Fixing the LA River Part 1b

It's a start but it's not the end

The LA River got a little closer to its roots as the official boating program got launched today. The unofficial program has been going for years and it is the reason why the LA River is where it is today. The activists who have risked arrest by hitting the river are the real heroes and they deserve the praise and less those who have hidden behind non-existent laws to promote the boating program. On the day of this event the Canadians who hit the river in February for the sole purpose of exploring LA River were being paddled in court in Van Nuys for their transgressions. Their crime? Setting foot and boat in the LA River. Their charges? Loitering and trespassing.

The LA River will become the LA River when it is fully restored to what it once was: the heart and soul of LA. Please contact me at if you want to become a part of the next wave of truly cleaning up the LA River.


If it Can Happen in New Zealand

It can and will happen here.  LA will have another major earthquake, but sadly we are woefully unprepared for it again.  What you do now, before the earthquake, will determine what your life will be like after.  People are often injured and killed by sort of silly things – flying stereo speakers – during earthquakes.  Start with the following to prepare you and those you love for an earthquake:

Do a hazard hunt for items that might fall in your home during earthquakes and secure them.

Create a disaster preparedness plan and practice it.

Own a fire extinguisher and know how to use it.

Determine how you will establish and maintain contact with people in a cellphone dead world. 

Have an emergency supply stash that will be accessible:

  • Store at least one gallon of water per person, per day, for 3 days and ideally for 2 weeks.
  • What else would you need to be on your own for up to 2 weeks?
  • What would you need if you are in your car or office when the earthquake strikes?

Know and practice Drop, Cover and Hold.

Does LA Need a Little Vitamin G?

LA has a serious shortage of green space and green people. Several studies have indicated that access to green space has many health benefits. With greenspace comes stress reduction, physical activity and social cohesion, and,…gardens, and sometimes even urban farms. What? Farms in LA? How unnatural.

A recent Dutch study looked at 250,000 people and their proximity to green spaces and tabulated their perceived health status. The key finding was a steady decline in the percentage of people perceiving their health to be less than good as the percentage of green space within 3 km of where they lived rose, and that was after controlling statistically for demographic and socioeconomic factors and population density itself (urbanity). The researchers conclude that their study shows that green space should be considered to be more than just a luxury. Darn tootin’. It is essential to life…or at least healthy living.

Euros are of course way out ahead of us on this. The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment ( estimates that Hyde Park in central London contributes 10% to the physical activity of 100,000 people living nearby and that such activity probably saves the British economy £3 million (about $4.2 million) in a year and the National Health Service £600,000.

The LA River is a natural for green space development. Attend a LA River Revitalization Corp meeting and have a say in the future green of your LA River. For more info go to:

Visualize A Better World

Most great things begin with a vision.  LA is at the forefront of world evolution because we are the world and we are indeed blessed with many…worldly artists.  Society of Cinema and Arts or SoCiArts is a production company and online community dedicated to promoting positive social change through the arts and media. SoCiArts’ mission is to create a vibrant environment for creative visionaries to come together and focus on conscious creativity and positive activism to intersect world’s cultures in a constructive manner. Membership with SoCiArts is free and open to anyone and everyone. For more information visit:

Get Your Feet Wet

A motion to establish a boating program in the Los Angeles River, where boating and other water contact activities are prohibited, was recently introduced by Councilman Ed P. Reyes (CD-1).  The program would allow kayaking, rafting and other non-motorized boating on the river for the first time.  The motion directs affected City, county and environmental groups, in coordination with the United States Army Corps of Engineers, to report to the Ad Hoc River Committee in 90 days on the feasibility of establishing a pilot non-motorized boating program for the 32-mile stretch of the L.A. River that lies within the City’s boundaries.  Reyes’ motion further calls for staff to address legal and financial issues, public access, public safety training, education and other matters with respect to water contact activities at the L.A. River.
If you want to take part then here is your link:

Slowly Moving to Moving Less Slowly

The fastest moving vehicle in LA

LA has movement issues. I have had some surreal traffic experiences in my thirty years here, not surreal in a good way…I am not talking Dali existentialist stuff…more “I want to pull my hair out and gouge out my eyes” kind of surreal.

