Impressed at the Bresee Youth Film Festival

Award-winning young filmmakers at tonight's Youth Film Festival

I checked out the Youth Film Festival tonight hosted by the Bresee Foundation, which is located at the south end of the block where eco-village is. The festival was the 6th Annual Youth Film Festival on Social Justice. It featured 42 short films created by youth ages 14-19. The theme was Unhealthy L.A.? Is Los Angeles a healthy or unhealthy city for youth?  Continue reading

Music Event/Food Sat Night 5/7 from 6 to midnight

Sat., May 7, 2011 from 6 pm to midnight at L.A. Eco-Village

Music! Music! Music! Different kinds. Some loud! Some soft!
Bands Single performers Duos
Electronic. Amplified. Acoustic
Some you’ve heard of; some not.

Fundraiser for L.A. Eco-Villagers’ and Friends’ Burning Man Cafe
$5 to $20 sliding scale.

Cafe Negro at Burning Man provides FREE Cafecito Organico coffee and musical entertainment to Burning Man attendees.

Please help us do it again this year, and support local businesses and fair trade organic coffee!

6 to 9 pm:  BBQ
8 pm to midnight: Music:
The Atomic Bomb Audition, The Shirley Rolls, fitter, Thiago Winterstein, Dust4ngel, Astronovazz, Telematique and more

Dunkelbunt Brewery Beer available by donation.

No reservations required.

Intersection Mural Version 3.0

Volunteers painting the central bicycle-wheel design - photo by Yuki

A quick blog post to show off some photographs of last Saturday’s (March 12th 2011) intersection mural painting. This is the third time Eco-Village and our neighbors have painted this “intersection repair” mural. It’s inspired by the work of Portland’s City Repair. This weekend, we mostly freshened-up the mural painted in 2009 – covered here – while adding a few new twists. It was a great opportunity to bring people together. Lots of  kids and adults in our neighborhood helped make something beautiful we can all be proud of! Continue reading

Complete Streets Conference Packed 2/25/11

Complete Streets are multi-use environments that enable safe and comfortable access for all users on both roadways and sidewalks in a way that promotes vibrant, healthy and active neighborhoods.  Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and public transportation users of all ages and abilities, including older people, children and people with disabilities, are able to safely move along and across a Complete Street environment.”  (Definition from Conference Program)

Strong examples are noticeably lacking in Los Angeles, but this conference was designed to inspire people to action!

Packed room at Complete Streets conference

Held at the Japanese American National Museum in downtown LA, it was a treat to go to a conference on one of my favorite topics: making streets more people friendly. You might say I’m a radical “streets for people” person, my attempt to be more positive than saying I’m a radical anti-carist, not wanting my car owning friends to be offended by my passions.

The unusually long day (8am to 7 pm) was supported with lots of fabulous food.  Though I don’t want to appear unappreciative of the many culinary delights, probably we could do with less eating and more movement a la Japanese style.  Seems like tai chi breaks are more common than coffee breaks in that part of the world, and there’s a lot less obesity and degenerative diseases there as well, so no time like the present to start eating less and moving ourselves more, much easier once our streets become more complete, the main subject here, after all.

The event was sold out nearly two weeks before the happening.  It was impressive to see that at least half the 350 or so attendees were staff from a variety of public agencies:  Metro, L.A. City’s Department of Transportation, L.A. County’s Department of Public Health and others.  The balance of attendees were primarily students and faculty from several local academic institutions.  UCLA’s Lewis and Luskin Centers, along with Los Angeles County RENEW (Renew Environments for Nutrition, Exercise, and Wellness) were the co-organizing sponsors.  Many other sponsors lent energy to the event, including UC’s Transportation Center, The California Endowment, Metro, Green LA, AIA Los Angeles, ASLA Southern California, LACBC, SCAG, Safe Routes to School, UEPI at Occidental College, AHBE Landscape Architects, the Castle Press, Stanley R. Hoffman Associates, Linscott Law & Greenspan engineers, APA, LA City Planning Departement, Ryan Snyder Associates and Safe Routes to School.  Gosh, hope I didn’t leave anyone out (the papers never credit all the great energy that goes into making a successful event–yeah blogs! Oh, and then there were also advisory and outreach committees made up of many hard working folks whose names will be familiar to most of you who follow this stuff).  A healthy showing of nonprofit reps and activists were also attending.

