Tag: LA

Homeless in the South Bay

Homeless in the South Bay

For the most part, this weekend has been quiet. The best thing I had to talk about a few days ago was doing homework, and one of the most exciting things I did recently was put my binders together for the semester.

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Beautifully organized and poetic in their duality, but not very interesting.

But tonight my Mom pointed out a meeting dedicated to learning all about the homeless situation in the South Bay. Much more interesting writing fodder in a traditionally journalistic manner.

My interest was piqued two-fold. I spent a good amount of time covering homelessness about a year-and-a-half ago for Bonnie’s Investigative Reporting class.

I covered the Point-In-Time homeless census that year and wound up winning the third place “Best News Series” award alongside my friends at the 2018 California College Media Awards.

So I have some experience in the subject, and wanted to see things happening much closer to home.

The event was held at the Hermosa Beach Playhouse, which is literally five minutes away from my house.

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About as close to home as it gets.

In addition, I’m able to write off the whole experience as research, networking and sourcing for Gladeo. I’m on the clock for my internship class, so I’m looking to do as much extra work as possible.

That more cynical reason aside, I did learn a good amount and picked up a whole host of documents:

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The panel was hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Beach Cities.

There were seven speakers on the panel who each gave spiels and answered a few audience at the end.

First came Jennifer Lamarque and Ivan Sulak from the office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn. Hahn was apparently slated to come earlier on but had to drop out, sending representatives instead.

Most of the discussion coming from Sulak, who is the supervisor for housing and homelessness in the 4th District. He was also apparently homeless himself.

He talked all about different initiatives being worked on across the District. The growth of a year-round shelter, more Emergency Response Team development and pushing more housing projects. A veteran-focused project in Downey, student-focused housing in Whittier and more.

“The end of homelessness is to get people in houses,” he said before delving more into the fact that homeless people on the streets are just a snapshot, as the issue has “many different faces.”

That snapshot came more into focus with the next speaker: Ashley Oh with the LA County Homeless Initiative: Measure H.

Because homeless counts for 2019 only occurred within the last week or so, the numbers we got tonight are technically outdated.

More to come from people like my friend Spencer over in Orange County.

Support local papers, y’all. Nudge, nudge.

That said, Oh pointed out that in 2018 there were more than 52,000 homeless individuals counted in LA County, with ~40,000 not sheltered. She said that was the first year in eight with an overall decrease.

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A bit more of a breakdown.

One of the most interesting things about this event for me was seeing the break-down at a local level with some places I actually know a thing or two about.

I picked up a document from the South Bay Coalition to End Homelessness outlining findings from the 2018 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count which said Redondo Beach had 154 homeless, half in vehicles and half on the street.

Though it’s great that the number was down about 41 percent from 2017, there’s clearly still a long way to go. Over 150 people is nothing to scoff at.

From there the discussion went more into Measure H, a pretty big initiative here in the South Bay.

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Oh mentioned that 51 strategies to combat homelessness have been developed which fit into six categories, including prevention, more affordable housing and increasing income.

That last point in particular led to discussions of working, as she pointed out that “most people think these homeless are comfortable living off government money, but that’s not true. Many want to work.”

Those three speakers had the most general information to hand out, so I figured I’d give the rest more of a quick-fire treatment.

Shari Weaver from Harbor Interfaith Services talked about her group’s more intimate outreach work, claiming that their 40 or so staff members know about 80 percent of the unsheltered homeless in the beach cities.

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She also brought the feel-good stories, such as that of a client who they housed that had lost his home in the recent Paradise fires.

Weaver was followed up by representatives of the Cities of Manhattan and Hermosa Beach who talked about city governments creating homeless plans, including a $150,000 multi-jurisdiction proposal between them and Redondo Beach that got funded by Measure H on January 24.

Finally, a lieutenant with the Manhattan Beach Police Department talked about officers across the beach cities working on more “holistic approachs” of homeless outreach on top of their usual enforcement.

All that remained was the Q&A, which was relatively short. It was hilariously obvious that most of the questions came from older members of the audience who simply do not like the homeless population being around.

Watching the panelists have to explain that private churches would be allowed to help the homeless whether or not there was a “centralized gathering location” to feed the needy was pretty great.

