Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Militant's 2008 Round-Up!

WHATUP?! It's been a while. Belated Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa and Awesome Boxing day to all of you.

What was 2008 like for the Militant? Let's see now!

The Militant's 2008 went off to a slow start - you can say a semi-hibernated state, but then he discovered some new-ish places in Downtown Los Angeles, and even stepped into the Orange Curtain. He also joined Facebook, where he set up his own account (add him as a friend, he won't decline!). He also covered the MLK Day Parade near the Crenshaw District. But instead it was his K-9 unit that went free at last, only to be found safely days later in West Los Angeles, several miles from the compound. Speaking of animals, the Militant helped usher in The Year of the Rat in Chinatown in early February.

In March, armed with a video camera, he rode some Red Cars at the Orange Empire Railway Museum out in Perris and did his very first Vlog entry, where readers heard what may or may not have been the Militant's speaking voice. RE-RUN!:

Speaking of trolleys, he joined a Ride-Arc ride where the cyclists re-traced some of the old transit lines. Speaking of Ride-Arc, what happened to it? He did go on rides through Pasadena, and a solo ride from the compound to Venice Beach. He even explored the other bike culture.

The Militant loves his City's neighborhoods, so he brought you to The 'Shaw, Little Armenia, Historic Filipinotown, Hollywood's Guitar Row and the potential Little Bangladesh. He even featured the City's Hair District.

One of the biggest hot-button issues here in Los Angeles Blogdom is the whole Eastside/Westside delineation thingamabob that no one can get enough of, wether they be the correct locals or the incorrect transplant gentrificados. The Militant finally put his foot down on the issue and defined it once and for all, which came in the form of not a line but an entire central region of the City dividing west and east...But what ever should it be called?

There was no shortage of festive street activities to be found: Cherry Blossom in Little Tokyo, Earth Day in Mid-Wilshire, Historic Filipinotown's anniversary, Echo Park's Lotus Festival and the ginormous Songkran in Thai Town. He also didn't go to Sumshit Dysfunction Sunset Junction. Farmer's Markets in Highland Park and South Pasadena also were neato destinations for this Militant.

Hey, what's that? The crack of the bat? The scent of Dodger Dogs? It's time for Dodger Baseball! And boy was it a time in 2008, with the team celebrating its 50th anniversary with a return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (the largest baseball game evar in attendance, an event so big, the Militant just had to vlog it!) and a memorable Opening Day.

Now that the Dodgers have been a Los Angeles institution for half a century, the Militant figured it was time to use their new bicycle parking facilities. But alas, it was really just the Top Deck's smoking section. Heck, even the Coliseum had better bike parking. But whether he rode to The Stadium on bike, by car or via the new Dodger Trolley(bus), The Militant thought it was a great season. A season of young Clayton Kershaw, and of course, MANNY. A season in which the Boys in Blue won the NL West, and celebrated. They even swept the Cubbies to win their first postseason series since you-know-when. Alas, their NLCS rival had soon their Phil of victory. But hey, at least we can still look forward to the Next 50 years...

In 2008, the Militant celebrated his fi(r)st anniversary as a bloggerista, with a Month of Militancy in the month of May (or may not), and revealing himself to the world (kinda sorta) for the very first time via a vlog entry. And what would a Militant be without dispelling some very popular myths directed at Los Angeles?

The Militant was most proud of his posts connecting the past with the present, especially in 2008, after lots of Militant research, he finally uncovered some of our lost creeks: Sacatela Creek (Los Feliz to Koreatown) and Arroyo de los Jardines (Hollywood to Mid-City). He also loved walking up and down the Franklin Hills Public Stairways.

There were new things to explore in '08: Glendale's Americana at Brand (meh), Downtown's Vista Hermosa Park (cool), Metro's TransitVue info screens (finally) and TAP card (beep).

And who could forget that 5.4 seismic rump shaker that shook on July 29?

Finally, the Militant ended 2008 with a car-less weekend getaway to San Diego, and a failed bid to be appointed as the next LAUSD Superintendent. Better luck next time!

