft a new Downtown Specific Plan only after a comprehensive traffic analysis and infrastructure review, and an analysis of the projected and actual impacts from the new Expo Line. We hope that the recommendations resulting from such a study will be respectful of the land-use and zoning wishes of the residents and without bias either for or against development interests. Ideally, the new DSP would provide additional open space, public ways for the safe mixing of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and insure that ample parking exists for residents and visitors alike at our new Expo Station.

It is already clear that the Expo Line will be a “game changer” for our “sleepy beach town.” Let’s do all we can to insure that it is a change for the better. If so, it will be a win for both residents and tourists so that Santa Monica can continue to be an attractive, enjoyable place to both live and visit.

Samuel Tolkin, Architect for SMa.r.t. (Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow)
Mario Fonda-Bonardi AIA, Thane Roberts AIA, Architect, Robert H. Taylor AIA, Ron Goldman FAIA, Daniel Jansenson Architect, Samuel Tolkin Architect, Armen Melkonians Civil & Environmental Engineer, Phil Brock Chair, Parks & Recreation Commission.
For previous articles, see www.santamonicaarch.wordpress.com/writings.

SANTA MONICA MAYOR TAKES ANOTHER JOB

Santa Monica’s new Mayor and veteran City Councilman Kevin McKeown has been elected Vice-Chair of the Westside Cities Council of Governments (COG), a multi-jurisdictional body addressing regional issues including traffic, transit, social services, and sustainability.

He has already assumed office, and is now in line to become COG chair next year. Besides Santa Monica, the Westside Cities Council of Governments includes Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Culver City, and parts of the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County.

On assuming his new role, McKeown said, “Mobility and traffic are our chief challenges on the Westside, and I look forward to continued multi-city cooperation on transit, traffic management, and responsible, sustainable land use.”

He’s an old COG hand. He helped transform the less formal Westside Cities group into an official, regional council and served as Santa Monica’s delegate or alternate to the COG continuously since its formation in 2006. Among his contributions were an agreement to consider joint social issues, including homelessness, and the procedural structure of the COG, favoring consensus rather than potentially divisive votes.

For many years, McKeown was co-chair of the COG’s Environmental Committee.

In his first action as Vice-Chair, Mayor McKeown led the COG to support local control over short term rentals in potential state laws, further supporting Santa Monica’s recent vacation rental ordinance.

Jeff Cooper of Culver City is the current Chair, and Beverly Hills’ William is Secretary.

CAPITAL & MAIN: A VALLEY CURSED WITH WATER

May 22, 2015

The Owens Valley has twice had its crystalline spring waters drained by a thirsty Los Angeles, 200 miles away. But now a hardscrabble community here faces the possibility
that its aquifer is being laced with arsenic and other toxins – thanks to a water bottling plant operated by Crystal Geyser Roxane.

Read Leighton Woodhouse’s disturbing report on how corporate dissembling and govern-
ment indifference have played out against the backdrop of an epic drought.

Also this week:

L.A. Advances Toward $15 Minimum Wage By Bobbi Murray
Arbitration Clauses: More Job Seekers Are Signing on a Crooked Dotted Line By Gary Cohn
Jobs & the Environment: An L.A. County Report Card By Judith Lewis Mernit
A Bill to Save Jobs for California Musicians By John Acosta

—Danny Feingold, Publisher, Capital & Main

SMC STUDENT IS FINALIST IN NY TIMES “MODERN LOVE” CONTEST

Witty perspective offered in “Swearing Off the Modern Man”

Santa Monica College student Jochebed (Jo) Smith was one of four finalists in the
New York Times Modern Love College Essay Contest. In “Swearing Off the Modern Man,”
she takes a witty, stripped-down look at the contrasts and overlaps in modern and
old–school approaches to dating, developing relationships, and simple communication.

“Jo’s voice really comes through in that essay, and so does her talent,” said SMC
English instructor Joelle Adams. “I wasn’t aware that Jo was writing a piece for
contest, but I’m not surprised that she did, or that she placed as a finalist. She’s always stood out as a very engaged student, with insightful questions and comments.
Jo has demonstrated determination and insight in all of her work for my classes.”

“This whole thing happened because I was browsing social media late one night, and
saw a tweet about the Modern Love contest,” said Smith. “I thought, ‘Oh, wow! I have plenty of material to work from for this, and everything that hurts and is awful will
be funny in time,’ so I decided to take the challenge.”

An art history major, Smith said, “I’m really thrilled. This is the first piece I
feel I’ve ever really finished.”

Smith works at the Hammer Museum, and her current favorite artist is British architect and designer Thomas Heatherwick. “But I love any type of creative expression,” she
said, adding that her plans include incorporating acting back into her life.