In the end I didn’t have too much of a chance to talk to people after the event, but if nothing else I gathered a lot of names, contacts and general information for the future.

Plus I got a two-hour addition to my internship log while rubbing shoulders with folks like Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand.

So who knows, even if I get no Gladeo interviews out of this, it could be handy if I ever break into covering homelessness again.

Either way, I’d say this was an educational night well spent.

Bands under the Bob Cole banner

Bands under the Bob Cole banner

As promised last night, here I am to talk about sitting around in Long Beach all day.

Except today there was a much more pertinent reason for me to be there! Instead of just bumming around laughing about how much the campus at Cal State Long Beach looks like an F-Zero track, I got to enjoy the:

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Cue dramatic choir build-up!

That’s right, after an intensive weekend of frequently driving back-and-forth between Redondo Beach and Long Beach repeatedly, it was finally time for my sister’s official performance with the honors band.

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There she be.

This was actually, from what I can tell at least, a relatively prestigious little event that she applied for.

Of course I only say that because the bare minimum that I know without further research is that the four-year-old concert featured a few guests with pedigrees including the L.A. Phil Harmonic and John Williams movie scores, as well as the fact that kids apparently applied from as far as Alaska.

So you know. Either it’s a prestigious event or some folks were real desperate to get away from Sarah Palin.

Jokes aside, it was a pretty awesome hour-and-a-half show in a very lovely auditorium. I decided to be that guy who went around taking pictures of the lobby just to let y’all feel like you were there too.

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If that’s the kind of thing you like.

The stage itself was also very nice, enough to be my Featured Image. Not only were the acoustics resonant for the entire audience, I would also argue it’s nicely designed from an aesthetic point of view.

A nice mesh of dark grey and maroon, with the panels of the wall specifically made to be a surprise when some of them were revealed to be doors.

At least I thought it was a cute little surprise.

Now, I’m sure you’re all expecting me to delve into the content of the show itself. I will, but not in quite as much detail as I originally expected to when planning to write about her show today.

I wanted to take a photo of all three groups that were performing, maybe even include some video of the songs. The grand finale that Aly’s band performed certainly would have been bombastic to show off.

Unfortunately they did not allow photography or video of any kind.

So… Threw that idea in the dumpster. Which is a shame considering Aly was basically right in the center of the front row as a second chair flute.

But that’s the writing business for you, I suppose. Adaptation is required.

Instead of a more in-depth catalog, here’s just a brief synopsis of the show’s bands:

  1. The Choir. A very nice set of performances that only helped reinforce the idea in my head that all choirs seem to perform is churchy religious hymns and such. Also helped me realize that my 21st century urges to be doing literally anything with my hands comes out strong when all I have to look at is a bunch of kids standing on stage singing for a half hour.
  2. The String Orchestra. Subjectively, I’d argue this group was my favorite if for no other reason than string orchestras with that keyboard clatter in the background always remind me of medieval castle interior themes. Thought it was really funny that two of the performers were in blue and pink dresses because I believed they just didn’t get the memo about dressing in black, but it turned out they were special guest soloists. Whoops.
  3. The Big Band. Objectively the best group of the night… And I’m not just saying that because it’s the group my sister performed with. They were the most complex and developed in terms of sound because they were a mix of many instruments instead of just one musical theme, and there were tons of nice environmental mood-setting pieces as a result.

Not so lustrous without visual or musical accompaniment I know, but hopefully I can make up for that by sharing these obligatory family photos we took after the show.

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Mostly trying our best to cover up the missing “S” on the Conservatory sign.

Extra shout out to the man who took our full group photo before taking a selfie of himself. Don’t know who you are, but you’re a real G.

Overall, I’d say I was really impressed with the show. Considering it involved 100+ high schoolers all meeting each other, learning 4-7 pieces each and practicing them over the span of two days, it was actually phenomenal how well-done all the music was.

If nothing else, I suppose this is proof of how great Aly’s going to be once she gets out into the workforce of quick turn-around performances!

Printers, Posters and Posh Interior Design

I know I said essentially the exact same thing about two days ago, but pardon me if this post is a little bit short or discombobulated.