So what does 2009 hold? There's lots in store for this fine City. There's an election coming up, a new Metro Rail extension going to The Eastside, and depending on how things go, there may or may not be celebratory parades for our more prominent basketball and baseball teams. Until then, Happy 2009 to you and STAY MILITANT!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Quantum of Solis*: An Angelena Joins Obama's Cabinet

Okay, so the Militant may or may not have been selected as the new LAUSD Superintendent (damnit!), but the Militant is pleased to find out today that The Funky President has selected a native Angelena to head the U.S. Department of Labor. Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis, who represents California's 32nd congressional district, which stretches from The Real Eastside and through the San Gabriel Valley to Covina, was chosen by Obama on Thursday to join the 44th President's cabinet. Cool deal, since the Militant was concerned that Obama was being a little too Chicago/Illinois-centric in his picks.

Solis is the first person from the Southland to be on board the new administration, especially since her colleague (and the Militant's own congressman) Xavier Becerra opted to stay in da House rather than take on the U.S. Trade Representative position. Though she's a native Angelena, she's not the first So Cal native on Obama's cabinet -- Commerce Secretary-designate and New Mexico governor Bill Richardson was born in Pasadena. And for anyone keeping score, Obama's got three Latinos and two Asian Americans in his cabinet...tokens no more!

So congrats, anyway, Congresswoman Solis! We got an Eastsider (What? And these fine folks haven't taken notice of it yet? Tsk tsk...) in the executive branch!

* The headline alone was the main reason for writing this post, and the Militant is surprised no one's jumped on that headline yet.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Superintendent Militant Angeleno?

With the recent stepping-down of Supernintendo Superintendent David Brewer from the Los Angeles Unified School District, it appears that the second-largest public school system in the country is in need of a new leader. Someone with new ideas, who's not afraid to take risks, and one with a true vision for education in Los Angeles.

The Militant knows exactly the person who can accomplish this.


Yes, the Militant Angeleno is putting it right out there: He would like to be the next Superintendent of Schools for the LAUSD.

So the Militant lacks the experience, you say? Surely you jest. The LAUSD needs someone who really knows the school district. Brewer's predecessor, Roy Romer, was once the former Governor of Colorado. Brewer, a former Navy admiral, has military experience. This blogger has, of course, militant experience.

Brewer has had a total of two years of experience in the LAUSD. Romer had five years.

The Militant, on the other hand, has 13 years of experience in the LAUSD.

Okay, granted, all of those 13 years were being a K-12 public school student. But still, who better to know the needs and issues of the school district than an actual product of it?

The Militant, as a high school student, excelled in subjects like English, History and the arts. At the same time, he was an awful Math student, was not so hot in Science, and very mediocre in foreign languages.

When the Militant was but a little kid, he was fascinated with science, so much that one of his childhood aspirations was to be an astronaut. But see, the poor quality of teaching and educational materials made science a dull subject for him so much that his desire waned, and so did the grades. So there you go, that's one of the areas where our schools are sorely lacking.

Again on the topic of experience, maybe it is true the Militant is not experienced enough -- the Militant will gladly admit that he sorely lacks experience in corruption, allowing massive cost overruns and gross incompetence.

And Brewer's $400,000 salary? Heck, the Militant will work for half that! Even quarter that! (It'll still be oodles more than his current militant income...)

As far as a vision, the Militant definitely has one:

First off, stop this idiotic LAUSD land grab we have seen in the past few decades. It's no secret that we've lost a lot of our history because of this. The Militant will build school sites with a smaller footprint, rather than large-acreage schools that take away people's homes, commercial areas and precious parks, recreation and open space.

Develop vocational partnerships with local industries, such as health care, trade/manufacturing and the entertainment/tourist industry. That way we can develop a loyal local pool rather than rely on transplants showing up at the Greyhound station to take all the jobs.

And speaking of local, establish a local history curriculum. The Militant knows his Los Angeles history, as you all know, but virtually none of it came from the classroom. He had to learn it on his own. We have kids who live and breathe and learn and play here, yet they have absolutely no concept of how this City came to be, and how it functions, on a societal, cultural, economic and governmental level.

