April 30, 2010

Arrests and Explosions Do Not a Pattern Make

DESPITE HIGHLY visible arrests this month on Sunnynook Dr., Glenfeliz Blvd. and Los Feliz Blvd., and despite multiple neighbor complaints of at least 3 fireworks explosions in or around the LA River, the latest Northeast LAPD email newletter proclaims:
Atwater Village: Looks pretty good. Only a few property crimes - no patterns or trends.

April 29, 2010

Photo of the Week: More Than Meatballs

EVERY SUNDAY from 10:00am to 2:00pm it's not just about the bacon-wrapped meatballs at the Atwater Village Farmers Market, 3250 Glendale Blvd. Sometimes we get a little music with our meat.

April 23, 2010

More Heartbeat, More House

THE ANTICIPATED studio expansion opens next week at Heartbeat House, 3141 Glendale Blvd. The neighborhood dance and exercise studio opens an expanded lobby and studio floor, adding 450 square feet where Black Maria Gallery once kept its Under the Table store. Heartbeat House improvements include a new bathroom and shower, and new sound-proof windows and doors. The studio will be closed April 29-30, with a grand re-opening Saturday, May 1. For the big event, Saturday classes will be $5 each. Expect raffles and heart-healthy snacks, too.

Arrest at Del Taco Parking Lot

AN EAGLE-EYED READER reports: "Hey Newbie, I just passed by the Chevron Gas Station on Los Feliz today [April 22] around 7:45pm. I saw a police crackdown. I saw a Latino getting arrested in the Del Taco parking lot [3020 Los Feliz Blvd]. Unfortunately I could not take a picture because it was dark." First Sunnynook Drive, then Glenfeliz Blvd., now a fast-food joint on Los Feliz Blvd. Increased LAPD presence? Or just more obvious?

April 22, 2010

On Camera: More LAPD Action in Atwater Village

Glenfeliz Police Action
JUST A WEEK after dozens of officers took over Sunnynook Drive, yesterday a reader caught a more limited LAPD action just around the corner on Glenfeliz Blvd., sending along photos and this eyewitness account:
"Newbie, around 3:35pm today [April 21] I drove by this arrest and car search going on on the corner of Glenfeliz and Ingledale Terrace. The guy was cuffed sitting on the side of the road with tattoos on his neck and looked Hispanic with a thin mustache. Not sure what he did but for the cops to search his car they must have had probable cause. Thought you might like to know... At least the cops are doing something!"
See something our Atwater Village neighbors should know? Send it to the Newbie, atwatervillagenewbie@gmail.com.

April 21, 2010

Northeast LA: Lock Your Doors, Windows, Bicycles

Suspect DescriptionDUAL WARNINGS tonight from Northeast division of the Los Angeles Police Department:
  • During recent review of "Hot Prowl" burglaries in the areas of Los Feliz, Franklin Hills, Silverlake and East Hollywood, it was determined that burglary suspects entered several homes during early hours of the morning (2:00am to 3:30am). The burglars entered while home owners were at home sleeping. Victims were awaken by noises in their homes and actually confronted suspects as they fled from their residents. The method used to enter the homes were open garages, open windows and open sliding doors. We strongly recommend that you check your windows and doors prior to going to sleep.
  • The bicycle thefts are still occurring. Suspects are removing bikes from open garages and cutting chained locks. Please keep them in locked homes and garages.
As always, report emergencies to 911, non-emergencies to 1-877-ASK-LAPD.

Photo of the Week: Gotta Get Around

Atwater Village, originally uploaded by Girl, Narration.

April 19, 2010

What's in a Name? Neighbor Disappointment

A READER OF my post about a new massage joint moving into the Silver Lake Video space in Atwater Village has a geographical grievance:
The Thai Massage place located at 3206 Glendale Blvd. has put up a sign that says Glendale Thai Massage. I'm really disappointed with the name chosen for this establishment. Although it is on Glendale Blvd., I find that the name of the place will confuse people who are not from Atwater Village, implying that they are in the city of Glendale. Atwater Village is actually part of Los Angeles, with its own rich history and thriving community.
On local TV news, I've heard reporters often call Atwater Village "Glendale." Not that I have anything against Glendale, but we have a really good chance at making Atwater a very special place in Los Angeles. A small town neighborhood in the big city of Los Angeles.
I feel a better name for the business might be Atwater Village Thai Massage. I know that the business owner has every right to call it whatever he/she wants, but if the name is bothersome to you, the way it is to me, why not mention it to them in a nice way. Maybe it will do some good.