We may not have been sniffing paint fumes this time around, but the family has been off on a nearly 12-hour journey across L.A. County doing chores and such. So I’m a bit tired and honestly just want to rest up considering I’m hanging out with the crowd again tomorrow and want some energy for that.

You’re not here to talk about tomorrow though, are you? Especially not when we have a Herculean tale for today.

Get out your maps if you’re interested in following along our route from the day.

We started relatively close to home in Manhattan Beach, first going to our family optometrist for my dad to get an eye exam. Also spent a good chunk of time in the surrounding mall buying sunglasses at the same time as I was doing some planning for future events.

Then we hit up a nearby Best Buy. We were picking up a new home printer we had ordered because our old one was ‘donated’ to the Redondo Union band program.

Aly’s the head librarian and has to make a lot of copies of sheet music, long story short.

While we were there I discovered this gem as I perused the video game section:

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Pretty disturbing how transparent his limbs are, huh?

Felt like that was worth sharing.

After finishing up there we got ourselves some lunch, then made our way to the Fandango office so my dad could follow-up on some work that was being done in the conference rooms there.

At first I imagined I might focus this blog post on that. Specifically all of the movie posters that I snapped some pictures of all around the office while he was testing the technology.

Because they have some pretty unique, awesome movie posters. Check some of these out:

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Pretty cool stuff, right?

Of course I also considered writing something related to my own work since I was expecting to hear back about my application to the Honors Student Advisory Council at Cal State Fullerton today.

But when I did it turned out to be a no. So… Figured I didn’t want a blog post that was a total downer about that.

There was even briefly a thought running through my head that I could offset the general negativity of that idea by countering it with this neat, little milestone I happened to hit this morning:

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But uhh… Subjectively I figured 500 basically consecutive days of playing a mobile gotcha game could also be considered pretty sad as an ‘accomplishment.’

So I tabled that idea.

Soon enough a perfect opportunity for a blog post came along, however.

A little store known simply as

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By little, of course, I mean the exact opposite of little. Because anyone who has ever been to the Swedish furniture chain should know that Ikea stores are god damn gigantic.

Yet this particular store takes that idea to the nth degree. The Burbank Ikea is the largest one in the United States, you see. Big enough to be seen from space, as my mom quipped.

Can’t really argue with that sentiment, honestly. From the ground it took us probably four, four-and-a-half hours to make our way through the labyrinth of ridiculously named decor.

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The “map” here straight up looks like a subway system.

In fact, that whole adventure would probably be a little too long to enumerate in the order of how we did things. So I’m going to cop-out by just throwing together a slideshow of pictures here.

For anyone who’s curious about what it looks like in the absolute epitome of capitalism of course.

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Boy howdy that’s about a sixth of a day of furniture, ain’t it?

Luckily even when we got tired and my legs felt ready to collapse we were still having a good time.

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Seriously there’s few things as fun as a random thing to do with some friends than wandering an Ikea. In case you want something to do sometime soon.

Plus, even though we didn’t get all of the new furniture to fit into Aly’s refurbished room today, we still got a bunch of nice household stuff. Like some pillows that we desperately needed.

Or that we will desperately need after such a long day out, I suppose.

I also made a very interesting little observation while we were there. See as you can imagine for a store the size of a small country that has replicas of households built within it, all segmented into various kinds of applications throughout a maze, Ikea needed a way to direct the mass exodus of people.

From what I recall growing up, that goal was mostly accomplished by taping or painting arrows on the floor. That much hasn’t changed:

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Except that’s not tape. Nor is it paint.

That arrow is courtesy of a digital projector.

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At first I was confused about the whole thing. It seems like it would be far less expensive to use tape rather than installing all of these projectors throughout the store. There are a lot of arrows, as I’m sure you can imagine.

But then I thought about it and realized that there’s also some merit to the long-term staying power of projectors versus something like tape.

People are constantly walking throughout that store. Thousands, probably. Day-in and day-out. Seven days a week.

That’s got to wear on physical markings pretty considerably. Enough so that tape or paint might have to be re-applied every other day just to keep the information fresh.

With a projector you don’t have to worry about that. So long as the tech is working, you never have to worry about the arrows washing away under a sea of feet.

