Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Elysian Park: In Memoriam, Peter Lassen
1939 – 2018, Community Activist

Photo: Diane Edwardson, Red Tailed Hawk. January 14, 2013.

Friends will gather at the Grace Simons Lodge in Elysian Park tonight to honor the life and legacy of Peter “Pete” Lassen who passed away August 8, 2018.  

I am personally saddened by Pete’s passing as he was a mentor and friend for nearly 25 years.  I always looked up to Pete.  As a community activist, I learned so much from him and we always had a great time talking about things not related to whatever community issue was at hand.  He was charismatic, friendly and had a mellifluous deep voice.  He put family first.  Pete was an inspiration to so many.  Most of all, he was a good person.  

Weeks later, my hands are shaking as I write this and I still can’t adequately sum up the decades of friendship and activism. So I’ll just tell a couple of stories.

A few years ago, while sharing lunch at HOME Restaurant patio, on a beautiful winter day with blue skies and fluffy white clouds, over the din of Riverside Fletcher intersection and the 5 Freeway, while discussing a nearby development proposal, Pete suddenly exclaimed, “Whoa! A huge hawk just took off from that power line tower! Wait there’s another one!”  In the afternoons the updrafts created by the roads and topography makes it an ideal jumping off place for hawks to soar.  Naturally, the hawk led into a long discussion of our enormous hawks and other wildlife in our neighborhoods.  In the last ten years, we actually spent more time talking about other stuff than the issue at hand.

As fellow city planning geeks, we often talked about the built environment, topography, history, native landscapes and urban wildlife. Pete always looked at how the minutiae fit into the big picture, not just how it affected immediate neighbors.

Pete was willing to explain complex and esoteric issues to community members trying to genuinely understand the technical plans on boards at community scoping meetings and how it related to the neighborhood.  When neighbors were attending 2 Freeway Terminus meetings, I told them, find Pete, hang out behind him and you’ll learn what’s important. That’s what I did.  He later said “I thought there were a number of people from your neighborhood asking me questions, and asking good questions.”

When we were involved in the SR2 Freeway Terminus Redesign, I would call him up and say things like “Am I insane?  Or is this the first time sound walls appeared on a map or at all? In 16 years, they never even discussed sound walls anywhere other than the immediate terminus.” Pete’s response was “Yes, you are insane, and, no, those sound walls were not in any previous plan or discussion [prior to the Draft EIR].”  He knew the teasing didn’t bother me.  Decades earlier, I’d learned from Pete, the importance of the details on a proposed map even if they’re not mentioned in the written portion of a proposed plan.

I remember Pete from the first community meeting I ever attended for a development proposal on the Red Car Property in the early 1990s.  He was someone I often consulted, particularly with large complex issues in the community. As community activists, through countless community meetings, small meetings and lunches, we volunteered our time fighting in the community’s interest on the Silver Lake - Echo Park - Elysian Valley Community Plan, SR2 Freeway Terminus Redesign, Glendale Blvd Corridor Plan, Neighbors of Dodger Stadium, Red Car Property, Menlo Property, Semi Tropic Spiritualists’ Tract, just to name a few things affecting our immediate neighborhood.

In his death, Pete joins more of my mentors, Virginia Adams and Rey Dominguez of Elysian Valley, Alicia Brown of Solano Canyon and Judy Raskin of Echo Park.  Pete, and all of them, not only made our community a better place, they made Los Angeles and the world a better place.   

Rest in peace Pete.
Diane Edwardson  

Read more about Pete Lassen: The Eastsider

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Red Car Property: Not A Park, Follow Us On Twitter

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 17,  2017.  Not a park, it just looks like one.

We apologize to our readers.  Due to other commitments, we're slow to publish to the blog lately.  We hope to be publishing regularly soon.  For timely updates, follow us on Twitter: @RedCarProperty

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Corralitas Drive: Apocalyptic Dawn, Christmas Day

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, December 25, 2017, 6:15 AM.  In case you missed it, it was ether a spectacular sunrise on Christmas Day or the dawning of Armageddon.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Corralitas Drive: Bah Humbug

Photo: Gary Vlahakis, December 22, 2017.  Looks like the Grinch is wreaking havoc in Santa's Winter Wonderland this year. 

Happy Holidaze!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Red Car Property Lot C: More Uncovered Truckloads Of Dirt, Bulldozer Delivery

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, December 22, 2017.  At 7 AM yesterday, more uncovered truckloads of dirt began arriving for the Riverside Drive construction site, using the Red Car Property north of India Street.  

The motorhome, parked on the Red Car Property with someone living in it, has become a permanent feature of the site since October.

The Red Car Property is not a park, nor is it a city street right of way.  Silver Lake Court is west of the Red Car Property.  This is Lot C north of India Street.  

More than a year ago the architect for the adjacent Riverside Drive 13-unit development told me they would not be using the Red Car Property for deliveries, hauling nor storage of vehicles or equipment or for access to their site. 

