Botanitas: August 13, 2008

Botanitas is an ongoing feature bringing you stories and news from various sources, upcoming events and other bits of ephemera that might be of interest to LA Eastside readers. Suggestions welcome!

More on the Residential Food Scrap Pilot Program

You heard it here first, the City of Los Angeles is starting a pilot food scrap collecting program for residents of Lincoln Heights, Harbor Gateway and South Los Angeles. You would think explaining the program would be a fairly straight forward kind of thing, but not so. Even something as innocuous as a composting program can be difficult to comprehend when it comes from the mouth of bumbling bureaucrats.

Jan Perry’s frustrating attempt to explain the table-scrap collection program on KPCC’s airtalk (podcast now available). Incredulous comments here.

Mexican Coke

No, I’m not referring to the Felix Arellano clan causing trouble down south. It seems folks are going retro with their sweetners. Cane sugar soft drinks are more and more becoming the teeth rotting beverage of choice. Artificially created high fructose corn syrup is finally being recognized as the evil substance it is.

The growing popularity of bottled water and other drinks is one reason for the decline of sweet carbonated drinks. But shoppers say drinks made with sugar cane just taste better.

“It has a crisper flavor, not as cloying. I think it is a better-flavored drink,” said Charlie Howell, who periodically finds cane-sugar-sweetened Coca-Cola imported from Mexico at the Costco in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.

LA Times article here.

I’ve noticed more restaurants and stores stocking the old school Coke bottles. Just the other day, I was eating in La Llamarada, and a couple of customers specifically requested “Mexican Coke” but were disappointed when the restaurant didn’t stock it.

Gentrifiers come out of the closet

While at La Llamarada, I also overheard this disturbing bit of conversation from the next table over between a yuppie and a scruffy bearded guy in flannel:

“Dude,” says the yuppie to the hipster “this neighborhood [Lincoln Heights] has a ton of foreclosed, bank owned properties. You know, it can kinda be the new place for 30 something hipsters.”

My instinct was to go for the steak knife on the next table but my eating companion held me back. I settled for a long glare towards their table. Yuppies, before you decide this neighborhood is your next Silver Lake, check out these pics: Vidalia’s “Lincoln Heights-Home Sweet Home.”

Gentrification is not just a local phenomenon, all over the US and Western Europe the wealthy are moving back into the urban areas they abandoned so long ago. This movement is displacing the less financially endowed residents who in turn are forced to move to the outskirts of major cities. For a look at the situation in Chicago, read this fine article from The Economist: Trading Places: The Demographic Inversion of the American City.

Meanwhile, rural areas are still experiencing a fair amount of development as planned communities gobble up land that was once used for farming. While the upwardly mobile love the charming views of wide open spaces, apparently farm critters are too much for the delicate sensibilities of the suburban set. One farmer fights back with visual blight!

Casa del Mexicano

In case you missed it, LA Times looks at the recent renovations happening at the once glorious Casa del Mexicano on the fabulously named street, Calle Pedro Infante. According to some sources, the building was once used (or perhaps built) as a Jewish Synagogue.

If you have the opportunity, please see the delightful documentary, Meet Me at Brooklyn and Soto for the background on the Jewish community of Boyle Heights. Believe it or not, there was a time when Jewish anarchists and Orthodox Jews fiercely debated politics on the streets of the Eastside, in vegetarian restaurants and other Brooklyn Ave cafes, such as Canter’s (before it moved to Fairfax Ave).


Teocintli presents East of the River: A Boyle Heights History Project, August 15th 7pm-11pm. See flyer above.

At the Ave 50 Gallery: The Black/Brown Dialogues, featuring Inspiration House Poetry Choir, honors healthy and ethical cultural dialogue between the African and Latino communities. Saturday, August 23, 2008 starting at 7:00 pm.

Continuing at the UCLA Fowler Museum: La tinta grita/The Ink Shouts: The Art of Social Resistance in Oaxaca, Mexico through December 7, 2008.

Bits n Pieces

Fellow LA Eastsider, Pachuco 3000 has helped put together an awesome page at KCET on the history of SoCal DJs and backyard parties. Put aside some time to sit back and listen to the mixtapes for a nostalgic audio tour of Eastside party favorites. Backyard Parties: A brief history of DJ culture in Southern California: 1970’s to the present.

Cheers to LA Eastside blogger, Browne Molyneux for her new transportation column at LA City Beat!

Oh, dang! 99 Cent Only store is raising their prices! We really are in a recession.

10 thoughts on “Botanitas: August 13, 2008

  1. ““Dude,” says the yuppie to the hipster “this neighborhood [Lincoln Heights] has a ton of foreclosed, bank owned properties. You know, it can kinda be the new place for 30 something hipsters.”

    My instinct was to go for the steak knife on the next table but my eating companion held me back. I settled for a long glare towards their table.”

    That’s pretty intolerant of you.

    Once upon a time, suburbs and planned communities in various counties were referred to as “white flight”, or, in a few cases, “yellow flight”, because of the increasingly affluent caucasian and asian demographics leaving city centers for outlying areas with more expensive homes. Apparently that was a bad thing back then. Now that they’re coming back it’s called “gentrification”, and now THAT’S a bad thing.

    What is the ideal situation, then? What’s the formula to keep you from getting stabby?

  2. “What’s the formula to keep you from getting stabby?”

    Well I guess since I’m a vegetarian, I didn’t have the steak knife on my table so the annoying, privileged, I-own-the-world yuppie lucked out.
    -chimatli aka “La Shanky”

  3. I loved Vidalia’s Photo stream on Lincoln H it was awesome love the realness. Man hipster yuppies better step back shoot Chimatli will regulate lol
    I am very shocked the 99cent ONLY stores will raise it’s prices lol I hated how some 99 or 98 cent stores said that on the outside but they had shit that was 2.99 or up lol gessh the 99 cent only store stood for that and kept it true, but dang if the economy is hitting places like the 99 cent store wow we are really not doing good.

  4. I’ve heard that we are in double digit inflation (real inflation) not what they tell us in the CPI.

    Soon, the 99 Cent Store is going to change to 99 Dollar Only Store 😉

  5. Maybe the rising prices at 99 cent store will curtail people from buying those awful cheap interior cleaning products that are detrimental to interior quality of life.

  6. The yippee and hipster most lilkily have not gone to see the forecloses yet. Fixer uppers are not for the week at heart. And luckily “flippers” have run out of money

    I know it sucks to hear these assholes to talk about taking over your neighborhood and changing it to meet their needs. I have lived in Silver Lake for 11 years now and starting in the second year we would hear people calling Silver Lake the “up and coming neighborhood” talking about how it is become “gentrified” and all that crap.

    Yes some people were kicked out of their bauildings so th enew owners could fix them to rent to yippes and a few homes sold for way too much money. And that sucks. But for the most part, the rummers of Silver Lake’s gentrification (at least the part, south of Sunset in the Sunset Junction community) have been greatly exaggerated. The community (the residents, not the business most of whom hate the residents) is more immigrants, lower income and more gay then it was when we moved in.

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