The Urban Parking Dilemma

This morning I woke to a message from a neighbor saying she was yelled at and threatened by another neighbor because she had parked on the street in front of the neighbor’s house.  She was concerned with the violence of the altercation and didn’t know what to do.  She didn’t want to elevate the anger by calling the police, but wanted advice.  Not being the best source for advice on specifically what to do in this situation;  I will share the ideas it did bring to mind.

bad-parking-7132531All houses (in Los Angeles) are supposed to provide covered parking, so I would like to remind everyone, we do have parking on our properties we are just not choosing to use it. (Most garages in my neighborhood are used as storage units, man caves or converted to rental units.) Considering our area was built up in the 1920s- 1940s many driveways seem to be too narrow to drive down, so there is that excuse not to use the garage. But it might be time for each of us to try consider a way to park on our own properties.

The spaces between driveways are meant to fit 2, I repeat 2 cars (in my neighborhood anyway). If we are all considerate not to block driveways, but pull all the way to the edge to allow more of our neighbors access to parking, we might alleviate some of the anger that comes from getting home from work and not being able to find a space near our own homes.

However, streets are for public usage. We do not own the spots in front of our houses. We all want to park in the spots closest to our houses. We all have that moment of annoyance when the spot in front of our house is taken. But these are public streets and people have the right to park on public streets. No one has the right to bully, harass, or threaten anyone in any situation, but especially in our own neighborhood. We all understand the frustration. But please try to deal with conflict while understanding we all want the same thing. We all just want the right to park by our own house and go inside and turn off the world.

Today think of one way you might be able to create more parking on the street.
– Park larger cars in the driveway/ smaller cars in the street
– Make more space in the driveway to park tandem
– Park motorcycles and mopeds on the side of the house
– Pull all the way forward to the edge of the curb when parking while not blocking driveways
– Pull your rv or boat into your driveway or backyard to make space for cars
– Tell your tenants to respect neighbors and park with empathy because we all get frustrated
– Park with empathy because we are all frustrated.
– Ask that guests pull all the way into street spots when they visit.

80ff1423dde637288a960590bbec6d5aPlease share your ideas on how to make this better. We all know the problems, looking for solutions here.

Thanks everyone for consideration over frustration.

Financing Makes It Easy to Green Your Next Home

One of the main reasons I educate myself in “Green Real Estate” is to make it more affordable to buy a home.  Using the programs that are in place many people can make upgrades to homes they need to make their home more comfortable, healthier, safer and better to live in.

Financing Makes It Easy to Green Your Next Home.

One really great resource is a free program with SoCal Gas:

George Kopf
Energy Advisor
BPI Certified Building Analyst
SoCalGas® funded Home Energy Advising 

600 Wilshire Blvd #202  •  Los Angeles, CA 90017

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook in Culver City

I love this place. If you want to bring your dog you have to stay on the paved areas.

Reynier Village Blog

In all of my years living in Reynier Village, I always recognize and  appreciate just how central our neighborhood is to many of LA’s great things to do. Not far from our cozy enclave is a great way to exercise (for free) while taking-in some amazing views of the city … and all practically a stone’s throw away. Well, maybe not that close, but close enough that it is super convenient. I am talking about the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook California State Park in Culver City. It’s roughly 2.8 miles away and, on a weekend at 7:30 am, 5-10 minutes by car.

This relatively unassuming little patch of earth is a wonderful recreation space as evidenced by the sheer number of cars parked along Jefferson Blvd. that ferry Angelenos to the State Park.
Like everyone else, park on Jefferson Blvd. and start climbing the 282 concrete stairs that make up…

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How to Enjoy a Compost Pit Without the Stench

By Guest Blogger Jaron Clinton

Pallet compost binThere are plenty of reasons to have a compost pit, such as excellent mulch and waste reduction, and if you are moving to a new home and want to grow a garden, now is the best time to give it a shot.

