In my 22nd birthday blog post, I based the whole thing on the fact that there isn’t a lot of external fanfare surrounding 22 compared to 21.
But there is one specific thing that happened when I turned 22, which I sort of alluded to yesterday.
I was able to get a new driver’s license when I turned 21, one that would be horizontal instead of vertical to assure certain establishments that I am of age for things like drinking. But I didn’t have to get my new license because the old one wasn’t expired.
I can no longer say that because the expiration date came yesterday:
For the first time in close to four years, I am no longer legally able to drive myself.
Now I know some of you are probably saying that it shouldn’t matter, because what are the odds of getting pulled over?
Well… Sure. I could still drive around if I wanted, because it’s not like the license is inherently visible unless asked for specifically. I could still do things like hit the gym if I wanted, as I had planned on today to start working off that birthday cake.
After all, I hit 200 lbs on the scale as of my visit to the hematologist last week, and I don’t want to lose too much progress on my journey to become healthier.
But that being said, I live by the same anxieties as my Mom when it comes to these things. Twelve other people could be driving around with expired licenses around me, but with my luck I would be the one who gets caught and pays the price.
So I won’t be driving around on my own today. Just on the off-chance anything happens.
I could still get driven around by my parents, and Mom has gone to the gym with me in the past. It’s not like I’m totally stuck.
… Except for the fact that I stayed home this morning while the rest of the family went out to do chores. Because for some reason I decided doing homework was more important.
And you know, by ‘for some reason’ I mean because I have assignment deadlines.
Deadlines I could be working on instead of this blog post if I didn’t enjoy living on the edge.
Thus, as the title implies, I’m stuck at home doing work today. I even took that artsy Featured Image through the screen door just to imply bars.
Kinda proud of it, honestly.
On the bright side, my pseudo-house arrest shouldn’t last long. I have an appointment at the DMV tomorrow that I’m… Completely looking forward to…
But you know what, if I have to miss my morning class and suffer through government bureaucracy in order to get my driver’s license back, I suppose it will all be worth it in the end.
Who knows, the experience might even give me something interesting to talk about around here.
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.
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.
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.
At least 3,400 homeless people are sleeping on the streets of Orange County, according to unofficial numbers from the biennial Point in Time count, which finished late Thursday night after spanning two days. The number is likely to change.https://t.co/0R4QcaGi4I via @voiceofoc
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.
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.
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.
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.
Because I’m on the cusp of starting the last friend hang out of the summer, I’m probably just going to make this post quick and dirty so I don’t have to think about it later when everyone leaves.
Figured what better thing to talk about than the reason I’m so tired right now?
See I went to bed relatively early last night because, as mentioned, the gang is getting together today. Wanted to get some extra sleep to prepare for that.
The world apparently had different intentions.
Right around 2:00 a.m., I woke up to the sounds of very loud arguing just outside my house. At that point I was pretty groggy and didn’t think too much of it, but whoever was out there really wanted to just go at it.
It became much harder to ignore when the police sirens kicked in. Someone must’ve called in a noise complaint, I figured. So by that point I got up and went to look out of the window upstairs.
Thinking it may have been more than a noise complaint considering six police cars showed up.
Naturally I went to see if my parents were cognizant enough to wake up and come see, because at the very least they would have been interested in checking out whatever was going on from the distance like I was.
They were not. So they’re probably going to find out that all this happened from this blog post considering I wasn’t cognizant enough to tell the story this morning when they left to do chores.
That being said I don’t personally know what happened very well either, so I suppose I don’t have too much to share. From the distance I was able to hear just a couple minor things, as the three suspects were turned away from me. The most significant thing I was able to hear was that none of the three of them had a knife.
One of the guys was super insistent that none of them had a knife. So I’m assuming something about weapons was involved in the 911 call.
Just before 3:00 a.m. everything seemed to mellow out. It seemed like some of the suspects were brought away, leaving their red car in the middle of the street.
Around that time I was able to pay a bit more attention to the police officers as they gathered together to chat.
Wanted to point that out specifically because just.
Look at this guy in the middle. He’s so god damn tall.
I honestly thought Slender Man was a police officer in Redondo Beach for a while there. The fact that he’s that big while also standing off of the sidewalk ledge that everyone else is standing on is just.
What a man.
But anyway. Eventually they all parted ways, cars skidding around as they went off to address other crimes. Except for one car that hung back until a tow truck showed up to bring away the red car stuck in the middle of the street.
While I mostly put this post together just to say “whoa some wacky stuff happened in Redondo this morning,” I also thought it had a somewhat interesting conflation with my reporter life.
Because I genuinely considered going out and asking the officers what was happening. At least for my own curiosity, but potentially even as something that could be a freelance article for… I don’t know, the Daily Breeze or something.
In hindsight I likely wouldn’t have gotten anything from them since I don’t have credentials for any newspaper and it might come across as me impersonating the press.
But that’s hindsight. Honestly the reason I didn’t do it was because it was 2 a.m. and I was super tired. Plus I didn’t want to get dragged into things as a potential witness to whatever was happening considering I didn’t actually witness anything.
So yeah. No serious reporting. You just have to deal with these mad context-less ramblings.
That said, consider it the potential for future reporting. Because I pay attention to crime things that are happening and newspapers appreciate that.
Anyway that’s all I had, so I’m off to hang out with my friends. Hope you all have a good Sunday!
I was looking to have this out earlier, but after my early day of classes I wound up coming home and passing out for a long time.
So… Better late than never, I suppose.
Yesterday, the Cal State Fullerton University Police Department sent out a crime alert about a suspect allegedly masturbating in public at the roundabout outside of Dan Black Hall and calling at least one person over to his car while doing so. The suspect drove off, but the police were able to get a basic description and a partial license plate from the female student who called in the public indecency.
To put it simply, my story is meant to be an informative piece letting members of the campus community know exactly what the police know at this point while adding comments from Capt. Scot Willey about police procedures with these cases, how confident they are in working this particular case and going more into how the details fit into our campus police’s push for a “see something, say something” mentality.
It’s a pretty basic crime story. Nothing too extremely challenging, but certainly one of the hallmarks of journalism at it’s core. Informing the public, giving them another chance to find out where they can assist the police if they can.
Though, I will admit… Getting to write about masturbation in an article was an interesting experience. Even if the contextual subject matter made it pretty gross overall. Even Capt. Willey sounded a little weirded out about the whole thing, and he has over 20 years of experience in law enforcement.
It probably didn’t help that I decided to write the story in the middle of my honors class on Wednesday. We were hoping to get the piece out as soon as possible for online to get a jump on the ‘informing the public’ side of things, so I had my laptop out during the admittedly slow lecture period to finish it so I didn’t hold up production all too long.
While I can’t say I’m complaining about the feeling of getting work done in an expedient fashion, it did feel just a little bit extra awkward to not only be writing about indecent public masturbation, but to do so sitting right next to a bunch of my friends from various honors classes.
But hey, guess that’s just what a journalist does.
If you want to see the article in its entirety, you can check it out here. You can also see my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!