ARGONAUT NEWS: Finding Jesse

A mother searches for her homeless son on Venice Beach
http://argonautnews.com/living-large-in-limbo-finding-jesse/

Jesse, seen here on the Venice boardwalk, has gone missing again

Jesse, seen here on the Venice boardwalk, has gone missing again

“Just pay attention to homeless people,” my high school friend Shelly messaged via Facebook when she saw my post from the Venice boardwalk. She sent a photo of her son: a scruffy, huggable-looking guy who suffers from mental illness and has disappeared — again.

I was on the boardwalk to interview Timothy Pardue, who runs the P.A.D., a drop-in center for homeless young adults located just steps from Venice Beach. The P.A.D. helps homeless or struggling 18- to 24-year-olds get help, get jobs or get home.

I start to ask Pardue a question — “At 18 to 24 years old, these aren’t ‘kids,’” I say — and immediately get an answer.

“They’re kids,” Pardue corrects. “Some have been out a while, beaten down. Read more »

MALAYSIA: Close Encounters of the Cultural Kind

Kuala Lumpur — I went out exploring KL’s Chinatown, Central Market, Kasturi Walk, Merdeka Square and Central Market yesterday….and found more than sites or sights.

Monk on Merdeka Square

Monk on Merdeka Square

Encounter #1: The Historian

Fahad, the winsome manager at the Panggung Bandaraya Theatre, where “Mud,” Malaysia’s longest running musical is being performed. While I gratefully sat in the air conditioned lobby of this former Town Hall, built in 1902, and waited for my friend Art to reply to my text about which night he’d like me to get tickets, Fahad took advantage of his captive audience to offer a most engaging history lesson.

In the “old” days, people floated down the two rivers of Kuala Lumpur until the rivers’ convergence, where they were grounded by mud. “’Lumpur’ means ‘mud,’” Fahad explained. “It’s why the city grew from this point.”

…Which explains why the Town Hall was located at this central point and why Merdeka Square (where the Union Jack was lowered and the new Malaysian flag raised in 1957) developed here. Read more »

MALAYSIA: More Kuala Lumpur

Religious trifecta:  Visiting a church, temple and mosque in one day!  St xx church, built in 188x

Religious trifecta: Visiting a church, temple and mosque in one day! St xx church, built in 188x


XX mosque, KL's first mosque, built in the intersection of its 2 rivers

XX mosque, KL’s first mosque, built in the intersection of its 2 rivers


XX Temple, Hindi temple on a busy street near Chinatown

XX Temple, Hindi temple on a busy street near Chinatown

MALAYSIA: Kuala Lumpur Images

Petronas Towers from xx Tower, where LA friend Art Karno and I went for a drink and the view.

Petronas Towers from xx Tower, where LA friend Art Karno and I went for a drink and the view.

Merdeka Square, where independence from UK was proclaimed in 195x

Merdeka Square, where independence from UK was proclaimed in 195x

View of xx Tower from Merdeka Square

View of xx Tower from Merdeka Square

Union Jack lowered and replaced with Malaysian flag during independence.  Asia's tallest flag pole.

Union Jack lowered and replaced with Malaysian flag during independence. Asia’s tallest flag pole.

Woman in the Jalan Petaling Market, Chinatown I thought the market is over-hyped -- not very original.  I could have been in Damascus or Guadalajara!

Woman in the Jalan Petaling Market, Chinatown
I thought the market is over-hyped — not very original. I could have been in Damascus or Guadalajara!

Jilan Petaling Street, Chinatown

Crowd among hawkers on Jilan Petaling Street, Chinatown

Paper lanterns and palm trees on Petaling Street, KL's Chnatown

Paper lanterns and palm trees on Petaling Street, KL’s Chinatown

More shopping opportunities on xx Street -- Middle Eastern fare.

More shopping opportunities on xx Street — Middle Eastern fare.

ARGONAUT NEWS: Mothers for Fair Child Support

In custody battles, women usually get the kids — but not the money to raise them
http://argonautnews.com/living-large-in-limbo-mothers-for-fair-child-support/

David Pisarra is a Santa Monica lawyer who specializes in the worst type of legal practice — family law, where mean divorces and children played as pawns dominate his days. He’s an expert in men’s legal rights and argues — correctly, I believe — that not all women make the best parents.

Kelly Hayes-Raitt with her mother and brother in 1966

Kelly Hayes-Raitt with her mother and brother in 1966

Although judges are not supposed to have a biological bias when awarding custody, an estimated 83% still award children to their mothers. Cultural biases of stay-at-home moms and full-time working dads are hard to shake.

It’s not necessarily that judges are biased, argues Pisarra — it’s society. A whopping 91% of custody cases are decided between the parents; the courts just approve these decisions. Only 4% of custody cases go to trial, and of those only 1.5% is decided by a judge.

“Courts don’t want to decide custody. They do everything they can to force the participants to get to an agreement on their own,” Pisarra says. Read more »

HOUSESITTING: Interview in Best-Selling Author’s Column

Interview on best-selling author #AndrewHallam’s column in #AssetBuilder: Ajijic View

“I walked onto the patio that extended from the top floor of Kelly’s house. Like the patio on the floor below, and the floor below that, it had a giant living space with comfy chairs and sofas. The dramatic view of Mexico’s Lake Chapala extended east and west, as far as I could see. Kelly also had a private swimming pool.”

