Playing With Politics

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Archive for the ‘Pop Culture’ Category

Round Two: LA Area vs SF Bay Area

Posted by Roobs on March 12, 2014


Yesterday I posted my first LA vs. SF comparison list, where San Francisco beat out Los Angeles in a pure city on city fight.  My list addressed what I thought was a gaping oversight on most internet lists on the same topic.  They would often (though, not all of them) grant LA regional status, while limiting SF to its city borders.  Meaning, some lists gave LA points for things like Disneyland, even though the happiest place on earth isn’t even in the same county.  HOWEVER, one of my earliest posts on this blog also addressed this ill comparison.   “In Defense of Los Angeles” showed how you can’t say Los Angeles has, for example, a horrible public transit system and SF has a great one because SF is tiny compared to LA.  The scales are different.  So  now that we have seen how city vs. city stacks up, let’s make this a fair fight by comparing the two general areas together.  So how does the LA Area stack up against the SF Area?

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Posted in Pop Culture, Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

LA vs. SF in 15 Categories!

Posted by Roobs on March 11, 2014


Lists on the internet comparing two different places abound.  But, perhaps, no list appears more than lists comparing the City of Los Angeles vs. the City of San Francisco (with maybe the East Coast of the United States vs. the West Coast coming in a close second).  But the one thing that has always annoyed me about these lists is that they never seem to grasp the fact that places like Disneyland are not in the City of Los Angeles.  In fact, Disneyland is not even in the same county.  So, as an urban planner (aka: map Nazi), I thought it would be fun to create my own LA vs. SF list.  Here is my totally subjective yet totally awesome comparison of Los Angeles vs. San Francisco.

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Posted in Pop Culture, Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Trading Places: Dodgers to DTLA, NFL to Chavez Ravine

Posted by Roobs on August 19, 2013

Dodger Stadium

The process build a new NFL stadium in Downtown Los Angeles, as well as draft an NFL team to fill it, has hit more than a few hurdles in the last few years.  But one thing that has fascinated me, both as a baseball fan and as an urban planner, about a new NFL stadium in LA is the choice of location.  Why would you want an NFL stadium in Downtown LA?  With new owners, the Dodgers are spending hundreds of millions on new payroll and upgrades to Dodger Stadium.  But perhaps they should consider a move to a brand new facility in Downtown and leave Chavez Ravine for a future football franchise.

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Posted in Economic Development, Pop Culture, Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why I Don’t Like Bill Maher

Posted by Roobs on September 28, 2011

My roommate loves Bill Maher.  He gets tickets to the live recordings here in LA and lines up hours before the show just so he can be one of the voices in the background.  He occasionally asks me if I want to join him and I usually say no.  I don’t like Bill Maher.  But how can that be?  I am a staunch Democrat, young , Latino and gay, no less.  I should be a far left liberal (or progressive) cheering Bill Maher’s politics – a man who no matter what he says is a left wing activist.  But that is also not true.  I am a self-described left-leaning moderate Democrat.  With that alone, some of you may stop reading right here thinking that my politics are different than Maher’s.  But that is not the case either.  I generally agree with Bill Maher’s political ends, such as universal healthcare, the legalization of same-sex marriage and decriminalizing pot use.  But I still don’t like Bill Maher.

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Posted in Politics, Pop Culture | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

East Coast being insufferable about the West Coast

Posted by Roobs on August 24, 2011

Now famous picture of DC earthquake devastation

Following the 5.8 magnitude earthquake centered in Virginia, east coasters and media essentially panicked.  Buildings were evacuated and thousands, if not millions of people went to the streets during the rare seismic event.  But when all was said and done, the earthquake caused minimal damage across the East Coast with no major injuries or fatalities reported.  Those of us on the West Coast essentially had a field day with this news.  Californians deal with earthquakes everyday with larger earthquakes happening more frequently.  In fact, in the last 10 hours, there have been two earthquakes in California.  A 4.2 magnitude earthquake in Central California and a 3.6 magnitude earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area.  So it comes as little surprise that when Californians saw their East Coast brothers and sisters overreacting to an event that caused little damage, we decided to poke fun.

Twitter and facebook blew up with Californians poking fun.  A lot of them focused on welcoming the East Coast to the earthquake club.  Some in California also went further to point out that, yes, the East Coast may have been overreacting.  But it looks like not all East Coasters can take their punches with that famous New York attitude.  I’m not entirely sure it was a joke post or a serious attempt at a rant, but the people at – an internet gossip site – apparently are crying (literally?) foul over the West Coast’s attitude with a post entitled: “Californians are being insufferable about this earthquake.”  I’m assuming it was a serious attempt at a rant considering they wrote a post later on in the day on how Californians are overreacting to an oil tanker on a train that burst into flames causing the evacuation of 4,800 people.  In any event, Gawker (and the East Coast), all I have to say is… get over yourself.

Are Californians being insufferable about the earthquake?  Probably.  However, is it justified?  Of course it is.  Here’s why:

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Posted in Pop Culture | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

In Defense of Los Angeles

Posted by Roobs on December 13, 2010

In the great battle between  San Francisco and Los Angeles, LA is the butt of many jokes when it comes to urban planning.  But they are more often than not ill comparisons.