Smith said she enrolled at SMC because “I’m shooting for UCLA, and this seemed like
the best and fastest way to get there.” Her goal is to apply next fall for transfer
in 2016 to continue her studies in art history at UCLA.

Smith’s essay – online at www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/style/swearing-off-the-modern-man.html – was published under the headline “The Allure of an Old-School Romance” –
in the Sunday national edition of the New York Times (page ST6) on May 17, 2015.

The Modern Love College Essay Contest – a feature of the New York Times Modern Love column dedicated to reader-submitted essays exploring the ups and downs of love – attracted works from almost 1,800 students from 489 colleges and universities nat-
ionwide, according to Daniel Jones, the column’s editor and the author of “Love Illuminated: Exploring Life’s Most Mystifying Subject (With the Help of 50,000 Strangers).”

###

Photos & Captions:

Jo-Smith-NYT.jpg OR Jo-Smith-NYT-1.jpg: Santa Monica College student Jochebed (Jo) Smith holds a copy of the New York Times with her essay “Swearing Off the Modern Man,” selected as one of the four finalists in the Modern Love College Essay Contest.

LA’S NEW MINIMUM WAGE PUTS LA OUT IN FRONT OF NATION’S MOST PRESSING ISSUE

Sometimes it’s hard to recognize history in the making. But let there be no doubt that this week’s move by the Los Angeles City Council to raise wages for nearly 800,000 women and men ranks as one of L.A.’s greatest accomplishments.

Though it’s not official yet (a final vote is expected in the next few weeks), L.A. will soon become the largest U.S. municipality to enact a citywide minimum wage increase. When passed in its final form, the hike will not only gradually lift wages to more than $15 an hour — it will set some of the toughest enforcement standards in the nation. The proposed ordinance’s wage theft protections are a crucial component, serving as a deterrent to employers who may be tempted to skirt the law. And L.A. is now on a path to reach another milestone: paid sick leave for workers across the city.

LAANE is proud to be a part of the incredible Raise the Wage Coalition that has brought Los Angeles to the brink of a momentous achievement. There is much work ahead as we strive to create an economy that works for all, but this is a moment for all of us to savor.

LAANE = A NEW ECONOMY FOR LOS ANGELES = is a leading advocacy organization dedicated to building a new economy for all. Combining dynamic research, innovative public policy and the organizing of broad alliances, LAANE promotes a new economic approach based on good jobs, thriving communities and a healthy environment.

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COMMITTEE FOR RACIAL JUSTICE TO TAKE PART IN THREE IMPORTANT EVENTS

TODAY, Thursday (5/21), 6:30 p.m., the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District
Board will hear a significant report from Sandra Lyon and Terry Deloria, Re Equity and Access. An Analysis of African American and Hispanic Students Performance and System Response.” In other words, we’ll get an hour-long update on their efforts to narrow the achievement gap between white students and students of color.

Study session Item No.5.02 190 minutes.

Historically, African American and Hispanic students have underperformed both nationally and locally. While recent school efforts have seen improvement in the Hispanic perfor-mance, African American performance remains flat.

It is vital that we are in attendance to voice our support for a program that will address the needs of Black and Brown youth. We must be sure that the board and staff understand the importance of programs that uplift ethnic histories and addresses issues of importance to Black and Brown youth; programs like Village Nation.

2. Most of you know that we on the Committee for Racial Justice have been working on this issue for almost four years. This year, the Intercultural Equity and Excellence District Advisory Committee. have recommended to the Board that it bring The Village Nation to SAMOHI in the fall as an addition to the Restorative Justice program in place there – so far there’s been no response. We’ll also hear about efforts to help disengaged students achieve their potential in grades K – 12.

Come join us at 6:30pm this evening Thursday, at the School District offices to express our concerns or just to give support to community members who will speak on this important issue.

Hope to see you there,

3. Next Thursday night, May 28th , the Santa Monica City Council will hear the budget proposal from the Police Department for next year. In light of the recent Virginia Avenue Park incident in which an African American man was brutalized by police while trying to charge his electric car, as well as the long history of racial profiling experienced by people of color in Santa Monica (we’re not exempt from the experiences that are prompting current national discussions about problems in police culture),

We urge you to attend the meeting and voice your concerns about discriminatory policing and use of excessive force. Details about time and place will be sent out next week.

4. Save the evening of June 5th for our next CRJ workshop. The topic will be equity in policing. More details to come. We know that some of you haven’t heard from us much in recent months because of glitches in our email list. Sorry about that, but we have reconstituted the listserve from our old sign in sheets so that it is more complete now. If you don’t want to receive emails from the Committee for Racial Justice, reply to this one and ask to be removed. As ever, we’ll start with a potluck supper at 6 pm

If you don’t want to receive emails from the Committee for Racial Justice, reply to this one and ask to be removed.