I kind of came around in my own head to recognize how good of a long-lasting idea it is to do this, is what I’m saying.

Bet you didn’t think you’d be reading a blog post that said ‘sea of feet’ in it today, did you?

Well I did it. Which likely marks this portion off as a good place to end things off.

I didn’t really have a solid idea of exactly what I wanted to write about today, so thanks for making it this far into my roadmap of our long day of chores. It seemed like as good of a stand-in for content as I could imagine.

So with that said, I’m off to go play some video games before bed. Hope you all have a good day/night/whatever it may be in your time zone!

My shift break at the Autry Museum

My shift break at the Autry Museum

With the panic over President Trump DACA in full swing, it has been a rather crazy day for us Daily Titan reporters. However, the fruits of that labor are quite sweet if I do say so myself, and I’ll undoubtedly be talking more about it tomorrow.

But for now that’s neither here nor there. It deserves its own spotlight and this isn’t the place for it.

Instead, tonight I wanted to highlight a cool little event I got to attend in the midst of all the craziness. One of the benefits of working with Dr. Jason Sexton on Boom has been the opportunity to attend neat things he pulls together.

In this case I got to go to the Autry Museum of the American West for a late night talk discussion between Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold and California State University, Long Beach Sociologist Oliver Wang.

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(Left to right) Jonathan Gold and Oliver Wang talk at the Autry Museum in a discussion moderated by Jason Sexton and overseen by an Autry representative.

The two discussed a range of issues regarding food culture and gentrification in Chinatown with a degree of depth and sociological intrigue that I rarely consider when thinking about food. It was frankly fascinating to listen to, and having the break from the newsroom was nice amid the stress. Though I do feel like I spent more time on the road going to and from Fullerton since the Museum was about an hour away…

I was also a little bit distracted the whole time I was at the event, as I was on call with the DT to help my co-editor Brandon work on the big DACA article. Not only did I read the piece he was assembling from the elements we put together to edit it, I also helped with some last minute elements, including a rather serendipitous interview.

On that note, I do mean it when I say I had arguably the biggest moment of serendipity I’ve ever experienced as a reporter.

While staking out the center for DACA students on campus, I was also trying to get a hold of the Dean of the Library to get a statement about the center’s position in the library and whether that has been endangered.

I missed him a number of times at his office while he ran back and forth between meetings, and by the time I had to leave to make it out to the Autry Museum he was already out of the office for the day. So, I left him a message to call me and brought along a recording device for the (almost an hour and a half) drive to the Autry from CSUF hoping he would get in touch.

He did, but as it turned out the recorder I borrowed was out of battery life.

It turned out that the Dean left CSUF early because he was going to the exact same event I was. After all, the event was being moderated by Boom, which is operated out of the Pollak Library. We both found it rather funny that the meeting I was hoping to avoid interrupting on his schedule happened to be the same one I was also attending.

Once I had that interview together I was able to show off the true benefits of being a reporter in the 21st century. I used my iPhone as a personal hotspot to upload the audio recording to gmail so I could send it back to the newsroom for transcription and implementation into the story. It even wound up being a big chunk of it too, so it was a worthwhile grab.

After all was said and done, I also had time to come back to the newsroom to help finish our shift. As a matter of fact, I’m writing this very post from there. I don’t know, something about the whole exchange just stands out in my head as being really cool.

While that story I’ll be able to tell about going to the event was certainly one thing I’ll always remember, it also held a rather important distinction as being something I was able to share with my Dad. When I first RSVP’d to go, Mom had told me that he was a fan of Jonathan Gold’s work. So, I snagged two spots and managed to slip the time off onto his work schedule.

Even though it was short-term and I went straight into a 40-minute drive back to work right after, the fact that I was able to spend some time with my Dad at an interesting and cool event at a place neither of us had been to was awesome. I feel like I so rarely get the chance to thank him for everything he has done for me growing up taking him to a new experience like this was great, even if I was half-working the whole time.

Plus, it gave him the chance to meet Dr. Sexton, who has probably become my mentor for a solid 1/3 of my education experience at least. I liked being able to see that happen.