Though I didn’t get there till almost noon, I still heard some cool quotes.  Here are a few:

Why did you go to school?” Professor Emeritus Allan B. Jacobs asked rhetorically.  “To get ideas!  Then, propose them!”  Jacobs taught City and Regional Planning and Urban Design at UC Berkeley, and formerly headed up San Francisco’s Planning Department.  His quote seemed to be directed toward anyone who might complain about  things not being right, but especially those who work in the public sector.

Continue reading

L.A. Weekly Bike Article features Eco-Villagers

Check it out: several mentions of  Eco-Villagers Joe Linton, Jimmy Lizama, Adonia LugoRon Milam and Eco-Village, too, plus many bicycle activist friends of LAEV.  This is a lengthy article which will hold the interest of bike folks all the way through.  Focusing on the upsurge in bicycle activism the past few years, it culminates in Stephen Box’s run for City Council.

But, overall, the article provides a very male perspective, with just brief mention of Adonia Lugo (who with Bobby Gadda and a few other  Eco-Villagers brought CicLAvia to LA ) and too much criticism of dedicated LADOT project coordinator for bicycles, Michelle Mowery.  Really, there are so many very actively involved women in the movement, and I hope we will start seeing many of them featured in the mainstream media in the positive light that they shine on this city.

Aurisha Smolarski-Waters is one of them, having contributed in major ways during her recent years with the LACBC.  While she loves seeing our LAEV neighbors in the media, she urges our neighbors and friends to note the contributions of women when speaking with the media.

Aurisha Smolarski-Waters advocating in City Hall

“This gender bias on bicycle issues has been an ongoing conversation among a few of us here in LAEV,” says Aurisha.   “I am starting to wonder if it is not part of our mission living here to also think about this as a social justice issue, not only in the way we live, but also in the way we portray the history of the movements, which many of us are a part of, to the media.  Being highlighted in the media is awesome and a great opportunity to start shifting the way people think,” she adds.

Anti-Gentrification Rally at the Rayfield

Watch this video, by Jerold Kress of the Bresee Foundation, to see the recent protest at the Rayfield building, located at the northwest corner of Bimini and 2nd Street. According to Bresee Community News:

…protesters gathered in our park to mount a protest against gentrification they claim is happening at the [Rayfield].  The protesters are upset that Latinos are being targeted for eviction and replaced by more affluent renters.  Continue reading

Dave Auerbach in the L.A. Times 2/2/11

Having a birthday lunch with my neighbor Dale today, he told me about this article that he caught in yesterday’s LA Times, and that he’d posted the hard copy on our bulletin board.  Couldn’t wait to get home to read it, especially when Dale indicated that he really understood what Dave’s research was about from this article, something that’s always been a bit too fuzzy for me.  But Lopez did clarify it for me.  Nonetheless, the critical part is about the simpletons that think they belong to the same species as we do but don’t want a rapid bus lane in their neighborhood.  Really strange, I agree.  How about an 8 lane two direction critical mass bike ride three days a week through those hoods till they cry “Uncle!”  Here’s the article (link to original):

Peering into a post-petroleum world

As protests in Egypt underscore the hazards of relying on imported oil, a bus and bike-riding scientist at UCLA is working on clean fusion energy that could wean us from foreign fuel.
By Steve Lopez

Dave Auerbach relaxing at home in LAEV courtyard

February 2, 2011

The story of how I ended up in the basement of a UCLA physics building, getting a tour of a plasma facility with a young scientist working on the development of clean fusion energy, begins with the uprisings in the Middle East.

On Monday morning, I headed west on Wilshire Boulevard with a couple of items on the agenda. First, I wanted to see if I could find any demonstrators left over from the weekend. People were still marching in the streets of Cairo, demanding the ouster of longtime U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak, so I thought there might still be a few protesters carrying signs in front of the West L.A. federal building.

I also wanted to meet with a UCLA student who had e-mailed me to say that he was ticked off about opposition to the proposed bus-only lane for Wilshire Boulevard. David Auerbach, a doctoral candidate who has no car and commutes by bicycle and bus, called the piecemeal scaling back of the bus plan “a great example of the typical L.A. governance.” He didn’t mean that as a compliment. Continue reading

Diana Leafe Christian Ecovillage Talk Feb. 22

If you haven’t heard Diana’s talk before, don’t miss this one.  OR if you have heard it, you won’t want to miss this one either, because it’s new and better than ever!