Fortunately there are many trying to fix LA’s traffic problems, and we are on our way to more lines and trains and bike paths and the like, but those fixes are slow in coming. Joel Epstein has written some wonderful pieces about fixing LA’s transportation Inferno and his latest speaks to how we can speed up the solutions. Here is a link to one of them:

Spirit Biz is partnering with Whole Foods Arroyo for a Business Network meeting next Friday, June 13th.

If you would like to attend this breakfast meeting then please call them at 1-877-SOUL-JOB or email Dawn directly at

What: The Business Network Inaugural Meeting
When: Friday, June 13th,  7:30am-9:00am
Where: Whole Foods Market Arroyo Conference Center, located in the first floor Parking Garage. 465 South Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena, CA 91105
Info: 1-877-SOUL-JOB (768-5562)

The aim of is to enable businesses involved in organics, natural health and wellness, spirituality, fitness, and the eco-conscious communities to support one another and assist each other in achieving goals and expanding their reach. What also sets us apart from other networks is that, in addition to offering the spotlight to different businesses at our monthly sessions, we will also be bringing in area speakers to let business owners know about exclusive incentives and opportunities available to them.

Spiritual Connections is the first job and opportunities board exclusively devoted to Southern Californians passionate about organics, health, well-being, spirituality, and the earth.  Searching is always free. Find your dream candidates– post your openings for just $25. 10% of all proceeds benefit Ten Thousand Villages; purveyors of fair trade handicrafts from around the world for over 60 years. Find your bliss at

Making Life Better in L.A.

Community Leaders: Eric Garcetti 

“You can’t look to the stars until you’ve fixed the cracks in the sidewalk,” Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti often says. As the second-term councilmember serving the 13th Council District, Garcetti has shown that a commitment to the street-level health of the community is a necessary first step in creating positive change. Garcetti is arguably the “greenest” government official in LA.

A fourth-generation Angeleno, Eric Garcetti was born at Good Samaritan Hospital and grew up in Los Angeles.  He won a hotly-contested election to the Los Angeles City Council in 2001, becoming one of the youngest city councilmembers in the city’s history.

Unanimously elected as Council President in December 2005 and unanimously re-elected in July 2007, Garcetti promotes the work of each of his fourteen colleagues on the City Council. Council President Garcetti chairs the Rules and Elections Committee. He also serves as Vice-Chair of the Energy and the Environment Committee and sits on the Housing, Community, and Economic Development Committee, which he chaired for four and a half years. He is also the Vice-Chair of the Ad Hoc River Committee and the Ad Hoc Homelessness Committee, and serves on the Ad Hoc Stadium Committee. He was unopposed for re-election and began his second term in office in July of 2005.

He led the effort to fund the nation’s largest Affordable Housing Trust Fund, oversaw the economic and cultural revitalization of Hollywood, wrote and championed Proposition O to clean up our local water, won passage of a plan that eliminated the city’s business tax for 60% of all businesses, and helped bring thousands of new high wage jobs to Los Angeles and his district.  In his district, he tackled neighborhoods’ most intractable problems, doubling the number of parks, ensuring the availability of an after-school program in every school in the district, and reducing graffiti by more than 60 percent.

Councilmember Garcetti’s work has been recognized in dozens of awards, including the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award for Americans under 40 who are changing their communities with a commitment to public service; the Green Cross Millennium Award from former President Mikhail Gorbachev, for environmental leadership; a “Tiger Award” from the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, for his work on business tax reform; the New Democrat of the Week recognition from the Democratic Leadership Council, for his work on safety in commercial office buildings and security officers’ working conditions; and the first Olson Award from Human Rights Watch for his human rights activism. 

Prior to his election, Garcetti taught public policy, diplomacy and world affairs at Occidental College and the University of Southern California. In 1998, the Rockefeller Foundation selected him as a Next Generation Leadership Fellow. Garcetti studied urban planning and political science at Columbia University, where he received his B.A. and M.A. in International Relations. He studied as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and the London School of Economics. He is an avid photographer, jazz pianist and composer. He lives in Echo Park with his partner of twelve years, Amy Elaine Wakeland.