April 16, 2010

More Photos from LAPD Raid on Sunnynook Drive

Four-Part SubdueIN THE CHAOS of yesterday's Los Angeles Police Department raid on Sunnynook Drive yesterday, I managed to snap a few photos:
Eventually at least 6 suspects were lined up, seated, in cuffs. Though another witness said, "the handcuffs were removed and they all just wandered off through the neighborhood." Sunnynook was closed for at least an hour while neighbors looked on. See all my photos of the raid.

April 15, 2010

Major Police Action on Sunnynook Drive This Afternoon: My Eyewitness Account

Sunnynook Arrest

WHAT LOOKED a raid that started with plain-clothes officers subduing at least 2 suspects turned into a complete takeover of Sunnynook Drive in central Atwater Village today by dozens of Los Angeles Police Department officers. It happened suddenly, this afternoon just before 6:00pm, involving undercover vehicles, LAPD cruisers and helicopter support.

And guess what house was at the center of the action? Yup, the so-called Sunnynook Meth House, the same one police raided back in summer 2007.

Your humble Newbie was there, unintentionally, literally caught in the middle, driving up Sunnynook when one undercover officer brandished his weapon and told me not to move, lest my vehicle get in the way of an arrest in progress. (More of my photos here.)

Could this finally mean the end of the Sunnynook Meth House menace?

UPDATE: Other eyewitnesses counted 13 LAPD units and, 3 hours later, saw a half dozen more arrests elsewhere in the neighborhood.

Where the Streets Have No Slurry

REMEMBER ALL the street closure signs posted in central Atwater Village last week? The City's closures and crews have come and gone, and left behind a nice smooth resurfacing (one might call it a slurry coat seal) on streets that, frankly, already seemed quite smooth and resurfaced. Now, how about some love for these remaining bumpy concrete lanes in south Atwater Village, something neighbors have been asking for 4 years? (Sorry, make that 10 years.)

April 14, 2010

Yes, Lots of Neighborhood Businesses Do It

Breaks All Kinds of Rules
IN REACTION to my post about Los Feliz Car Wash and its policy of demanding $8.99 minimums on credit-card transactions, here's a gentle bit of criticism on the AVNC Forum:
"Newbie conveniently didn't mention several other businesses in Atwater that have minimums for credit card charges. Whether or not their practices are legal, I won't mention them here by name because I like them and, from reading the posts on these forums, so does everybody else."
Yes, many businesses in Atwater Village and Southern California, especially non-chain, mom-and-pop shops, post credit-card minimums. And yes, I've mentioned others, like El Buen Gusto on Glendale Blvd. and Marlene's Beachcomber in Santa Monica, for enforcing them. Baracoa Cuban Cafe does it, and I love me some Baracoa. I bet the majority of retailers in Atwater Village, outside mega-chains like Best Buy and Starbucks, do it.

But no, credit-card minimums are not illegal. They send no one to jail. They simply violate merchant agreements with credit card issuers, like the agreement with Visa:
"Visa merchants are not permitted to establish minimum transaction amounts, even on sale items. They also are not permitted to charge you a fee when you want to use your Visa card."
(In 10 states, California included, a credit-card surcharge or card checkout fee is flat-out against the law, and should be reported. Los Feliz Car Wash at one time charged a $1 checkout fee. Word is Kailyn Nail Spa still does.)

It's our choice to patronize businesses that violate agreements and laws. If our desire for cheap tacos outweighs our need for consumer protection, then go for it. If we don't mind not knowing how much stuff we'll have to buy ($5? $10? $8.99?) before our credit cards become valid forms of payment, then keep supporting these bad business habits.

Otherwise, like I'm doing with my car washes, go elsewhere!

Or just pay cash.

Gang Member Girlfriends, You're on Notice

All Paint and No Play 4ACCUSED GANG member Vincent J. Vigil filed an appeal yesterday in a case convicting him of misdemeanor assault, felony assault with a deadly weapon, and 2 counts of corporal injury. One conviction involves gangs from our little neighborhood of Atwater Village and an injury to Vigil's girlfriend, Adelita Telles. From the prosecution's case:
On February 18, 2008, Dr. Thuc Bach treated [girlfriend Adelita] Telles at the Huntington Memorial Hospital for a six-inch, superficial, "bleeding" cut that was "very clean" and "very precise" and that was probably delivered in a "straight slashing action." ...
Telles said that she did not want to talk to the police about her injury and that she afraid of the person [appellant Vigil] who hurt her because he was an Avenues Gang member. Telles was with appellant who accused her of dating and having sex with someone from the Frog Town gang in Atwater Village.
Vigil's appeal was filed in Court of Appeals of California, Second District.