Compost pits use the decomposition power from billions of microorganisms that are commonly found in healthy soil to decompose lawn rubbish and kitchen waste into fertilizer growing plants can use. Some people like to maintain an indoor compost bucket in something smaller such as an empty and clean paint can. This is tremendously beneficial because it saves you the effort of going out to your compost pit every single time you have something to contribute to it. The soil created makes great fertilizer for most plants—everything from sunflowers to corn.

Compost BinsA compost pit also serves as an excellent way to recycle food and lawn trash that would otherwise clog up landfills and add more problems to our already worsening climate. For items that should not be composted, make sure you utilize landfill diversion techniques to keep our planet clean. Creating a compost pit is a simple process that doesn’t take up too much time or space, but if you don’t create the pit properly then it can take on a bit of an unpleasant odor. Luckily, eliminating this is a pretty easy process.


The first and most important step to eliminate a smelly compost pile is to make sure the ingredients are properly mixed and aerated. “A healthy compost pile needs plenty of oxygen mixed in. Otherwise, aerobic bacteria (those that need oxygen to metabolize the organic materials) cannot function, and decomposition will be driven instead by anaerobic bacteria, which produce foul-smelling gasses as byproducts of their metabolism,” according to WikiHow. The easiest method to ensure that the aerobic bacteria do their job is to use a rotating compost bin. When this is not an option, make sure to turn or mix the pile every few days with a shovel or pitchfork.

If that doesn’t solve your stinky pit of soon-to-be fertilizer, then take a peek at the size of materials you’re using. Subpar airflow can also be a result of materials that are too small and don’t leave enough room for air to sweep through. “For example, a compost pile composed largely of sawdust will be difficult to aerate, as the small pieces of sawdust will fit together snugly and prevent air from flowing through the pile,” the WikiHow article states. “To prevent this problem, integrate larger or looser materials into your pile. Tree limbs and cardboard scraps are good materials for this purpose.”

Finally, if that still isn’t working to get the air flowing then you’re stuck making sure your pile isn’t too wet. Air finds it difficult to push through a moist environment. A handful of compost should have the dampness of a wrung out sponge.

If by chance your compost pile is getting enough airflow but still smells, then take a look at what you’re tossing in there. Eliminating meat from your diet is a great benefit to society, as livestock account for a staggering one-fifth of global greenhouse gasses and 75 percent of deforestation, and similarly, meat should never find its way into your compost pile.

Rich CompostLearning how to compost is an awesome experience that gives you a better understanding of how the decomposition process works. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better fertilizer in your local hardware store, and so long as you wear proper sun protection, being outside to toil through the pit is good exercise. The only downside beginners often encounter is the smell, but by following these tips the only thing you’ll be smelling will be a bed of growing flowers.

SoCalWaterSmart Turf Removal Program Funds Committed

It was announced today that the funds for the Turf Removal Program also known as Cash for Grass Program are all reserved and no more projects will be approved.  If you have already had your project approved your rebate should be reserved.  However, there is no money left for new projects to be approved.

BUT, there are still a lot of other great water saving programs that can be found on the website as well as at

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) 
announced that it will be closing its turf removal program to 
new applications today July 9, 2015 because available funding 
has been fully allocated. LADWP is currently retooling their 
program to continue a utility-sponsored rebate program for their
customers. The revamped program will be available soon – please 
check back. Please also check 
for additional instructions.


How I got Cash for Grass: Through SoCalWaterSmart Turf Removal Program.

LADWP Home Energy Improvement Program

Home Energy Improvement Program (HEIP)

HEIP Assessor
HEIP Assessor

The LADWP Home Energy Improvement Program or (HEIP) is a free program for energy efficient upgrades offered to residential customers. Once you are approved, they send trained energy technicians to your house for a comprehensive assessment of your entire house’s energy useage.