Lastly, as superintendent, the Militant will make sure the LAUSD follows this one motto: Quality over Quantity. For decades the LAUSD has been psychotically obsessed with capacity, capacity, capacity, resulting in the aforementioned land grab to accommodate the overcrowding. Enough of this, it's the quality of the edjumakation that has to be at the forefront. And losing kids to private and charter schools shouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, if they're that obsessed with containing capacity and keeping classroom sizes down.

Seriously now, the Militant saw his share of teacher's strikes and walkouts back when he was in school; those things leave a lasting impression for a young, aspiring militant. He also recently had a conversation with an unspecified former member of the Board of Education who candidly told the Militant that the situation regarding the relationship between the teachers union and the District is "downright chaotic" nowadays as compared to when the Militant was in school.

Enough of this, the Militant says, crap will be cut and credibility will finally be restored to our ailing school system.

And if he doesn't do such a great job as superintendent, well...they can always buy out his contract.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Well, well, well. The Militant heard today that the great almighty Midwestern colonial slavemaster of the Los Angeles Times, a.k.a., the Tribune Company, is writing a new chapter in its corporate history: Chapter 11!

The big Trib, which owns, among other properties, the Times, KTLA Channel 5, amd perennial losers the Chicago Cubs, about $12 million in debt.

Tribune is expected to zell-off the Cubbies sometime next year, and good for them. Perhaps the MLB's sultans of suck will reduce their suckage factor somewhat by eliminating the suckitude from their ownership end (As far as on the field, well, they're on their own).

Tribune also needs to zell-off the Los Angeles Times, and basically any media entity west of the Mississippi for that matter. And what's this about Tribune buying the Orange County Register and the San Diego Union-Tribune (WTF? A continuous zone of journalistic suckitude from Pt. Mugu to the Mexican Border?)

The Militant knows Sam Zell himself isn't reading this, since he doesn't get the whole blog thing to begin with, but what the hey:

Sam Zell: Dude...Duuuuude. Duuuuuuude. Please oh please oh please oh PLEASE emancip, er, sell the Los Angeles Times. You don't need it. It's not working. Really. And in case you don't know, us Southern Californians are all...umm, illiterate! Yeah, that's the ticket! So why own a newspaper that no one can read? Really. So zell off the Times. To Mr. Geffen. Heck, zell it to a goldfish. The Militant would gladly buy it, though he doesn't quite have the militant funds to afford such a venture. But if he did, he'd show up at your door with the cash.

And as for buying up papers in OC and SD? STOP. YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG. You don't keep buying crap when you're in debt. Isn't that the reason why there's a mortgage crisis going on right now? Please, zell off the Times, and don't buy the other So Cal papers either.

Again, zell off the Los Angeles Times.

Do it, please.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Metro To Help Bring Bikes Into The Fold

Okay, okay, so transit ridership is a little low because of this. But in the endless predictable cycle of things, what goes up, must come down, but will inevitably bounce back up again.

Remember during those inflated-gas price days of Summer, there was talk of how to accommodate more bicycles in transit vehicles? Everything from removing more seats to a "bikes only" railcar on trains to a rear bike rack on buses (a.k.a "Free Bikes For The Taking!").

Well, imagine buying one of them nifty, slick $400-and-up folding bikes to stow on your bus or train ride, but getting a nice subsidized discount and paying considerably less for it!

The Militant is pleased to report that such a thing will happen in the very near future, as operative reports have informed him that Metro, partnering with Calstart, received $85,000 in Caltrans Community-Based Transportation Planning grant funds to implement a folding bike subsidy program. Basically, (M) would provide price discounts to transit riders to purchase a collapsible bike to use for their bus and/or train ride(s).

The whole focus of the program are "first and last mile commuters" who require an efficient alternative to autos and a quicker alternative to walking to get to/from their bus and/or train. Since folding bikes take up considerably less real estate than a conventional bike, apparently this program was proposed as a way to address the capacity vehicles on transit vehicles.

So yes, guess you can say that (M) is growing the cojones for the Dahones.

Apparently, these funds were awarded back in June. The money's there, so where's the program? The Militant wants his folding bike!