Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Apply Now: Community Leadership Bootcamp

 Dear Readers:

By now, I'm sure most of you know that I feel quite strongly about preserving our historic places.

The LA Conservancy holds an annual Community Leadership Bootcamp to train preservationists. I was fortunate to be selected for last year's original bootcamp. It was very informative, and good practice for contributing statements to the Taix Historic-Cultural Monument nomination (I also shared my notes on Taix with the actual writer of the nomination). 

Apply by February 24 if you want to attend. I highly recommend it.


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

My Thoughts on the Vignes Street Housing Project

Not too long ago, I was contacted by a reader (hi Carmen) about a housing facility under construction for homeless Angelenos. 

I haven't had a chance to drive by myself and take a look yet. This article pretty much covers it. 

This may sound surprising to some, but I really have no objection to the project. I'm all for it.

Why should I be bothered by a homeless shelter on Vignes Street? The site has been abandoned and empty for years (the old factory buildings have been gone for a couple of years now), and that particular part of downtown is pretty desolate. Better to have a homeless shelter than wasted space. The fact that the street it's on is named after Jean-Louis Vignes doesn't really matter to me.

The city, the county, and the state have all failed the homeless - miserably so. The Vignes Street project will provide both temporary and longer-term housing, case management, and counseling - all important tools in combating homelessness.

Additionally, since the site is in a largely industrial area, there are no residential neighbors to complain about the project. NIMBYs are no friends to the down-and-out! 

Since Union Station is within walking distance, the shelter's residents will have access to mass transit. Hopefully that will help those who don't have cars, especially if they have to get to work (you might be surprised by how many homeless and struggling Angelenos do indeed have jobs).

I should mention that the project is on North Vignes Street (think 'industrial area behind Union Station'), which turns into Alpine Street not too far away. It's not even in the former Frenchtown. But if it were, I'd still think it was a good first step in the right direction.

So no, I don't mind at all. On the contrary, I think the city and county need MORE projects like this, ideally making good use of empty, long-abandoned sites.

Whenever French settlers ran into financial trouble and had to return to France, other French immigrants would raise money amongst themselves to send their countrymen home to their families. You'll kindly excuse me if I think Jean-Louis Vignes himself just might have approved of Los Angeles finally caring for its most vulnerable citizens.