On a sunny yet cool weekend in Berkeley, CA, my mother, friends and I began to pack up my long time college apartment at the corner of Blake St. and Ellsworth St.  I had lived in this apartment for five years; from my sophomore year at UC Berkeley to my time working as a paralegal at a law firm in Emeryville.  Sure, after a while, I got tired of my neighborhood.  The constant trampling of drunken college students who were just one shot away from alcohol poisoning was beginning to become tiresome.  But I loved my apartment itself and the great view of the Golden Gate bridge it offered from my floor to ceiling sliding glass window.  But that was all over now.

After graduation, I found my true professional joy working in the field of urban planning.  And come early summer, I accepted admission into UCLA’s masters of urban and regional planning program.  This meant I was to move to Los Angeles, a city I have spent a great deal of time in and enjoyed but, nevertheless, often maligned and teased, if not lovingly.

We all know the stereotypes of Los Angeles:  Its a culture-less wasteland yet the capitol of car-culture in America; representing everything that is wrong with urban sprawl.  Not only can you NOT walk in Los Angeles but nobody does.  Transit is incomplete and is only for poor people, anyway.  The list goes on but you get the picture.  Columnists like Steve Rubenstein at the San Francisco Chronicle, fully displaying the semi-serious battle between Northern and Southern California, gets his jollies from railing on America’s second largest city:

Contrary to popular notion, it’s legal to walk in Los Angeles. In fact, some people walk in L.A. by choice, it being the accepted means of getting to and from a parked car.

Is all this teasery true?  Is Los Angeles the glowing city on a hill in the middle of a parking lot?  My quick answer is… yes and no.  But some qualifiers are definitely needed.  But let’s get some things straight.

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Posted in Pop Culture, Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Irv’s Burgers, West Hollywood

Posted by Roobs on September 7, 2010

I have a Yelp account and love trying places and writing a review about it later.  It’s one of my nerdy guilty pleasures.  This blog was never set up to serve as a supplement to my Yelp account.  However, walking back to my apartment today I stopped at a hamburger stand who’s distance can be measured in hundreds of feet away from my front door.  The Place is called Irv’s Burgers and, at a risk of over-selling this… it is the BEST hamburger joint ever!!!

Now, before any of you local foodies comes screaming at my blogger door, I admit I am exagerating just a tad.  I’m sure we could find a burger with a little more flavor and who can really argue with the foie gras burger?  But so much more goes into a “hamburger stand” than just the burger itself.

Irv’s is an epic win; a hamburger stand serving up some real tasty burgers and fries at a decent price and the service to boot.  Less than will not only $8 gets you a cheeseburger, fries and a coke but the rediculously nice staff working the stand itself.  When I arrived there was one man ahead of me.  But the woman at the counter, pictured in the far left of the photo here waved and said “hello” to me with a big smile on her face.

The man in the photo took my order.  Another equally happy person who just seemed rediculously thrilled to be working the stand and thanked me for coming and placing my order.  He also brought out my food as well.

When my innocent looking plate arrived, I almost immediately began to rip open the paper wrapping my burger when my eye was pulled in to a most unusual print on my plate.  At first I thought there was some kind of smudge on my plate.  But wait… that’s not dirt.  It’s a message.  Sweet Jesus, had all this time of eating meat; killing one innocent animal after another for the benefit of my taste buds caught up to me?  Was this a poltergeist of the bovine kind?  No!  It was “thank you” message.  No Really.

Written on my innocent hamburger holding vessel was a note from the staff: “Just for you.  Enjoy! ^_^”  I was so taken back by the diabetically induced sweetness of the message that I didn’t eat the burger for a good sixty seconds.  Once I got over that I later did to discover was this not only a very friendly and happy establishment but a place that can serve a tasty burger.  Great proportion of meat, toppings and bun and the fries were served fresh and hot.  Mmmmm….

I strongly recommend Irv’s to any burger lover in Los  Angeles or anyone visiting.  Whether locals like it is beside the point.  This type of stand and this type of service is so rare in any part of the country that to even fathom it in a place like Los Angeles (WeHo) is astounding and special.  The staff working here are so nice and so clearly happy and in love with the stand and their work that no matter what you are doing and no matter how much you love or hate your job, you can’t help but feel that your job is not nearly as rewarding as theirs.

This is the kind of place that is truly worthy to be preserved.  We so often get bogged down in counting the years of a place as a qualifier for preservation.  But what we should not forget is that preservation is not simply to remind us of what we once had but to help us feel good about where we are going.  I don’t know about you, but I felt really good about myself after having a burger at Irv’s.  Only thing that could have made it better was if I was given a little gin and vermouth.

I, Roobs, hereby declare Irv’s the BEST hamburger stand EVER!  Irv’s, for the win!

Posted in Food, Pop Culture | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Roobs Does LA

Posted by Roobs on September 1, 2010

Hello all!  I appologize again for not writing anything new.  Over the weekend I moved out of the Bay Area and have now set up shop in Los Angeles as I attend graduate school at UCLA!  I will try to come back with more interesting posts, including a follow up on the Melanie Shelby-Equality California relationship.

Posted in Economic Development, Law, LGBT, Politics, Pop Culture, Race & Identity, TV & Movies, Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »