June/July 2017 | ISSUE NUMBER 332
Westmoreland Heights Tour Pictures
Next Gen Flight Paths
A Crosswalk for Jefferson Boulevard
Janey Williams discusses a new flight path out of LAX and how it creates noise and pollution for West Adams.
Photos and illustrations by Suzanne Cooper. Some photos may have been digitally altered for a more graphic illustration of the problem.
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Where's AJ's Hat?
Living History Tour Plans
A Letter from the office of Karen Bass about Quiet Skies
West Adams vs. NextGen: A Fight We Must Win
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2263 S. Harvard Boulevard
Historic West Adams
Los Angeles, CA 90018
Several years ago I caught an old episode of Huell Howser’s “Our Neighborhoods” that featured Jefferson Park. As Huell sauntered through the streets, charming neighbors with his friendly southern drawl, the neighbors charmed him right back. The streets were quiet. Grass lawns spilled into one another, creating a kind of open community green. The neighbors were already well acquainted with one another. Beyond being friendly, they were friends, and then there were the craftsman bungalows, homes that, for me, encapsulate the casual, comfortable California lifestyle with thoughtful artistry and design.
I moved to the neighborhood a month later, and bought a home here soon after my son was born. Jefferson Park is where I want my son to grow up, for its beauty, serenity, and community. And, I know I’m not alone - residents of all West Adams’ pocket neighborhoods are passionate about where they live.
But the West Adams that we know is under serious threat. “It’s so quiet and peaceful here” Huell Howser kept saying as he chatted with proud homeowners.
How drastically things have changed. If you live in West Adams you are likely hearing the near constant drone of airplanes flying low and loud. This is a direct consequence of the FAA’s NextGen program which reached final implementation at LAX on April 17, 2017.
But NextGen, a new way of organizing air traffic that concentrates once dispersed flight paths into one single conga-line, is being rolled out nationally. What this means for the airline industry is the ability to increase flight traffic, maximizing profits. For residents in affected areas it equates to airplane highways that have been constructed above their heads without consideration of, or consultation with, the communities under their paths. Over our neighborhood, the planes fly in a bee line, only several minutes apart, often with only thirty second intervals of quiet between them, reaching altitudes of only 4,000 or 5,000 ft, and their noise decibels read in the high 60s and 70s.
The environmental assessment conducted for NextGen was fast-tracked, and the report concluded that there would be no significant impact on communities below the new flight paths. But the residents of cities affected so far have a different story to tell. Currently, lawsuits have been and are being filed against the FAA by Culver City, Phoenix, the Bay Area, Washington DC, Baltimore, Newport Beach, Orange County, Boston, and New York. A primary argument for these suits is that the environmental assessment was insufficient and that the FAA did not seek community input.
But thus far the FAA has not given an inch, maintaining that they are unable to return to previous flightpaths. They have created “community working groups,” a pretense of working with residents to find solutions. Yet, years have passed since Phoenix filed the first lawsuit in 2014 and the first working groups were formed, and the FAA hasn't made any actual concessions. We have yet to see how the courts will rule on these lawsuits.
When I first learned of NextGen, I thought, this is so bad, the FAA will have to fix it. As citizens we are protected. After all, it states clearly in California’s Noise Control Act:
“All Californians are entitled to a peaceful and quiet environment without the intrusion of noise which may be hazardous to their health or welfare.”
As it turns out, we were once protected, now we are not. With the industrial revolution and urbanization came significant decibel increases in our communities, and with time we became more aware of the health risks associated with this increased noise exposure. By 1972 noise abatement was a national issue - the Noise Control Act was passed and the Office of Noise and Abatement (ONAC) in the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established. The office was meant to educate the public about the health risks associated with noise and assist local governments with their efforts to abate it. Russel Train, the administrator of EPA, in a 1976 talk on aircraft noise, stated:
“It is time for all to come together, and to come to grips with the problem of aviation noise, and to build, at long last, an air transportation system that is safe, healthy, and quieter.”
“At long last” - in 1976!
And then in 1981 Ronald Reagan came into office and essentially closed down the Office of Noise Abatement and Control, defunding any efforts to oversee the Noise Abatement Act, and by extension shutting down state and local programs which relied on federal funding. Without funding, the law exists only in name.
Currently there is a Quiet Skies Caucus in the Congress, which is made up of congressional representatives from across the country whose constituents have been impacted by the FAA's NextGen program. Our own representative, Karen Bass, is already a member, and is keeping us apprised of progress made and challenges faced by the committee. Recently, Bass co-sponsored new legislation introduced by Rep. Grace Meng, H.R. 2539, “To reestablish the Office of Noise Abatement and Control in the Environmental Protection Agency, and for other purposes.” There are hopes that H.R. 2539 will gain momentum this session as increased noise is causing concern across the nation, but there are political hurdles to overcome. Although this is not a partisan issue - Democrats and Republicans alike suffer below the airplane traffic - the caucus includes few Republicans and such a bill in a Republican held Congress is unlikely to get much traction. In fact, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s chairman, Bill Shuster, has been pushing legislation in recent years that would establish a federally chartered air traffic control (ATC) corporation, essentially privatizing air traffic control. The Trump administration has already voiced its support of the plan, which some worry would allow full implementation of NextGen, and further reduce any hope of reversing or amending it.
Noise and pollution from airplane traffic are known to have adverse effects on mental and physical health. Aircraft noise has been linked to cardiovascular disease, sleep disturbance, hearing loss, and decreased performance. It has also been shown to disrupt student learning. In one study, 6th grade children exposed to train noise were nearly a year behind in reading compared to children at the same school in a classroom located on the far side from the tracks.
The other day I lay on my couch reading an article about the health effects of noise, and as I read, my train of thought was interrupted every two to three minutes by the waxing and waning of airplane rumble. Reading was made very difficult and I became irritated. I live directly across the street from 6th St. Elementary School. If I have trouble reading, how can our children learn to read? Or learn anything for that matter? There are numerous schools that lie under the new flight path, and we are a family-rich community, with many little ones whose nervous systems, moods, and sleep are particularly vulnerable.
The fine particulates airplanes expel are the same pollutants we have been warned about from freeway traffic. They are particularly dangerous because their size means they are easily absorbed and can get deep into your lungs and bloodstream. They are linked to cardiovascular disease, lung disease, and asthma, and children and the elderly are most vulnerable to their effects.
West Adams is particularly affected by NextGen Noise because it is dense with HPOZs. Homeowners cannot modernize their windows to abate the noise, even if financially able. And the revenue that comes from filming in the neighborhood will undoubtedly take a hit as studios learn it is no longer possible to get a shot without interruption. In Phoenix, apart from the city lawsuit, historic neighborhood associations are suing too, highlighting the more specific concerns they face.
If you happen to be one of the happy residents that barely notices the noise, be aware that you are being affected by NextGen nonetheless. Your property values are decreasing, and your neighbors and friends who do notice the noise are suffering. Some long-time residents are even making plans to leave.
While this may paint a dire picture, you may take pride in the fact that the community is fighting back. Karen Bass, along with participating in the Quiet Skies Caucus, has formed a local Task Force made up of citizen volunteers. Council District 10 is working with this task force, and is represented on the LAX Noise Round Table. CD 10’s Jeff Camp has met with Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) officials and confirmed that our direction must be to work with the FAA at the federal level. LAWA has also agreed to share altitude data that will determine altitudes of aircraft before and after implementation of the FAA’s NextGen program. Along with official representatives of the area, grassroots activists/neighbors have been tirelessly working on the issue, researching, organizing, and making calls.
Which is where you come in:
1. We need to document the effects on residents, and noise complaints have been low. If you have time for nothing else, please file complaints with LAX/LAWA by visiting: http://webtrak5.bksv.com/lax4, calling (424) 646- 6473 or using (VERY EASY TO USE) LAX Mobile Web App. - NOT from your APP Store, but from LAWA.org (or the link below). From your iPhone or Android mobile device, click on the link: http://www.planenoise.com/mobile/lawa/nR9k3pXb/lax/
2. If you have an extra five to ten minutes, please call/fax the Representatives listed below. It is particularly important to reach the Senate offices of Diane Feinstein and Kamala Harris as they could potentially have a great deal to offer in getting legislation passed, and they report having heard little on this issue from constituents.
3. LA City will consider joining Culver City’s lawsuit against the FAA via amicus brief if they receive enough complaints (City Attorney's office, Mayor's office, City Council). Contact information is below.
4. When reaching Herb Wesson’s Office, ask specifically for the installation of permanent noise monitors so that we can begin the collection of official data.
5. CD10 wants to be able to confirm their constituents’ complaints to illustrate the magnitude of this issue, so please confirm your contact with any of the following by sending an email to CD10 Deputy, Jeff Camp at email@example.com
6. We need a Senate counterpart to the Quiet Skies Caucus in the House. Urge our Senators to form one, and if you have friends in Arizona, encourage them to appeal to Senator John McCain, who has shown leadership on this issue in the past.
And if you would like to follow developments on this issue or get involved, join the Facebook page West Adams for Quiet Skies, because we all know that beyond the beautiful historical homes, it is our sense of community that makes us unique in Los Angeles, and it is our community that is at stake.
Congresswoman Karen Bass
Senator Diane Feinstein
Senator Kamala Harris
Congresswoman Maxine Waters
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer
Mayor Eric Garcetti
Council District 10 (CD10)
UPCOMING waha EVENTS
Ice Cream Social
August 20, 2017 2:00-5:00 p.m.
1606 S. Point View Street, Los Angeles
The Inn At 657, a family owned and operated for 25 years, needs a West Adams neighbor to cook breakfast several days a week—the number is flexible. Professional training is not required; we need a person who loves to cook and would enjoy meeting people from all over the world. Great for a person bored with retirement.
If you are interested please contact Patsy at: firstname.lastname@example.org
To have your classified ad placed in this newsletter, please send your proposed ad to email@example.com no later than the first of the month prior to the month of publication of the ad..
Janey Williams has an M.A. in Latin American Studies with an emphasis on Transformation and Development, is a member of the Quiet Skies Task Force, and lives with her husband and son in Jefferson Park.
Annual 4th of July Barbecue
July 4, 2017
11:30 am-2:30 pm
2957 Brighton Avenue
Please email Suzie at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you are interested in hosting any
sort of event at your home or if you have an idea for an event you would like us to plan. We’ll do all the work if you just
open your home!
Spring Historic Homes & Architecture tOUR
Photos: Elizabeth Fuller and Leilani Riehle
Thank you to our Spring Tour Volunteers
Photos: Theresa and Les Hew
Needed for September Event!
WAHA’s annual Living History Tour takes place every autumn at the Angelus Rosedale Cemetery. Amid the elaborate headstones and monuments, costumed actors bring to life –– and tell the stories of –– a half dozen fascinating residents from Los Angeles’ earlier times. Visitors also learn the history of this cemetery, and the role it has played in the lives of generations of Angelenos.
This year we're taking a look at “The Artist's Way.” Artists – poets, painters, writers, singers, musicians, photographers – have played an important cultural role in Los Angeles from its earliest days, and many are buried at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery. We are considering portrayals of men and women whose stories mirror the Victorian era, the birth of Jazz and Swing, and even more contemporary trends.
The Living History Tour is one of WAHA’s signature events, and has become known as a compelling way to tell the diverse story of Los Angeles’ history, from the 1850s to the present day. WAHA’s “LHT” Committee members research and write the scripts, cast the actors (well, twist their arms!), costume them, create graveside vignettes, and, of course, also organize the tour itself, with all the myriad accompanying tasks.
This year’s tour is slated for Saturday, September 23, and we invite your participation. To join in this rewarding effort, please write us at email@example.com.
The reviews are in! WAHA’s June 3rd tour, “Reaching New Heights: Exploring Westmoreland Heights,” was a hit. We hosted some 250 visitors who toured the two blocks of the Westmoreland Heights Tract, which is a small pocket enclave within Harvard Heights. Visitors saw seven houses plus a 1920s commercial building that has recently been renovated, and got a great sense of who we are and what WAHA does as a historic preservation advocacy organization.
“I go on a lot of tours and loved yours,” wrote Ed Dunbar. And Theresa and Les Hew applauded our efforts: “Thank you to the organizers, volunteers and homeowners! We thoroughly enjoyed the tour. These house felt like homes not showcase homes. We really appreciated the historical details and uniqueness of each one. We hope it was a great success for WAHA. Looking forward to future tours.”
WAHA wants to thank all the property owners who graciously opened their homes for the tour:
Anna Bendewald and Mason Bendewald, Lynn Brown and Bill Judson, Aida and Patrick Bustad, Eileen Ehmann and Steve Wallis, Jennifer Giersbrook, Stephanie and Greg Little, Tara Miele and Brett Juskalian, Blake McCormick, and Leilani Riehle.
We would like to thank with much gratitude all of the volunteers whose helping hands made this tour possible:
Jackie Anderson, Alex Ankai, Regina Berry, Martha Bringas, Jean Cade, SeElcy Caldwell, Kim Calvert, Kathleen Campbell, Michael Chapman, Laurene Coughlin, Rory Cunningham, Andrea Dunlop, Maralyn Facey, Jean Frost, Margaret Gascoigne, Lyn Gilson, Gavin Glynn, Anne Hakes, Dan Hakes, Sharon Hartmann, Suzanne Henderson, Phoebe Heywood, Diedre Higgins and her son, Aiden, Lore Hilburg, Kathleen Jolly, Pat Karasick, Beate Kessler, Kim Lai-Jones, A.J. Lentini, Dennis Leski, Raphael Lieberman, Don Lynch, Michelle Marquis, Neil McDermott, Chris McKinnen, Laura Meyers, Danny Miller, Mitzi March Mogul, Camille Moore, Lynn Moore, Natalie Neith, Michael Nigosian, Justin Nowell, Hunter Ochs, Kim Michener Ochs, Kathryn Pellman, Gail Peterson, Carmen Price, Lisa Raymond, Sandra Richlin, Rina Rubenstein, Martha Ruiz, David Saffer, Lauren Schlau, Rene Seidle, Flo Selfman, Emily Simon, Lara Soderstrom, Roland Souza, B.T. Timmerman, Merris Weber, Don Weggeman, Jill Wells, Janey Williams (and her mother), Ned Wilson, Addison Wright, and Candy Wynne.
We could not have had the successful tour without the help of the Harvard Heights neighbors and the Harvard Heights Neighborhood Association.
Last but certainly not least, we thank Derek Jaeschke and Will Handman of Alibi Coffee, who served our tour guests delightfully cool drinks; and Bill Judson, Dan Hakes and other members of “WASH” (West Adams Society of Home Brewers) for providing their home-brewed beer for our volunteers at the Thank You Party at the end of the day. Much needed, delicious, and much appreciated!
Living History Tour Plans Are Underway
Left: Axel Anderson, a musician buried at Angelus Rosedale
Right: 1931 burial, Dick Whittington Photography Collection at the USC Digital Library
Karen Bass represents the 37th Congressional District of California.
This is a letter sent to the Quiet Skies Constituent Task Force.
Dear Quiet Skies Constituent Task Force,
I wanted to send a brief update on what has been happening in the time since we met at the office. I have a couple of suggestions for action, as well.
Noise is Not on the California Senators’ Radar
I met with Sabiha Khan in Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office. She reports hearing about airplane noise last year but very little recently. She was interested and sympathetic, but apparently Southern Californians have not been reaching out about the SoCal Metroplex. I have not yet reached out to Sen. Harris’ office, but I suspect the same may be the case. Sabiha said that she had heard from her colleagues in San Diego and Northern California that there were some constituent complaints on airplane noise, but she handles these issues in Los Angeles and is not aware of the huge impact this is having here. Those two Senate offices need to know that this is a problem for us. Sabiha said that she wants to hear from constituents, so please let her know what you have been experiencing. Sabiha.Khan@feinstein.senate.gov.
No Senate Quiet Skies Caucus
As you know, even if we got perfect legislation drafted, introduced and passed in the House, it would have no effect without similar legislation in the Senate. There does not seem to be a Senate counterpart to the House Quiet Skies Caucus. I have found some relevant Senate legislation in the current (115th) and previous (114th) Congresses, including S. 3197, the Quiet Communities Act of 2016 by Sen. Chuck Schumer with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand as co-sponsor; S. 2761, the FAA Community Accountability Act of 2016 by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (with no co-sponsors); and S. 1356, the National Defense Authorization Act, which contains some language sponsored by Sen. John McCain addressing the noise at the Phoenix airport post-NextGen implementation. It may be that those senators might be willing to create a caucus, possibly headed by Sen. McCain. Does anyone know folks in Arizona who could suggest such a thing to their senator? And of course we can ask our senators to take up the cause as well. Sen. Feinstein is on the Appropriations Committee, which may be the only committee likely to actually pass legislation, so having her involvement could be very important.
Pursuing Temporary Noise Monitors in the Short Term—City Council Strategy
We are in the process of drafting a letter to LAWA CEO insisting on noise monitors as soon as possible. Permanent monitors will take longer and cost more, so the short-term focus is on the temporary ones that LAWA has used in various areas during the Metroplex implementation process. I will share that letter with you as soon as we send it. We are also pursuing the permanent monitors with LAWA and the City Council as well. Geoff Thompson (in Mike Bonin’s office) and I spoke about this. My colleague and I also raised this with Ed Johnson in Herb Wesson’s office. If you have not contacted your council representative about this, you might consider it.
Helpful Research /Informing Ourselves
The Transportation Research Board (part of the National Academies of Sciences) has produced a report called “Compilation of Noise Programs in Areas Outside DNL 65”.
This is the TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) effort to explores alternative action currently used by airports to address noise outside the DNL (Day–Night Average Noise Level) 65 contour.
Chapter two of this report provides a good summary of regulations and policies governing airport noise issues.
GAO also has some airport noise-related reports that may be helpful. Both include background information on federal policies and regulations.
Aviation and the Environment (http://www.gao.gov/assets/120/118233.pdf)
Airport Noise Grants (http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/648148.pdf)
I am continuing to work on these issues nearly every day. I wish I had more to report. Thanks to those who have sent me information, which I am compiling. I look forward to learning more about your organizing activities, as well.
Senior Field Representative
Office of Congressmember Karen Bass
4929 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 650
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Karen Bass and NextGen
Jean Frost is the current Preservation Committee Chair. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Reggie Jones
What Is a Categorical Exemption? And When Should It Be Used?
A Categorical Exemption (CE) is the lowest form of environmental review guided by an official, state approved, list of exemptions from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). They are 33 classes of CEs in number. No environmental evaluation is necessary because the likelihood of any adverse impact is so minimal that review is not required. If a CE does not apply, then the City issues a Negative Declaration, a Mitigated Negative Declaration or an EIR, depending on the complexity of the case, and all of these trigger public notice.
WAHA has questioned the City’s use of CEs. Two prominent cases where WAHA successfully challenged its use were:
The Roger Williams Baptist Church/Bishop Mansion project at 1342 West Adams Boulevard. The City was going to permit the gutting of a National Register eligible mansion, with buildings across lot lines, and removing all parking for the Church to supply parking for residential student housing, with a CE. WAHA challenged the CE in court and fortunately Superior Court Judge Luis J. Levin agreed.
The City also issued a CE for the oil production company Freeport-McMoran to install a 24-foot high burner to burn off waste gas and expanding the active work area into the parklike lower portion of the lot, in the Jefferson Park HPOZ. This use of a CE was overturned on appeal to the SAPC.
These are but two examples that caused WAHA and an anxious public to wonder: on what basis does the City issue a CE?
Title 14, California Code of Regulations, Chapter 3, Guidelines for Implementation of CEQA, states a categorical exemption should not be used “where the activity would cause a substantial adverse change”. Furthermore, Section 15300.2 (c), explains: “Significant Effect. A categorical exemption shall not be used for an activity where there is a reasonable possibility that the activity will have a significant effect on the environment”.
A CE cannot be used when there is evidence of Substantial Adverse Impacts. The California State Office of Historic Resources defines substantial adverse change:
Substantial adverse change includes demolition, destruction, relocation, or alteration such that the significance of an historical resource would be impaired (PRC Section 5020.1(q)).
While demolition and destruction are fairly obvious significant impacts, it is more difficult to assess when change, alteration, or relocation crosses the threshold of substantial adverse change. The CEQA Guidelines provide that a project that demolishes or alters those physical characteristics of an historical resource that convey its historical significance (i.e., its character-defining features) can be considered to materially impair the resource’s significance.
There are several pending planning cases where the preservation community has challenged the use of a CE for small lot subdivisions at 3431 Catalina and 1176-1182 W. 37th Place, located in the “Old University District” (the District.) In the District, the resource is not only the building itself but the context of the District. The preparers ignored the character defining features of the buildings to be demolished, the features of the block face and the historic importance of the District.
A CE should not be issued when there are unusual circumstances, in our view, the inconsistency with the historic pattern of development of the District, the noted incompatibility with the street block face, the absence of any credible historic survey of the area and the provenance of the District neighborhood.
"Significant effect on the environment" is defined as "a substantial, or potentially substantial, adverse change in any of the physical conditions within the area affected by the project including land, air, water, minerals, flora, fauna, ambient noise, and objects of historic or aesthetic significance. An economic or social change by itself shall not be considered a significant effect on the environment. A social or economic change related to a physical change may be considered in determining whether the physical change is significant." (Guidelines, s 15382)
Let’s look at the block face of 3431 Catalina.
Now let’s look at the rendering of the proposed project.
Clearly the rendering of this project shows substantial and significant physical change from what is the built form character of the neighborhood and demonstrates its severe incompatibility.
Curiously, in the Freeport-McMoran gas burner case, SAPC appellant Steve Peckman referenced a non-published city policy:
The simple fact that Applicant Freeport-McMoran has currently applied for multiple discretionary entitlements, including two HPOZ requests along with two ZA entitlement requests (the instant case and a re-drilling request, which also requires the Chief Zoning Administrator’s quasi-judicial discretionary approval), and it is Planning Department policy that Categorical Exemptions are not to be used when there are two or more (e.g., more than one) discretionary entitlement requests.
So just what is planning department policy? There are at least two discretionary actions in the District subdivision cases, yet this referenced “policy” appears to have been ignored. At a South Los Angeles Planning Commission hearing, planning staff explained to a WAHA member that a high level planning department memo directed that CEs should be used whenever possible. WAHA needs to review this memo and determine whether this prejudices the environmental review process.
CEQA sets a very low threshold for not permitting a Categorical Exemption, namely that it should not be used where there is a reasonable possibility of the activity having a significant effect or when a project cumulatively adds to the significant impacts of projects that have preceded it, even if those projects were initiated by other developers.
The City has already acknowledged that the cumulative impact of student housing has harmed the residential neighborhoods surrounding USC. In the District there are various projects in stages of development that create a new pattern of development, cutting up traditionally sized lots into smaller undersized lots, and over building, creating massive lot coverage and significant parking demands. (1155-1157 W. 36 Place, 1227 W. 27th Street, 1284-1288 W 37th Place, 1176-1182 W. 37th Place, 3431 Catalina Street.)
When substantial evidence supports a fair argument that a project would have a significant effect on the environment, the City should not issue nor certify a CE. When a CE is found to be inadequate, a Mitigated Negative Declaration is prepared. “Such action would ‘demonstrate to an apprehensive citizenry that the public agency has in fact analyzed and considered the ecological implications of its’ actions.” (Laurel Heights, supra 47 Cal 3d at 392.) Today when so many of our protections are being dashed on a federal level, the City ought not to follow suit.
October 22, 1927
October 1, 1927
For some years now I’ve had a set of photographs showing a four unit apartment building being constructed. Each of the construction photos is dated, spanning a three-week period of October 1st through October 22nd of 1927. Only the last photograph, which showed the finished structure and “For Rent” signs on three of the units, was undated, but it was labeled. It said “Chas Barisano 3935 S Western.” I assumed that this was the location of the building.
But when I went to write a “Lost Adams” article for the WAHA newsletter I searched for the building permit for 3935 South Western, only to find that it was a commercial property. Then I looked in the city directories for Charles Barisano. He was a real estate agent, with offices at 3935 South Western. So the label wasn’t the address of the property, but instead likely identified one of the two men in front of it as Charles Barisano of 3935 S. Western.
The photographs show the four unit building to be on an apparently wide street, and judging by the fact that two of the photographs have automobiles driving through the shot, it must have been busy enough that it was not always easy to take a photo. The property backs up to a residential neighborhood, and one of the photographs taken on October 9th shows what appears to be a possible mansion in the background. In several photographs a small bungalow can be seen next door, and an empty lot on the other side. Beyond the empty lot seems to be another bungalow with a small garage at the back of the property. Judging by the shadows, the apartment building is on the north side of the street.
The most revealing photograph of all, and the one which creates the real mystery about the building’s location, is one taken on October 19th. The sign above the empty lot on the one side of the structure says “Bard’s Adams St. Theatre” across the top, with “Free Auto Park” just below. The commercial building on the other side of the bungalow has “Adams St.” emblazoned across the side with the word “Theatre” just below.
Bard’s Adams Street Theatre was at 4415 West Adams, just west of Crenshaw. It opened on August 4, 1926 with the premiere of the Seena Owen film, “Shipwrecked.” A year later it was advertised in the Los Angeles Times as the Adams Theater, “formerly Bard’s.” By the late 1930s it was the Bard’s Adams Theatre. But in October of 1927 the name matched what is painted on the side of the building, even if the crude wooden sign over the entrance to the dirt lot did not.