Editor’s Note: Because of how busy we’ve been putting our pages together, this post is actually being finished much later than I anticipated it would be. Thus, my issues with typing up temporal moments regarding ‘tonight’ or ‘tomorrow’ or whatnot are likely more than apparent. Hopefully it all makes sense.

I also feel like I started to sound very repetitive… But that could be attributed to just being tired and criticizing my work too heavily. So I think I’ll leave it as is and come back to things later if I need to. In the meantime, I need to go get some sleep because there’s a lot of stuff going on tomorrow.

Or today technically. You know what I mean.

The old ball game

The old ball game

I may not be the biggest sports fan in the world, and that extends to my general lack of interest writing about sports for journalistic purposes…

But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good game of baseball. Hell, it’s hard not to enjoy America’s pastime, especially when you grow up going to games with your Dad, taking in all the clichés. The first pitches and national anthem. The seventh inning stretch. The acceptance of normalcy that comes with the potential of being hit in the back of the head by a rogue beach ball. The sheer scale of the stadium and mass of people all sharing the same experience you are.

And, of course…


The food.

Can’t go wrong with a dodger dog and a bag of peanuts. I’m also partial to having a frozen lemonade toward the latter half of the game, that’s something of a tradition for me.

It’s been some time since I’ve gone to a game, and I definitely have to thank our family friend, my uncle David Liebling for getting us in to this Dodgers/Mets showdown (with some pretty good seats at that).


Since it has been some time, and my interests have been developing continuously, I’m definitely noticing different things around the stadium this time around.

Namely, the interesting interplay between the sport and my area of focus, the media.


In all the times I’ve gone to ball games, I’ve never noticed the pre-game reporting being done on the field. It’s actually pretty hilarious to see the two anchors in a fancy suit and dress contrasting with the sea of jerseys and colloquial game-attending attire. Plus they set up and took down the desk and camera equipment real fast, so that was interesting to watch.

On top of that, if you’re really paying attention, you can catch some of the interesting shots that help make the game a media sensation but might not be so easy to understand the scope of from behind a screen.


Not sure why I thought this was so interesting, but something about the intertwining of being live and seeing media being created spoke to me today. Figured I would share that little observation.

However, I’m going to cut things short, because I am still in the middle of a game, and as much as I enjoy writing I probably look a little stupid. Plus, the Dodgers just caught a fly ball in the outfield and managed to throw it to home for a double play that ended the top of the second inning.

It was pretty hype, to be completely honest.

The 2016 AAJA Trivia Bowl

Had an absolutely wonderful time tonight yesterday at the Asian American Journalists Association Los Angeles Branch‘s 21st annual Trivia Bowl representing the Daily Titan and Cal State Fullerton.

The event was held at the Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in Downtown Los Angeles, and though we didn’t get to explore much of the grounds it was still a beautiful venue to be at.  Plus, being just about right in the middle of the city, there was a nice view all around when we were there!

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Admittedly, getting to the event just reminded me of how wonderful it can be to live around Los Angeles… Two and a half hours or so to get to the temple, while the same drive took about 25 minutes to get back home. Thanks Dodgers.  That endless drive didn’t take away from the experience of being there however, as I had a great time with my coworkers, the Daily Titan’s Managing Editor, Copy Editor, Copy Assistant and Arts & Entertainment Assistant.

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From left to right: Me, A&E Assistant Kyle Bender, Managing Editor Brandon Ross and Copy Editor Aaron Valdez.  Our Copy Assistant, Sule Recinos, left early.

Because half of the newsroom is off at a conference in Washington DC, we only had five people compared to the average number, 10 or so, but even with that handicap we did pretty well, I’d say.  We tied with USC as the third best college team that was there at the end!

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Now, for context, the Trivia Bowl had four rounds, each with 20 questions asked.  The categories for the rounds included Current Events and History; Geography, Literature and Science; Pop Culture and Sports and California.  So… While we only got 17 points out of 80, it should also be showing that the winning team, one of the representative groups from the LA Times, only got about 39.  They were pretty hard questions.

This is the second year I’ve gone to the Trivia Bowl, as I went to the one held at the DreamWorks Animation studio in Glendale, CA last year.  Both times I’ve gone have been really fun, and I’m looking forward to getting to go with my fellow Titans in the future!