FROM Ron Finley
Gangsta gardener South LA's "gangsta gardener" Ron Finley wants to bring locally-grown food to areas that desperately need it, and to change ideas about what it takes to make a healthy community. But his lush garden near the Farmdale Expo Line station is under threat because the property has been sold to investment company Strategic Acquisitions, which wants to redevelop the entire site. It was sold to them by the bank that repossessed the property. Ron Finley in his garden in South LA Photo by Avishay Artsy DnA hears about Finley's efforts to raise the money to buy the property back, and gets a tour of his garden in South LA, from its sidewalk bursting with banana plants, sunflowers and a canopy of woven branches in which to shoot the breeze, to the hidden Eden in an empty swimming pool in his backyard, filled with plants in pots, old sinks, a wagon and other receptacles that capture Finley's imagination. "My whole thing for the way I garden here and in urban areas is not for production, not for maximum yield, it's for beauty," he tells DnA. "Every sense in your body can be affected in the garden and that's what I want to do."
Summer On The LA River The Los Angeles River is officially open for the summer. Now you can boat, fish, birdwatch and camp there through Labor Day, and some say this is only the beginning. City officials and the Army Corps of Engineers are working on a plan to restore the L.A. River and essentially turn it into a huge park. But a new report estimates it would cost the city more than a billion dollars. Is it realistic to hope that someday we’ll have a lush, green, 51-mile river teeming with life running through L.A?
Can Guerilla Gardeners Transform Food Deserts? Two years ago, LA Times columnist Steve Lopez reported on Ron Finley, a resident of South Los Angeles. In what’s often called a healthy-food “desert,” Finley had planted a vegetable garden for himself and his hungry neighbors. But the food was growing on the city-owned strip of land between the street and the sidewalk, and Finley was ordered to cease and desist. City Council President Herb Wesson promised to change the anti-food law. Now—two years later—Lopez finds that nothing has changed.
Farewell LA freeways, Peter Shire is back Angelenos don't want more freeways but we seem not to want mass transit either. Metro has killed the 710 freeway extension, and bus and train ridership is down across the region. What's the future of getting around in LA? And, Peter Shire is having a comeback. What attracts a new generation to his playful ceramics and furniture?
Revisiting showrunner Steven Bochco on his memoir Steven Bochco, the writer-producer behind record-breaking Emmy winners Hill Street Blues, LA Law and NYPD Blue, fought battles with everyone from out-of-control actors to network censors in his long career. He isn’t afraid to tell those tales in his memoir, Truth Is a Total Defense. This week we revisit the conversation where he shared some of his favorite stories with us.
Securing Public Spaces, Super Wealthy Asians Vehicles are increasingly being used as weapons, as seen in the London Bridge attack over the weekend and in New York’s Times Square last month. The Compton-based company Calpipe is designing security bollards to help make public spaces safer. And novelist Kevin Kwan satirizes the “crazy rich” Asian jet set and their luxurious tastes in his latest book, “Rich People Problems.”