Community | Support changes to the electoral system

Please sign, share and support to change the Electoral College to votes by congressional district while Obama is still in office.

Change the current Electoral College system to a congressional district method to more accurately reflect citizen votes and popular votes.

Urge state representatives to change the winner-takes-all state votes to electoral votes divided by the popular vote winner in each of the state’s congressional districts. It would allow state votes to be split according to the popular candidate for each congressional district and not allow marginal winners to take all the state votes in future presidential elections.

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Community | Bay Street

Bay Street in Santa Monica, California is a very popular spot with both locals and tourists, partially for it’s significance in surfing, skateboarding and Black History. It is next to the area of the no longer existing, Pacific Ocean Park Pier. It was also previously known as The Inkwell because it was one of the few places people of color could access the beach. Several legendary waterman, such as Nick Gabaldon, Jay Adams and Strider Wasilewski all grew up surfing this break. Local surf shops, like Horizons West, Zepher and ZJ Boarding House also served as community gathering spots.

People often say that LA/Los Angeles does not have a center and the neighborhoods are transitory, but the sense of community there is strong, despite the changing resident demographics and the enormous tourist population. There are generations of families in the lineup and there have been positive turnouts for community events supporting Nick Gabaldon Day and for the Jay Adams memorial.

I have fond memories of seeing my friends there at least once a day to surf, swim and watch sunsets together. It was always an informal gathering in the days before mobile phones… Usually just knowing when the conditions would be good meant my friends would probably be there too. Horizons West and the local surf shops were also places where people could drop in and catch up on what friends were up to. Patty would often be there doing onsite massage therapy and others would stop over after work, if they worked at all… Randy sometimes bought pizza or beer or we would get things at the heath food store next door, despite being harassed by the proprietor for not seeming like upstanding citizens. Randy also hosted various parties at his homes in Venice and later, Culver City, for Halloween, birthday parties, fight nights, swimming pool parties and pool tournaments.

Some of my best wanderlust and adventure memories began in those days, when a group of friends would informally meet up, get in a car with minimal gear and only the bathing suit and clothes on our back, and just pick a direction: north or south, follow the routes along the coast, stopping at various beach breaks, meeting new people, joining barbecues and parties and just living moment to moment, going with the flow…

Community | Little Tokyo

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Buildings can tell a story about history, culture, community, art, design and the environs so that’s why buildings in Japantowns (Nihonmachis) throughout California are being preserved. Little Tokyo is a Nihonmachi located in downtown Los Angeles and in 1995 thirteen of the buildings were designated as National Historic Landmarks. (Map: Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.) Today this community represents not only the past, but a postive integration of cultures and generations. (Public Art Works in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.)

The photos are hints about the story of East First and South Central Street in downtown Los Angeles. The block is where Los Angeles Otis College artist, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville’s community restoration project, Omoide no Shotokyo (Remembering Old Little Tokyo), can be seen. (History of Omoide no Shotokyo.) De Bretteville’s sidewalk design incorporates her historical text and symbols, Sonya Ishii’s drawings and Nobuho Nagasawa’s sculpture of…

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Community | Watts

Watts in Los Angeles, California hosts Watts Towers and Watts Towers Arts Center, with the original sculptural towers created by Simon Rodia between 1921 to 1955. (Watts Towers History.) The towers are a visual, found objects, assemblage art masterpiece, as well as motivation for self-education, creative inspiration and perseverance. There are daily tours for the towers and the Arts Center includes permanent collections by Noah Purifoy, John Outterbridge, Elliot Pinkney, Noni Olabisi, R. Judson Powell and many other artists that originated from Los Angeles.

The nearby Watts Community Housing Project brought together neighborhood locals with artists and volunteers for collaborations on a variety of community improvement projects.


Community | Ban on plastic bags

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My so-called “plastic day” in Los Angeles, a.k.a. “LA,” began with a morning rally followed by a close-to-unanimous (13 to 1) vote of the LA City Council to ban single-use plastic shopping bags in supermarkets and to “penalize” paper bag usage with a 10-cent “fine.” This makes LA the largest city in the country to take such a step towards the elimination of single-use shopping bags and the move unites LA with 47* other cities to benefit about one-fourth of Californians. (*LA will be the 48th city among San Francisco, Santa Monica and Long Beach.)

The reduction of pollution not only cares for the environment and its critters, but saves reusable bag consumers directly on their store purchases (bag fees are hidden into store charges) and it also saves tax dollars by preventing costly clean-ups. Further, it encourages “Angel-enos” to practice responsible behavior and it discourages frivolous bad habits, like treating the…

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Community | Three Weeks In January: I KNOW SOMEONE, DO YOU? Each One Matters

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On Friday evening, the 22nd of January, 2012, during an art performance ceremony at Los Angeles Police Department’s Deaton Auditorium, I turned and introduced myself to the person sitting next to me: an adult, female artist living in Los Angeles. Though she grew-up in the Midwest with a Caucasian, Christian family, and I grew up in California with a Japanese-American family, we found we had a lot in common. We both expressed feeling vulnerable and unsafe anytime we have to walk anywhere: back to our car, returning home, being in parking lots, public restrooms or basically any place where we are alone and not safely behind locked doors.

As teens, we both felt sheltered by our families in that sex and violence were not openly discussed and it left us feeling in the dark about our understanding of what was normal and what to do when a situation became aggressive. Of…

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