Ecovillages: Where They Are, What They’re Doing, Why They’re Important
Diana Leafe Christian (in person)

Diana Leafe Christian

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 7:30 pm
at L.A. Eco-Village
117 Bimini Pl, LA 90004  directions

Fee: $10 to $5 (sliding scale)
Reservations required: or 213/738-1254

With over 400 photos, this slide show demonstrates how ecovillages worldwide integrate ecological, economic, and social/cultural/spiritual sustainability, through:

• Permaculture design
• International peace activism
• Natural building
• Service to populations in need
• Renewable energy/off-grid power
• Local currencies
• Alternative technology
• On-site cottage industries
• Sustainable agriculture
• Participatory decision-making
• Earth-restoraton projects
• Conflict resolution & communication skills

WHY people are devoted to developing ecological settlements.
HOW ecovillages are beneficially influencing the wider culture.
HOW ecovillages will probably affect patterns of human settlement in the near future.

Continue reading

Loan Your Dollars for Local Ecological Good

Eco-Village is looking for some investors. Eco-Village’s non-profit parent, the Cooperative Resources and Services ProjectCRSP,” has utilized an innovative Ecological Revolving Loan FundELF” to crowd-source purchasing property for permanent ecological and affordability benefits.

Help crowdsource Eco-Village's purchase of additional housing!

In 1996, CRSP purchased our initial 40-unit apartment building at 117 Bimini Place. In 1999, we expanded by purchasing the adjacent 8-unit Bimini Terrace. These two apartment buildings have been instrumental to the success of the eco-village project. They’re where we live, gardengatherdine, host, even give birth. They’re where we’ve planted fruit trees, spread compost and mulch, harvested rain, installed solar and greywater, where we steward bees and chickens, where we helped incubate the Bicycle Kitchen, Cafecito Organico and CicLAvia.

Both of these buildings were purchased with no bank loans. Really. No bank loans. Through the Ecological Revolving Loan Fund, eco-village borrowed money from from friends and supporters. By cobbling together more than 20 loans from $3000 to about $100,000, CRSP was able to purchase Los Angeles real estate. Using rental income, these loans were all paid back, with modest interest. I can vouch for this. In 1998-99, I loaned the eco-village ELF $3000 at 3% interest per year. I received semi-annual interest checks, and the principal was repaid in 2002-03.

Los Angeles Eco-Village and CRSP, working through the Beverly Vermont Community Land Trust are working on another property purchase in the eco-village neighborhood. We’re looking for some investors to loan money to the CRSP ELF. Here’s a message from eco-village founder and CRSP executive director Lois Arkin: 

January 12, 2011

Dear Neighbors and Friends of L.A. Eco-Village,

A Happy and Healthy New Year to all. Of course, never before in the history of our species have so many bad things been happening so fast. But it is also the case that never before have so many good things been happening so fast.  You are all among those whom I know to be making a difference on the good side of this challenging equation.

So here is another opportunity, a rare one that doesn’t crop up often for us.  We here in L.A. Eco-Village–specifically CRSP and the Beverly-Vermont Community Land Trust–are in escrow on our third building in LA Eco-Village. Continue reading

Cohousing Talk this Friday with Betsy Morris and Raines Cohen

Join us this Friday night for an evening of questions, dialog and exploration of the complex issues in established and emerging communities:

Betsy Morris and Raines Cohen - photo from East Bay Cohousing

The Cohousing Experience: An Evening of Exploration
with Raines Cohen and Betsy Morris
at 7:30 pm
this Friday, December 10th 2010
Los Angeles Eco-Village, 117 Bimini Place, L.A. 90004
Suggested donation:  $7 (sliding scale ok)
Reservations requested:  crsp [at]  or (213)738-1254

Raines Cohen has visited over 100 cohousing neighborhoods.  He is a board member of the Fellowship for Intentional Community.  Betsy Morris has served as Research Director for the Cohousing Association of the United States.  Together, they advocate for cohousing and intentional community formation in the San Francisco Bay Area, including working with Cohousing California and East Bay Cohousing. Raines wrote the chapter Aging in Community in the book Audacious Aging.

