Thoughts on Joe's Cafe and cancel culture

On June 1, 2020, the date when people planned to gather in Granada Hills to protest George Floyd's killing, fearful rumors began flying early. The protest was certain to be violent. The claims that it was planned as a "peaceful" protest was certain to be cover for looters. Some started spreading the rumor that "the organizers have cancelled the event," presumably with the hope of making that come true.  I spent that afternoon trying to debunk the myths that seemed designed to suppress the event from happening. Myth debunking has, at times during 2020, seemed like a full-time job for me, starting with my pointless and overmatched efforts to argue with "the pandemic is a liberal hoax" theorists. I still find it difficult to believe that my pleas for evidence-based reasoning would so often be dismissed as radical.  Yet I stubbornly cling to my insistence that without evidence to support them, beliefs are worthless.  On social media, I pled with fear-sprea

Mitchell Englander Agrees to Plead Guilty to Federal Charge Related to Obstructing Public Corruption Investigation

by L.J. Williamson Former Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell "Mitch" Englander filed a plea agreement this morning in federal court, pleading guilty to one count of scheming to falsify material facts. Federal criminal charges against Englander stem from obstruction of a public corruption investigation related to his acceptance of gifts from a businessman during trips to Las Vegas and Palm Springs. In the plea agreement, Englander pled to a scheme to cover up cash payments, expensive meals, escort services and other gifts offered to him from a businessman who operated companies in Los Angeles relating to major development projects.  The agreement also states that Englander knowingly and willfully falsified and concealed material facts pertaining to this federal public corruption investigation According to the Department of Justice, after he learned about the FBI’s public corruption investigation, Englander sent an encrypted message to "Businessperson A" o

The Englander Indictment: What Next For John Lee?

John Lee's Facebook profile pic.  by L.J. Williamson After the jarring arrest of former City Councilmember Mitchell Englander dropped jaws all over Los Angeles, heads swiveled next toward his successor and protégé, Councilmember John Lee. Englander was arrested by federal agents on criminal charges that he obstructed an investigation into accepting cash, female escort services, hotel rooms and expensive meals from a businessman during trips to Las Vegas and Palm Springs, and later lied to the FBI about his conduct. In response, Lee issued a  statement  that he had in fact been along for the ride in Vegas, but had made an effort to reimburse expenses and was "unaware of any illegal activities for which Councilmember Englander is being charged." Englander's  indictment  is a gripping read. The vacationers in the former councilmember's entourage included Lee and a businessman "seeking to increase his business opportunities in the city," who

The Market Report, 7:30 a.m., Monday, March 16

The line at Smart & Final, 7:28 a.m. Ralph's, Balboa & Devonshire, 7:34 a.m. "You think this is long, you should see Albertson's on Nordhoff!" one woman said.  Target, 7:38 a.m. Line goes all the way up the escalator.   Trader Joe's,  7:39 a.m. New later opening time to allow for restocking.    Sprouts, 7:45 a.m. Open, lines longish but not crazy. No milk.  Also, no Purell wipes.  Frosty Queen, 8:01 a.m. Only guy in line. "It's better than going to the store where there's no food!" he said. 

Organ Transplant Recipients Will Gather in Guinness World Records Title Attempt at the Donate Life Run/Walk & Family Festival

14 th Annual Run/Walk Honors Those Touched by Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation, Inspires Southland Residents to Donate Life Elsa Arana, Granada Hills resident, made the decision to donate her son Marco’s organs when he passed away suddenly at the age of 28 in a car accident.  In 2010, the Arana family had the rare opportunity to meet one of Marco’s organ recipients: David Jones, a young African American man who had been undergoing dialysis treatments for 11 hours a day before he received the life-saving gift of a kidney. Now, Elsa dedicates her time to being an Ambassador for OneLegacy, the non-profit organization dedicated to saving and healing lives through organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation. As an ambassador Elsa spreads the word about the life-saving power of organ donation and inspires others to register as donors. OneLegacy’s Ambassadors adopt cities, DMV field offices, high schools and hospitals. Through these community-based efforts, Ambassador

I'm Still Doing This.

I’ve had a lot of support from the community for the plaza proposal. And not just from the peasants — whose opinions allegedly don’t matter — but from from property owners, from business owners, from the landed gentry. But at the Granada Hills Street Faire, someone said to me, “I’m surprised you’re still doing this.” Yeah, I’m still doing this. And here’s why: I still believe attorney Margaret Wilson, whose windows look out over the intersection, when she tells me that she sees three to four accidents per month at that merge lane, every month. I still believe that if Jake Parunyan (owner of Kenn Cleaners and the Menchie's Property, who is blocking this proposal) would agree to at least one proper sit down meeting, we could find some way to work together. I still believe that when one thousand community members sign a petition, that the City Councilman should do more to facilitate discussion. (read comments at  .) I still believe th

The New Kids In Town: Lola's Baja Tacos and Main Kitchen Cafe

Ceviche. After food truck night, the corner of Balboa and Chatsworth is on its way to becoming Granada Hills’ new favorite dining destination, with two recently opened spots — breakfast and lunch joint Main Kitchen Café, and ceviche specialists Lola’s Baja Tacos. Both are delightful in their own ways, and both should serve as notice that the perpetually disappointing Pampas, right next door, better step up its game. Pampered Granada Hillsians typically whine if there’s more than 20 feet between their parking place and their destination’s door, yet ironically, it's the ample parking that may be Lola’s Baja Taco’s undoing. Set back from Chatsworth Street behind a small parking lot, the place is easy to miss, especially since buildings on either side come right up to the sidewalk, and since the same location has been home to at least a half dozen unnoticed failures over the course of its history. Yet Lola’s, one desperately hopes, will finally be different, because they do