Problem solved? No, not really. The theater is still there, today home to Restauración Los Angeles, “A Biblical, Healthy and Supernatural Ministry.” But between it and Crenshaw is a single lot which now houses a service station. There is no room for a bungalow, a four-plex, a car park, and another bungalow. The side of the building today, although it appears old, does not appear to match the side of the building in the photograph. I’m unable to locate any period photographs of the theater which might show that side. Building permits for that period of time for that stretch of Adams show no single family residences nor multiple unit housing, unless they were part of a mixed use structure with both apartments and stores.
So where is, or was, this four unit apartment building? It seems likely it was near Bard’s Theater given the sign over the entrance to the empty lot, but the streetscape and the building permits just don’t support it being next to the theater. So when I started writing this article I had intended it to be a “Lost Adams” one, but have ended up writing a “Do You Know This House?” instead. Can any of our readers identify this property?
A West Adams Four-Plex of Mystery
October 6, 1927
October 19, 1927
Don Lynch is a well-known historian, one of the authors of “West Adams” and a longtime WAHA member. 2017 photo: Reggie Jones
October 4, 1927
October 9, 1927
October 14, 1927
Left to right: Lise Luttgens, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, City Council President Herb Wesson, Girl Scout Gwen Rudd and proud mom Heidi Rudd lead celebrants across Jefferson Boulevard. Photos: Audrey Arlington
On Thursday, June 8, 2017, Jefferson Park residents turned out to celebrate the newly installed pedestrian activated crossing signal light on Jefferson Blvd. at Third Avenue. The signal makes it safer for families to come and go to Leslie Shaw Park and the adjacent Vassie D. Wright Memorial Library. Girl Scout and local resident Gwen Rudd’s efforts in advocating for the crosswalk were lauded by Lise Luttgens, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, and Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson in a ceremony that also thanked the many community members and representatives of the United Neighborhoods Neighborhood Council, Police, Fire and Public Works Depts. who worked to make the crosswalk a reality.
A NEW Pedestrian signal light on Jefferson
Click photos to enlarge
Lost Adams (continued)
October 12, 1927
The WAHA Board retreat was held on May 20, 2017. Per the WAHA Bylaws, the new Board members define the organization’s goals for the coming year, organize committees with Chairs, and elect the Executive Officers. The new officers are: Roland Souza – President, Jean Frost – Vice-President, Suzanne Henderson – Vice-President, Paula Brynen – Secretary, Jean Cade – Treasurer.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the Board for their past years’ service to WAHA. THANK YOU WAHA BOARD for supporting WAHA efforts over the past year. It truly was a pleasure working with and getting to know each of you.
After this retreat I will be retired from the Board. I made a commitment last year to take a turn leading the organization and being president. This goal has now been completed and I am taking some time off to do more travel and take care of that knee/leg recovery effort.
Regina Berry has also retired from the Board. I’d like to thank Regina for always being ready to man, um…er…, woman a membership table, greet tour goers, offer advice in a Board meeting and for offering to still stay involved with WAHA office stuff. I hope after you do finish your school fund raising project you once again consider joining the Board at another time.
Since Regina and I are both gone, there are now two open positions waiting to be filled. So if you want to be involved, share your ideas, get an overview of what is going on in the organization and the larger historic area, here is an excellent chance for you to do just that while serving the community we all live in. Contact any Board member to ask them about it or to toss your hat in the ring.
So long for now.
John G Kurtz
Last month at the board’s annual retreat, I was chosen to be your new WAHA president. After John Kurtz’s extremely successful year as president last year, I realized that this would be a hard act to follow. However, after I looked around at the board officers, vice presidents and other members of the board, I also realized that I had the benefit of years of collective knowledge and immense expertise in that room and that this was a board that knew how to get things done.
Immediately that observation was reinforced over the next two weeks when I experienced how the June tour became another WAHA financial and social success.
This happens because these WAHA board members not only know what needs to be done, but they are a working board and they actually work, supporting our goals far beyond just attending a monthly board meeting.
When I first bought a home in Harvard Heights in 1988, I was immediately impressed by the energy of the people whom I met in West Adams. Now, almost 30 years later, I continue to be impressed by WAHA’s energy and commitment to community. Some of the same people whom I met then are still giving an exorbitant amount of time to this community. Looking toward the future, we need to nurture a new generation of advocates, which I hope will be a priority of the board this year. We need to educate people, each in their own part of West Adams, about what the current challenges to historic communities are and how to effectively advocate for their own unique part of this area.
Seeing over 250 people [many of them new faces!] touring Westmoreland Heights on June 3rd and celebrating our historic architecture and fascinating history, and enjoying our revitalized residential streets, as well as our re-energizing commercial streets, reminded me of how our hard work brings results.
This certainly promises to be another year of unique challenges to the different parts of the West Adams District. I hope I can continue to pull from my memories of our successes over the past 30-plus years and move forward with confidence that we will continue down that path this year and for another 30 more at least. Roland
Outgoing President's message
Roland Souza can be reached at email@example.com.