Advanced Facilitation Seminar

(photo from a recent meeting Ron facilitated using small groups)

I’m leading another Advanced Facilitation Workshop on Wednesday, September 15th at the LA Eco-Village (117 Bimini Pl), from 7 to 9pm and invite you to attend. This workshop explores more sophisticated tools and strategies that facilitators use to ensure groups 
effectively reach decisions.  Participants will have the opportunity to practice facilitating challenging 
situations and receive feedback from the instructor and training participants.  Recommended pre-requisite:  Intro to Facilitation or some facilitation experience. Fee:  $35 (sliding scale available)
Reservations required: or 213/738-1254.  For those interested in learning more about facilitation, consider attending Beatrice Brigg’s upcoming “Leading Effective Meetings” training on September 30th through October 2nd.

Documentary Fundraiser for “Seen Also In Men” Friday, July 30, 2010 7:00 pm

“Seen Also In Men” needs funds! We are showing (unofficially) the film and asking for your support to help us send it to festivals!

This film tells the story of three black fathers who are choosing to be there for their kids even though their fathers weren’t there for them. It’s about a growing movement to break a cycle and stereotypes in the African-American community and create a positive change. This film truly deserves a wider audience. Please come and tell your friends! Suggested donation $5-$25.

For more info:

Safe 4th Street Walk and Bike Ride this Saturday

Come Walk and Bike for a Safer 4th Street - This Saturday Morning!

This Saturday, explore 4th Street – and learn about plans for it to become a “bicycle boulevard.” There’s an easy bike ride and a short walk, all designed to make folks more aware of the changes proposed for the future of 4th Street. They’re taking place this Saturday July 24th 2010. The above flier is available in Spanish and Korean, below.

Come on down, meet neighbors and discuss how to make our streets safer for everyone! It’s free, and there will be refreshments, courtesy of Larchmont Bungalow restaurant.

Vamos a la Calle 4!

Get on your Cha-Jan-Go and ride 4th!

Continue reading

World Cup Final Banana Bread

2010 World Cup whole-wheat banana bread - recipe below

This doesn’t have a lot to do with eco-village, though it’s somewhat in the flavor of how we share meals together. A handful of us, mostly Julio, Julio, Somer, Becca, Eric, Doran and me, have been watching the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament. For the final today, we and another half dozen eco-villagers crammed in to Julio’s apartment. That’s where the best television at LAEV is located - and it’s probably one of around a dozen total TV’s in our 48 apartments.

Continue reading

Benefit for Camilo Otero July 31st 2010

Announcement below from Eco-Village’s Arturo Aranda, playwright and host of Maybe Fridays. Some more event information at Facebook.

Camilo Otero

QUE ONDA?!?!     BUENAS!!     SALUDOS!!!
Los Super Amigos present
“El Rescate!!”
a benefit show for Camilo Otero!
Dear friends, please join us
for a special fundraising event to help out the homie, Camilo!
  Our friend has been diagnosed with cancer
and he needs the help of his friends.
There will be refreshments, a not so silent auction,
and special musical performances from the following locos!:
DJ LANO, LAEV’s own TELEMATIQUE, FITTER, and more tba! 
All funds go to help out the homie Camilo in his recovery!
We will be asking for a suggested donation of $10 at the door.
 None shall be turned away for lack of funds!
LAEV is a welcoming community
so no need to worry about the fuzz, the cheese, or the man!
Please spread the good word!
L.A. ECO-VILLAGE is located at:
117 Bimini Place,  LA 90004
Vermont & 1st, south of 101 fwy, east on 1st Street
Metro: Vermont Avenue or 3rd Street buses or Red Line Beverly station  
We are eternal.  All this pain is an illusion.” – Tool

Support CicLAvia

CicLAvia is a car-free streets festival coming to Los Angeles on September 12th 2010! There’s lots of walking and bicycling and Angelenos getting to know their place in public space.

Click to the watch the CicLAvia video at Kickstarter - featuring eco-village's Adonia Lugo (speaking from the LAEV bike room) and Joe Linton

Eco-Villagers Bobby Gadda, Adonia Lugo, and Joe Linton (yours truly) have been working hard to make this happen. Click on the image above to watch a video about CicLAvia – and you feel moved, please make a contribution larger or small to make it happen here!