April 13, 2010

Landlords Strike Again! Casket Store Moving

Median Living IIIN WHAT SEEMS to be a post-recession pattern, another Atwater Village retailer is relocating to avoid higher rent.

Last month the Violet Willow boutique left its space at 3127 Glendale Blvd., and the space was subsequently offered at $1,450, about $2.07 per square foot, per month.

Now, California Casket Company has wheeled its coffins a block away, from 3153 Glendale Blvd. to 3229 Glendale Blvd., to avoid an alleged rent hike to $4,500 a month.

Are retail landlords seeing signs of recovery that lead them to believe richer tenants are just around the corner? They may be right: Alias Books is a big get. But they may not: The old Violet Willow space has been discounted, and is now listed for $50 less per month.

April 12, 2010

Sirens, Helicopter Respond to Accident, I-5 at Glendale Blvd. in Atwater Village

LAFD reports traffic accident with possible fatality, 10:54pm, southbound I-5 at Glendale Blvd. in Atwater Village. "Major traffic blocking all lanes, 4 patients total, 2 kids (6-year-old girl with burns), CPR on one of the patients." Rescue vehicles and helicopters converge after 11:00pm. Southbound I-5 issued SigAlert, lane closures north of Fletcher Drive, 11:29pm. Glendale Blvd. on-ramp also closed. Blow by blow from SigAlert.com:
  • Green BMW Possible in #2 Lane 10:32 PM
  • Reporting Party Called to Advise His Vehicle Was Blocking Lanes and to Ascertain If Assistance Was En Route 10:51 PM
  • Party Was Holding for Spanish Translator; Sound Like Vehicle May Have Been Hit, Line Went Dead 10:53 PM
  • Vehicle Has now Been Hit 10:54 PM
  • Message Delivered LA Fire Department 10:54 PM
  • CHP Unit on Scene 11:00 PM
  • Possible Fatality 11:02 PM
  • All Lanes Closed for now 11:03 PM
  • CHP Unit on Scene 11:04 PM
  • CHP Unit on Scene 11:22 PM
  • CHP Unit on Scene 11:23 PM
  • Glendale On Ramp Will Be Closed for Unknown Duration 11:26 PM
  • Sigalert for All Lanes with Traffic Only Getting Thru in #1 Lane for Unknown Duration 11:26 PM
  • #1, 2 Lanes Open 12:21 AM
UPDATE 12:12am: LAFD offers news on the 4 patients: 40-year-old female in cardiac arrest, 35-year-old male in serious condition with possible head injury and burns, 6-year-old female with leg burns. All transported to hospitals. 22-year-old male, minor injuries, not transported.

April 9, 2010

Video of the Week: Atwater Village, 1971

THIS HOME movie, Up the Pool in the Petito's Backyard, comes from Atwater Village, Los Angeles, 1971. Nice basketball moves in second half. Commenter says this might've been on Seneca Ave.

Feeling Restricted

A READER WANTS to know: "Any idea why there are loads of parking restrictions on this upcoming Monday, 6:00am to 6:00pm? All over Griffith View, Sunnynook, Glenfeliz." Good question. Could it be street resurfacing? Speed hump installation? Alien invasion?

Something Pink and Brown on the Sidewalk

Our new Pink & Brown outdoor chairs and tables! Aren't they s... on TwitpicPERHAPS PREPARING to be a tasty neighbor to that new indie bookstore coming soon to central Atwater Village, dessert shop Sweets for the Soul set up some sidewalk seating in front of its window at 3169 Glendale Blvd. "Our new pink and brown outdoor chairs and tables," the shop posted. "Aren't they so ... sweet?" Sweet as a $4 brownie.

UPDATE: Sweets for the Soul follows up: "We got those fabulous chairs and tables from Pot-ted, right here in our neighborhood on Los Feliz Boulevard."

April 7, 2010

Tom Hanks: As Seen in Atwater Village

Location scouts at night?? The work never stops. Hanx on TwitpicAS MENTIONED in his Twitter feed, Tom Hanks was hanging in Atwater Village, hunting locations for a new movie. Dude has 14 movies in development, including one called How Starbucks Saved My Life, which might explain this photo he posted Monday night around 7:30pm. He's across the street from our local Starbucks on Glendale Blvd., and it looks like he standing in front of the Artology 101 gallery or, perhaps, the medical marijuana dispensary next door. Hey, no one's judging.