Where's AJ's hat? The world famous Clifton's Cafeteria. And yes, I asked everyone in the world and they've all heard of it. Plus, they could use an extra 20 bucks.
And . . . welcome to another edition of WAHA Dudes Do Dinner, brought to you by David, Ed, Reggie, and me, AJ. Thanks for not smoking.
It's rush hour on a Friday as I hop into the Honda and hear the traffic guy bark out warnings of Sig Alerts, Looky Loo's, and the usual backup on the 10. Can somebody get the 10 a bowl of Fiber One? Just sayin'. "Folks, that's traffic on the ones, brought to you by Sit & Snooze, where we YELL louder than any other commercial, or your mattress is freeeeeeeeeee.'" Tops on my bucket list? Make him stop.
I'm picking up David and Ed so I should tell you now that I suffer from a devastating condition called "House Envy." Symptoms include coveting, desiring, and more coveting. Hits me every time I see a home grander than mine. Which, by recent calculations, is every house in WAHA. Especially those designed by Mr. Greene and his brother, what's-his-name. So, yeah, I'm coveting as I pull into David and Ed's driveway. Their Craftsman in The Avenues is so awesome I have to avert my eyes, which makes me nick a couple of trash bins. "Ouch, I'm standing over here," says the blue one. "Don't touchy-touch," yelps the green one. "I gotta callback for trashcan #2 in the morning." Even the garbage bins in L.A. are working on their careers.
"Thanks for driving," says Ed, who folds his linebacker-sized frame into the back. "Ditto," echoes David who rides shotgun. David's been in real estate for over 30 years so he needs no prompting to pitch his latest find. "A 1928 Spanish style just went on the market," he says with a gleam. "Second owners, family's been there since the mid '30s." Sounds amazing. "Two lavishly tiled fully original bathrooms on the second floor." Starting to covet. "Original light fixtures, stenciling on living room beams and every interior door." Uh-oh, here comes envy. "Every inch better than your house." Did he really say that? "Your corbels are crooked, your pony walls puny, your Batchelder is elderly, and not a stick of Stickley in sight." Ouch, the puny pony comment always gets me. "AJ, you're driving in circles," says Ed, snapping me back to reality. He wisely volunteers to be my personal GPS, and I gladly accept. "Turn right at the light and hop on the 10 east, but only for three inches and then gun-it and merge next to that bus from the movie 'Speed'," he says. I follow the plan as we careen off exit ramp #14B and into the gritty underbelly of the City of Angels. Ed knows every shortcut to the tall buildings because he's been giving tours of those tall buildings for over 20 years. He volunteers for the Los Angeles Conservancy, and they do tours that leave from Pershing Square on Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. Interested? Hit up LAConservancy.org, and grab a ticket.
Thanks to Ed's calm guidance we not only arrive safely, but at a parking garage within shuffling distance of the world famous Clifton's Cafeteria.
Okay, I'm going to say it. Nobody goes to Clifton's for the food. They go for the Jell-O. It's similar to food, only tastier. They also have stick-to-your-ribs stuff like carved turkey, brisket, meatloaf, and ham. You want pizza? Check. Tacos? Of course. Sushi? Naturally. Leafy, greenish, veggie stuff? There's a line for that. But it all pales compared to Glucose Island, a rolling landscape of sexy desserts calling my name. "How you doin', sugar?" purrs the chocolate cake. "I'm covered in whipped cream," reveals the pudding "Shut up, both of you. I'm pie. I rule," declares the Pecan King. I hate conflict so I grab one of each.
"Hey, Reggie's saving a table over there," says David, as we pay the cashier and dig in. Reggie always meets us AT the dinner location because he's an avid cyclist who rises at dawn and needs to skedaddle early. Why do cyclists ride so early? You could ask, but I doubt you're fast enough to catch one.
It's time to tour the place, but first some history. Clifton's has been around since the mid-'30s. The much-publicized remodel began in 2011, and the place re-opened to much fanfare in 2015. There's tons to see but I was drawn like a fly to that neon light I'd been reading about. In case you're not familiar, it was turned on during the Great Depression, but carelessly walled-over years later. And whoever slapped up that drywall forgot to flip the off switch. The renovation crew came across that neon light, STILL LIT, some 77 years later. You'll find it in the basement next to the speakeasy, which wasn't open for business. Or was it? Where's Eliot Ness when you need him? Another famous Clifton's feature is the giant faux redwood tree that pokes through all five floors. According to lore, it has secret passageways that Clifton's performers use to get to various events on different floors. I want to work there just to pull a Ron Weasley and disappear into a tree.
What surprised me about Clifton's is that it's just as much museum as restaurant. There's something odd and curious everywhere you look. And that's just the tourists. Heyo. But seriously, where else can you walk by a waterfall, a vintage photo booth, and an actual 250-pound meteorite, WHILE being stared at by several large, taxidermied animals? There's a special place in heaven for bears and bobcats who gave up their skins so people from Melbourne can pose for a selfie and say, "Hooray for Hollywood, mate." Yep, that happened.
Oh, that music you've been hearing is coming from several of the themed bars. There are five, including one featuring jazz and swing dancing. We saw gads of couples jitterbugging their way upstairs to Benny Goodman's 10 o'clock show. He's stuffed and mounted too. And sounds better than ever.