It took about a month to get approved for the program, and about 2 weeks after that they came out to my house. They took my house through a battery of tests checking my insulation, window and door sealing, sprinkler systems, toilets, shower heads and more. They did a combustion test on my hot water heater and stove. Checked my thermostat, tested all of my smoke detectors, replacing some with a 10 year battery model for free. They put in a new CO detector in a better position in my hallway and replaced nearly all of my lightbulbs with CLFs.

They did all of this 100% for free.


They might have done more, but, if you know me, I keep the place pretty energy efficient anyway. Had I not had proper insulation; if I didn’t have low-flow shower heads and toilets; they would have sent out a skilled technician to complete the upgrades. The products that they use are not high-end, but they will save energy and money.  (And if you are about to sell and need these items for a city compliance certificate – here is your chance to get these things done for free!)

It is a fantastic program to see where your house is as far as energy useage. I was pretty proud that he said mine was one of the best houses that he had seen in my area. All in all, I was glad to have had an assessment and I know I will not run out of lightbulbs for the next 5 years.

Learn more about the LADWP Home Energy Improvement Program HEIP.

HEIP Application

Calgrove Fire Hits Too Close to Home

Last weeks Calgrove fire hit a bit too close to home for me.  My father’s house was directly across from the forested valley on fire.  The news was reporting from his street.  It was very scary stuff.  Thankfully everyone is all right, but it is definitely time to review our emergency preparedness plan.

Calgrove Fire Close to Home
Calgrove Fire Close to Home

I got a call from a friend to turn on the news and knew immediately that Calgrove is my parents’ exit on the Fwy and the main street to their home.  The fire was just south and coming in fast.  I tried to call my dad, but his phone was off while he was working.  I called my stepmom and she had already heard about the fire and was driving home to collect what she could.  Scared and alone.

She wasn’t able to get off at her exit so had to figure out a back way to the house.  (Know the backway in to your house!)  The traffic around the house was awful and anyone else coming to help her in time was unlikely.

We talking about about what is important to grab if you only have minutes to collect your most precious possessions.  It made me think about how I should store my own precious and important documents.

News Reports for Calgrove Fire on my street.
News Reports for Calgrove Fire on my street.

I have a small fire safe that I don’t for a minute think would withstand a real fire, but it is small enough to grab and know that most of my important documents and treasured baubles will be easy to evacuate.  I have all of one year’s tax and working paperwork in one file drawer so I could just grab that drawer.  But, of course, my dog will be number one on the evacuation list!

I don’t have all of my pictures in one place to compile them quickly.  My step mother and I talked about why we had not yet chosen to scan all of our old pictures.  When a fire threatens, you re-think putting those things off.  Here is some info on photo scanning.  I think both of us will be doing this soon.

  • How will you contact your loved ones if there is a fire?
  • Do you have a meeting spot in an emergency?
  • Do you have your treasures in a place that is easy to get to?
  • Do you know where your medications are and do you have extras?
  • What is your best news source in a local emergency?

Here are some other links with more information that might be useful.

Red Cross Wildfire Preparedness

Los Angeles Fire Department

Office of the State Fire Marshal

This is going to a long, dry, hot summer, so be careful out there!


Rain Barrel Pick-Up Free with Rebate May 31st.

Rain Barrels International IMG_2538Don’t miss your chance to get up to 4 rain barrels free with rebate.  Follow the links to purchase your rain barrel at: Rain Barrels International  You can only do one one-time rebate per household so make sure you get enough for your whole yard.

South Robertson Neighborhood Council

Orders are now being taken for a May 31, 2015 pickup date. Distribution will be from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Hamilton High School, 2955 South Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. Only rain barrels ordered in advance on the form below are guaranteed to be available.

Specifications of each rain barrel:
Designed with brass spigot for garden hose attachment
Barrel has a screen to prevent mosquitoes from accessing water
Side brass overflow
Made from plastic reused food grade barrels
Color Available: Black and Terra Cotta
*Color subject to availability

Price – $85.00 each

Payment is made via Paypal Secure Network after the form below is filled out.

For questions contact


Save Water – Save LA Great Success.