They fail to make any attempt to control fugitive dust while driving on the Red Car Property.  That shouldn't be surprising since they also make no attempt at covering the dirt in the truck beds as required by state and city codes.  No haul route was established for the site. The route to this part of the Red Car Property involves hairpin turns on Substandard Hillside Streets that go past the driveways for Allesandro Elementary School. 
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, December 22, 2017.  A mini bulldozer arrived early Friday morning too.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Red Car Property, Lot C: Choking On Dirt From Riverside Drive Construction

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, December 21, 2017.  Dump trucks hauled loads of dirt to and from the Riverside Drive construction site using the dirt roadway of Red Car Property north of India Street today.  The fugitive dust is out of control.  A neighbor reports at least six truck trips before 11 AM today.  They are not supposed to be using the Red Car Property for access, hauling or storing of equipment.  They've been doing all three.
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, December 21, 2017. They are not keeping the dirt roadway sufficiently dampened to control fugitive dust.  In fact, they are not wetting the dirt road at all. They are not covering the truck loads of dirt, nor did they give notice to neighbors for hauling activity.  All of these things are boilerplate requirements by Building & Safety under the Los Angeles Municipal Code.  But then so is having a phone number posted on the construction fence.  It's not posted up here where people live.
Photo: December 21, 2017.  The motorhome (on the other side of the dump truck) has been parked behind the locked fence across the Red Car Property since October.  

The developer has an agreement with the Red Car Property owner to fence off a portion of the Red Car Property during construction of Riverside Drive lots.  The Riverside Drive development supposedly does not include the Red Car Property.

Since the motorhome arrived in October, neighbors report increased vehicle traffic at all hours, to and from the construction site.  The guy who lives in the motorhome uses a car to drive to and from his motorhome, as do his friends.  

According to neighbors, since the motorhome arrived, there's also been an increase of suspicious activity and dumping, north from India Street, on the Red Car Property.  There are also people living in sheds on a historically problematic, Red Car Property adjacent, Riverside Drive property.  

The Red Car Property is a lawless place.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Corralitas Drive: Termites Dining On Dried Chicken Of The Woods

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 16, 2017.  Several enormous Chicken of the Woods mushrooms sprouted from a dead Eucalyptus stump on Corralitas Drive.  Several were turkey platter size.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 16, 2017.  When the fungus dries out, termites move in from the host tree.  The tendrils beneath the fungus are termite droppings.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 16, 2017.  They grow in the same host trees year after year, prior to the rainy season, usually in October and November..
Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 16, 2017.  All of these mushrooms were growing from the same stump.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 16, 2017.  In the Red Car Property Neighborhood, Eucalyptus is most often their host plant.

Read more: MykoWeb
All our neighborhood fungus

Disclaimer: The Corralitas Red Car Property Blog prefers to quote reliable sources, such as CalFlora and California Poison Control on the issue of toxicity. MykoWeb is the resource everyone seems to refer to for mushrooms. The Los Angeles Mycological Society has a recommended reading list

If you are eating your way through the Red Car Property, we DO NOT recommend you eat any plant you find in the Red Car Property neighborhood without first doing your own research.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Red Car Property: Not A Park

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November15, 2017.  Sometimes, you just have to wonder how desperate we are for open space near our homes, that we're willing to put up with the construction fence that took more than half the width of the Red Car Property near Adelbert.  The fence went up over a year ago for a development on Riverside Drive that is not a part of the Red Car Property.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Red Car Property: Red Tailed Hawk Makes A Kill

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 17, 2017.  One of the big Red Tailed Hawks ate  breakfast atop one of its favorite telephone poles on the Red Car Property.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 17, 2017.  Moments earlier, a neighbor and I watched as the hawk launched itself with a couple of big flaps of its wings, from a tall tree on the Lake View side of the property, pulled its wings tight to its body and zoomed across the Red Car Property to a vacant lot on Corralitas Drive.  It was on the ground for a minute, before flying back with a bird in its talons, to a telephone pole on the Lake View side of the Red Car Property.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 17, 2017.  If you look closely, the hawk is on top of the telephone pole with a bunch of doves perched on the surrounding high voltage wires (uppermost set of wires) on the telephone pole.  

Worth noting: the native Black Walnuts in the foreground are recovering from last year's fire.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Corralitas Drive: Hummingbird Rescue

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, December 11, 2017.  Before 8 AM, a neighbor rescued a hummingbird who flew into the kitchen and couldn't figure out how to escape.
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, December 11, 2017.  The tiny visitor rested for a minute in the neighbor's hand before flying off.  

Click here for all our hummingbird posts.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Corralitas Drive: Spectacular Sunset

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, December 10, 2017.  Particulate matter in the air from six fires burning around Southern California, created a breathtaking sunset.  

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

LAFD Declares Red Flag Parking Restrictions Will Be In Effect Again Thursday

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, December 5, 2017.  Tuesday, neighbors who parked on the Freeway side of Corralitas Drive, in defiance of the Red Flag Day No Parking signs, got $68 tickets.  The point of the freeway side of the street being clear on Corralitas, where vehicle  access is extremely limited, is to have consistent access for emergency vehicles while leaving the street open for neighbors to escape safely.