To learn more about CicLAvia, to volunteer, discuss, debate, explore, etc. go to

10 Tips for Running Effective Meetings

Photo of a Food Lobby Coop Meeting that occurred at the LA Eco-Village

Tonight (Tuesday, June 15th), from 7pm to 9pm, I’m leading a Running Effective Meetings Workshop at the LA Eco-Village, and I invite you to attend.  To rsvp, contact or 213/738-1254.  $35 sliding scale.

Many of us spend much of our times in meetings.  Having attending numerous meetings as a facilitator and participant, I’m happy to share the following 10 quick tips for running effective meetings with you:

1. Designate a Facilitator: Whether it’s a member of the group such or your group decide to bring in an outside facilitator, the facilitator’s role is to help keep the group focused and moving forward.

2. Develop an agenda before the meeting:
At the core of a good agenda are items that require the group to make decisions.  Project how much time each item will take and assign the outcome you hope to accomplish.

3. Stick to the agenda during the meeting:
Many temptations exist to stray off topic.  Stay focused to get the work done you need to get done and record other ideas brought up at the meeting for future meetings.

4. Record decisions made:
Have a notetaker at every meeting to take minutes and have them record each decision, who is responsible for implementing it and if any future actions need to happen.

5. Start and end on time:
When groups slide from starting and ending on time, people loose motivation for attending meeting.

6. Set groundrules:
Groundrules help ensure civility between members. Some examples:  test assumptions, share all relevant information and focus on interests, not positions.

7. Address conflict when it comes up:
Dealing with conflict can be challenging but not dealing with it and letting it fester can potentially be worse.

8. Use graphics:
Have someone scribe notes on a dry-erase board or poster paper to visually record people’s thoughts.

9. Evaluate:
Occasionally ask what about the meetings work well and what could be improved…experiment with ways to improve meetings.

10. Thank people for attending:
If folks feel appreciated and valued, they are more likely to show up at future meetings, especially if they are a volunteer.

If you’re group needs an outside facilitator to make your meetings more effective, please contact me.

Advanced Facilitation Training – June 9

LA Eco-Villager Julio Santizo presenting at a Beverly Vermont Community Land Trust board meeting that Ron Milam facilitated

Tomorrow night (June 9th), Ron Milam will lead an Advanced Facilitation training at the LA Eco-Village. The following week on June 15th, he’ll lead a Running Effective Meetings training.  You are welcome to attend one or both of these trainings.

Here’s more information about the trainings:

Wed, June 9, 2010 from 7 to 9 pm at L.A. Eco-Village directions

Advanced Facilitation

This workshop explores more sophisticated tools and strategies that facilitators use to ensure groups effectively reach decisions.  Participants will have the opportunity to practice facilitating challenging situations and receive feedback from the instructor and training participants.

Recommended pre-requisite: Intro to Facilitation or some facilitation experience.

$35 (sliding scale available)
Reservations required: or 213/738-1254


Tue, June 15, 2010 from 7 to 9 pm at L.A. Eco-Village    directions

Running Effective Meetings

This workshop explores the key components necessary to ensure meetings are effective and result in decisions that help an organization move forward.  These components include: developing an agenda, knowing people’s roles and responsibilities, having a decision making process, facilitation and good listening skills.

Fee: $35 (sliding scale available)
Reservations required: or 213/738-1254

For more information Ron Milam’s work as a facilitator, click here.

Ron will also lead another Introduction to Facilitation training on July 28th from 7pm to 9pm at the LA Eco-Village.

It’s official: LAEV is in Koreatown

Well, there is sometimes some debate about where the boundaries of neighborhoods lie in this city of overlapping ethnicities, immigrant communities, and traffic everywhere, but the LATimes has maps and data about their ‘official’ boundaries, drawn from a questionnaire filled out by thousands of LA residents and LATimes readers:

Photos from Boishakhi Mela 1417

Lots of yummy Bengladeshi food booths. These women were selling sweet pastries. My favorites were ones with coconut filling.

Apologies for my meager cell phone photos which don’t quite capture the vivid visuals of this great event. Last weekend was the annual Bangladeshi New Year celebration – Boishakhi Mela 1417. Eco-village blog previewed the event here.

Continue reading