Well, time to exit stage left, folks. I have a heart-to-heart with Freud in the morning. Can't wait to hear his take on cafeteria envy, and puny ponies.
Lore Hilburg and Reggie Jones
Craig Bartelt & Nick Mercado
Hilary & A.J. Lentini
Ivy Pochoda & Justin Nowell
Ed Trosper & David Rapos
Edy & George Alva
John H. Arnold & Curt Bouton
Barbara Bestor & Tom Stern
David Bottjer & Sarah Bottjer
Lisa Ellzey & Jeff (Ulrik) Theer
Friends of Hazy Moon Zen Center
Amanda & Tomas Jegeus
Marina Moevs & Steven Peckman
Jim & Janice Robinson
Board of Directors
Roland Souza, President 323-804-6070
Suzanne Henderson 323-731-3900
Laura Meyers 323-737-6146
Jean Cade, Treasurer 323-737-5034
Paula Brynen, Secretary 323-936-7285
SeElcy Caldwell 323-292-8566
Jim Childs 213-747-2526
Kim Calvert 310-633-4117
Lore Hilburg 323-934-4443
Lisa Raymond 323-241-9657
Jeff Theer 323-964-9999
Candy Wynne 323-735-3749
John Kurtz 323-481-1753
Legal Advisor 323-732-9536
Lynn Brown & Bill Judson
Patrick Bustad & Aida Bustad
Nicholas Daum & Katherine Rivkin-Daum
Stephanie & Greg Little
Wendy McPherson & Yolanda Alaniz
Hanelle Meier & Jeffrey Meier
Tara Miele & Brett Juskalian
Tracy Moore & Lisa Edwards
Cynthia Perez-Brown & Juana Elpe
Scott Saikley & Sahaja Malone-Aram
Penny Taylor & Rachael Grant
Harry Anderson & Terry Bible
Paula & Paul Brynen
Clare & Michael Chu
Rory Cunningham & David Pacheco
Art Curtis & Shelley Adler
& Steven Stautzenbach
Andrea Dunlop & Max Miceli
Sarah and Charles Evans
Elizabeth Fenner & Brian Robinson
Jean Frost & Jim Childs
Donald & Suzanne Henderson
& Christopher McKinnon
Kevin Keller & Marc Choueiti
Paul King & Paul Nielsen
Adrienne & Blake Kuhre
Sarah & Steve Lange
Los Angeles Conservancy,
Cassandra Malry & Thom Washington
& Lara Elin Soderstrom
JoAnn Meepos & Steven Edwards
Vern Menden & Paulo Ribeiro
John Patterson & Jeff Valdez
Gail D. Peterson
Mary Power & Librada Hernandez
Judy Reidel & Al Hamburger
Walter Rivers, Jr.
Donna & Mark Robertson, Sr.
Amy Ronnebeck & Alan Hall
Debbie & Stan Sanders
Mary Shaifer & Chris Murphy
Chris Taylor & Ansley Bell
Stephen Vincent & Jessica McCullagh
Jeffrey Weiss & David Bailey
Ned Wilson & Carrie Yutzy
Ashley Wysong & Robert Lobato
Transitioning from Paper to Digital
As you know, one of our major goals this calendar year is to transition the WAHA Newsletter from the printed document you’ve received in the mail to one you are able to read online. By now, most if not all of you have had a chance to review the digital version of the newsletter. This digital format is now the primary newsletter version and will be the source material for the printed version AND it includes FULL-COLOR photographs and many bonus features that the printed version will not have. The bonus content in the digital version includes:
The ability to link directly to other online content such as photographs, articles and websites for more content, including the WAHA website.
Click and enlarge FULL COLOR photographs for easy viewing or to see additional photographic content.
Download the newsletter to any device and take it with you wherever you go.
Allows printing of multiple copies of specific articles or the whole newsletter if you desire in FULL COLOR.
An interactive document that will allow members to participate and share information, events and resources.
This new digital format is much less expensive to produce and deliver to WAHA to members, both from a financial and manpower perspective. Every print copy of the newsletter costs roughly $1.70 to produce and about $1.50 to mail. Sending the newsletter in digital format saves the organization between $1,000 to $1,500 each month or approximately $13,000 per year. In terms of the total budget for the organization, printing the newsletter consumes approximately 70% or more of most members’ annual dues.
In addition to the financial cost, a considerable amount of volunteer labor and time are required to prepare, label, seal, stamp and mail each newsletter to members. The financial and man-hour savings by not printing the newsletter can be reinvested in preservation efforts, additional web site improvements, tours or events.
The Communications Committee is now consistently producing and sending the newsletter electronically to every member with an email address. If for some reason you’re not receiving the electronic format (Do we have your current correct email address?) or if you’d like to only receive the digital edition and opt out of receiving the paper edition, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As a reminder, you will receive the electronic format through a download email.
WAHA (and Friends) Calendar
Harold and Belle's 9th Annual Block Party and Crawfish Boil
July 1, 2017
2957 Brighton Avenue
Annual 4th of July Barbecue
July 4, 2017
11:30 am-2:30 pm
2957 Brighton Avenue
Ice Cream Social
August 20, 2017 2:00-5:00 p.m.
1606 S. Point View Street, Los Angeles