UPDATE: Other Hanks photos seems to indicate he's scouting for Larry Crowne, co-starring Hanks, Julia Roberts, Brian Cranston; due out 2011.

April 6, 2010

Eat, Play, Sip at Atwater Playhouse

IT'S AN ITALIAN combo Friday night in Atwater Village, starting April 9, 6:30pm, at Atwater Playhouse, 3191 Casitas Ave.
  • Vesuvio, LA's first and only Italian food truck, serving grandma's Southern Italian recipes like $3 arancini stuffed with smoked mozzarella and $7 sandwiches
  • Two Rounds, the acclaimed Italian play brought to the US by Atwater Playhouse, tickets $15
  • Trilussa Wine, importer from Northern California, with tastes of their Italian wines

April 4, 2010

Found: Dog Wandering Central Atwater Village

Maltese Before & AfterDO YOU RECOGNIZE this dog? Maltese mix, seen wandering central Atwater Village for at least the last 3 days, white fur, quite matted. Nervous but friendly. Definitely someone's pet! Please pass along.

Contact info on this Craigslist post.

April 2, 2010

Los Feliz Car Wash Has $8.99 Minimum Charge on Credit Cards; Don't Like It? No Wash for You!

No Car Wash for You!

THEY OFFER a $5.99 express service as Los Feliz Car Wash, 3013 Los Feliz Blvd. Exterior only, no vacuum, no dash, but they hand wash and dry. Seems like a deal. But this Atwater Village establishment insists on cash.

"Is the credit card machine down?" I ask yesterday. No, I'm told, Los Feliz Car Wash enforces a minimum charge of $8.99 for credit-card transactions. I tell the cashier his demand violates credit card merchant policies and would be reported. Then I relented, offered cash. (Hindsight? Should go elsewhere. But my car's in the queue.)

Car Wash Guy takes my $10 bill, gives me change, but then suffers an abrupt about face. He tells me Los Feliz Car Wash would not be honoring my transaction, even with cash. And recognizing the physical manifestations of a man becoming unhinged, I start shooting video. Mostly as protection and eyewitness, though I see how someone might be antagonized by the business end of a cell-phone lens.

He starts to explain:
Car Wash Guy: I just don't want your business, that's all.
Me: How come?
CWG: It's a free world and it's a free business.
Me: You don't want my business because of the credit card policy?
CWG: No sir, I just don't want your business. It's because I don't like your attitude.
Me: You don't like my attitude, you said?
CWG: Yes sir. I'm an entrepreneur. I've got that right.
Indeed he does have a right to refuse service. But it gets more personal. About me. And about my camera phone:
CWG: Get that thing off my head before I knock it off.
Me: Did you just threaten to damage some property of mine?
CWG: All right, so let me get your money back, sir. Go check your head.
Me: What do you mean, like with a psychiatrist or something?
CWG: I don't know, I'm not in psychiatry business. I'm in car wash business.
Debatable. He refunds me $6 on the $5.99 car wash. Then, personal gets weird:
Me: Thanks for the extra penny.
CWG: I know you need it. I can tell.
Me: You can tell?
CWG: Yes sir. Have your car out of here or I'll have it towed.
Me: Are you the owner?
CWG: No. I'm an illegal alien.
Me: Oh, you are?
CWG: Yes. Go report that to immigration.
Beefy SecurityOn it goes, 3 or 4 minutes. CWG calls me a "f***ing son of a bitch." Without seeming to enter a phone number, he reports to his cell that there's a "disturbance" by someone with a "junky" car.

Then some beefy security guy shows up wearing a badge that looks like a toy. He's not employed by Los Feliz Car Wash, just wants to call me a "f***ing idiot." (And let me know my camera doesn't intimidate him; he's been on TMZ!)

Alas, I take my "junky" car a few blocks up to California Car Wash, 3940 San Fernando Road. Express service: $6.99. Credit card: accepted. No questions asked. No obscenities hurled.

ARCHIVE: Back in September 2008, Los Feliz Car Wash charged $1 to run credit-card transactions of $8.99 or less. A practice like that seems to violate merchant policies and possibly California law.

April 1, 2010

Video of Police Chase in Atwater Village: March 30

THIS INTREPID videographer captures a police chase in Atwater Village, as it passes the post office at Glendale Blvd. and La Clede Ave. on March 30. Not sure whom they're chasing, other than someone who saw fit to jump off a motorcycle and try to escape on foot.