After first lifting Red Flag parking restrictions 8 AM today, LAFD has called a Red Flag Day for tomorrow, Thursday December 7, 2017, beginning at 8AM.  Text of the message sent:

DATE/TIME: 12/06/2017 / 03:11:53PM


The City of Los Angeles has declared that Red Flag No Parking Restrictions to be in effect starting 8:00 AM on 12/07/2017 and will remain in effect until further notice.

For additional information please visit our website at: http://notify.lafd.org/redflag OR call 3-1-1. Thank you for your cooperation.

Note: The Call Center's operating hours are from 08:00 AM to 4:45 PM daily including weekends and holidays.


Corralitas Drive: Maybe He Was Just Looking For A Better View Of The Creek Fire

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, December 5, 2017.  A neighbor followed the source of a small concentrated pile of leaves falling from the Jacaranda tree.  Who was way up in the tree?
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, December 5, 2017.  The cat who likes to climb trees was way out on a narrow branch.  (No need to worry, he came down without incident.  He climbs trees, because he can.)
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, December 5, 2017.  Maybe he was just trying to get a better view of the Creek Fire in Sylmar.  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Red Car Property: Not A Park, It Just Looks Like One

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 17, 2017.  Red Car Property between Lake View Ave and Corralitas Drive includes the slopes up to the fences on either side of the canyon.  Many of the trees are recovering since they were toasted by the heat of the fire in 2016.
Photo: Jonathan Vandiveer, July 21, 2016. While shot from a different angle, the trees on the Lake View Ave side of Red Car Canyon showed the extent of the heat damage from the fire, a month earlier.  

December 1, 2011, we had a major windstorm that knocked down trees, knocked out power and started a fire on Lake View Ave.  

Monday, December 4, 2017

LAFD Declared Red Flag Parking Restrictions In Effect Tues, Dec 5, 2017, Until Further Notice

Photo: Diane Edwardson September 9, 2009.  LAFD declared a Red Flag Day starting at 8AM, Tuesday, December 5, 2017.  LAFD's website has become difficult to sign up for, or change how you receive notices.  Some of us, who've been signed up for alerts since the program began, got notice; others did not.  Once again, I got a call and email but not a text.  I used to receive all three. I recommend following @LAFDtalk on Twitter.
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor June 19, 2016.  The Silver Lake Fire illustrated why Corralitas Drive is a Red Flag Day No Parking street.  There is only one access road, Rosebud Ave, to about 52 homes on Corralitas Drive, a substandard Hillside Street with hairpin turns.  If you didn't drive out before the Fire Dept arrived, you could not drive off the hill.  June 19, 2017 was not a Red Flag Day.  Neighbors a half a mile away, reported 6" embers blowing past their homes.  

The recent fires in Orange County, Napa Valley and Santa Rosa were wind driven fires.

December 1, 2011, we had a major windstorm that knocked down trees, knocked out power and started a fire on Lake View Ave.  

Red Car Property: Leaky Pipe

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 15, 2017.  If you live on northern end of Lake View above the Red Car Property, you might want to check your backyard for leaky water or sewer lines.  The swath of bright green grass flowing downslope, way above the historic viaduct footings, indicates a problem. 

Native tree note: the small trees in the foreground and to the left of the green grass are protected native California Black Walnut trees.  They are currently dropping their leaves for winter.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Red Car Property: Count The Rings

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, December 1, 2017.  It was a really big pine tree.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Lake View Ave: Dead Pine Tree Removed

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 15, 2017.  The huge pine tree in a Lake View Ave backyard never recovered after the June 19, 2016 Silver Lake Fire.  The Red Car Property line runs along the power lines.
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, November 30, 2017.  Thursday, the sounds of chainsaws caught the attention of neighbors as the tree was finally being cut down.  Neighbors had complained to LAFD Brush Unit as well as CD13 since before the May 1 deadline for brush clearance as nothing on the Lake View Ave lot, including the castor bean forest, was cleared this year.
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, December 1, 2017.  By Friday they were chopping up what was left of the huge pine tree.

Video: Red Car Property Neighbor, December 1, 2017.  A better sense of scale is gained with the number of huge trunk slices laid out on  the Red Car Property.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 17, 201.  In case there was any doubt the big pine tree was dead, here's another angle.  

Worth noting: the native Coast Live Oak and California Black Walnut Trees were recovering on the Red Car Property, downslope from the power lines.  In fact, many of the protected native trees were cut down by LAFD brush contractors and overcautious homeowners in the past year and a half.  However, even the the native trees cut all the way to a stump are, for the most part recovering.  Black Walnuts are currently dropping their leaves for winter.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Red Car Property: Toilets, Bumper, Aquarium

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 15, 2017.  Neighbor reports the toilets, bumper and aquarium arrived on Lot C of the Red Car Property at India Street, as soon as the previous pile of dumping was picked up earlier this month.  They are still there now.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 15, 2017.  Perhaps the dumping would be curtailed,  if the Red Car Property was closed to all motorized vehicles, except emergency vehicles, with steel gates similar to those on every fire road in Griffith and Elysian Park.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Red Car Canyon: Not A Park, It Just Looks Like One

Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 17, 2017.