Fun!
http://assetbuilder.com/andrew_hallam/how_to_live_in_luxury_on_somebodys_elses_dime

MALAYSIA: It IS a Small World!

7:00 am, Taipei International Airport, en route to Kuala Lumpur

My two favorite things about traveling are returning to Los Angeles and leaving it. There’s so much about America I wish I could change (our propensity to bomb small countries most of us couldn’t locate on a map is one thing). Yet, my seatmates on Eva Air’s 13-hour flight from Los Angeles to Taipei reminded me of one of my favorite things about our country: It’s willingness to embrace immigrants and offer them extraordinary opportunities.

Ian Khoh & Dina Chroek on Eva Air flight from LAX to Taipei.

Ian Khoh & Dina Chroek on Eva Air flight from LAX to Taipei.

#IanKhoh is a 23-year-old from Penang. (Yes, the very Penang where I will spend 3 weeks in July while housesitting! What are the chances?) Seated next to him was #DinaChroek, a 21-year-old from Cambodia. Read more »

ARGONAUT NEWS: A Medal of Honor Long Overdue

On Memorial Day, think of Maj. Gabriel Navarrete and the Mexican-American infantry unit who gave all in World War II
http://argonautnews.com/living-large-in-limbo-a-medal-of-honor-long-overdue/

Bill Lansford fought in World War II. He fought in Korea. And then the late Playa del Rey resident fought in L.A. County to build a memorial to Mexican-American soldiers who were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

"The Dark Side of the Dream," historical novel about discrimination against Mexican-American soldiers in WWII

“The Dark Side of the Dream,” historical novel about discrimination against Mexican-American soldiers in WWII

“Of the nearly 4,000 Medals of Honor awarded since the Civil War, 40 have been given to Latino-Americans, making them the largest single ethnic group, in proportion to the number who served, to earn our nation’s highest award for bravery,” Lansford, the son of a Mexican mother, wrote on his website.

One soldier who was denied this honor, however, was Maj. Gabriel Navarrete. He stood up to his commanding officer over what was “without a doubt, the most criticized of moves made by the United States Army in the European Theater in WWII,” wrote historian Raul Morin in “Among the Valiant: Mexican-Americans in WWII and Korea.”

Navarrete commanded E Company of the Texas 36th Division, America’s first all Mexican-American infantry unit. Read more »

HOUSESITTING: Interview on “3 on the Road”

Fun interview on a fellow housesitter’s blog: http://www.3ontheroad.com/kelly.html

Excerpt: But, the truly interesting experiences are the housesits that never happened. Years ago, I applied for a housesit in Lebanon, but when the dates changed it didn’t work. Nevertheless, the homeowner “joined” my web site. When she learned I’d be coming to Beirut in 2013 to prepare for a return trip to Iraq, she invited me to spend a delightful weekend in her home high in the hills overlooking Beirut. We became fast friends and she and her husband were remarkably helpful during a time when violence was spiking both in Baghdad and Beirut.
Ajijic Toes
Another remarkable encounter happened a few months ago. I had wanted to return to New Orleans’ Ninth Ward to see how the poorest community in the US was faring nearly 10 years after hurricane Katrina and the levee breaks. I saw a housesit posting in NO with no dates and emailed the couple. They replied that the posting was an error, but they said they were so moved by my writing about NO that they wanted to host me for a week! It was a delightful, insightful experience.

This summer, I’ll have 2 housesits in Malaysia and already the homeowners are recommending activists for me to talk with about sex trafficking, Burmese refugees and environmental problems.

ARGONAUT NEWS: Happy Birthday, Heal the Bay

http://argonautnews.com/living-large-in-limbo-happy-birthday-heal-the-bay/

“But I want to be an S.O.B.!” Dorothy Green joked during our discussion about whether to name our new group “Save Our Bay” or “Heal the Bay.” As 20 or so of us crammed into my little studio apartment in Ocean Park, two Hollywood types no one seems to remember made a persuasive — and historical — case for the word “heal.” And so Heal the Bay was christened.

Kelly and Dana Schriever cleaning the beach on Heal the Bay's Clean-Up

Dorothy Green

Kelly + Heal the Bay

Kelly and Dana Schriever cleaning the beach on Heal the Bay’s Clean-Up

We made another important decision that day: To set our membership price at $5 instead of the “going” rate of $15, $20 or even $25 that most environmental groups charged. While other volunteers of our humble group designed the T-shirts or drafted the legal briefs we’d use to force the Hyperion Treatment Plant to stop dumping sewage into the Santa Monica Bay, I organized our first membership drive.

“$5 to help heal the bay!” we called from behind folding tables on the Venice boardwalk, hoping to lure skaters and sightseers. Although we had only a sketchy plan to actually “heal” the Santa Monica Bay, people stopped, signed up and donated.

It was 1985. Fellow environmentalist Ruth Galanter was about to be elected to the Los Angeles City Council, unseating the entrenched and pro-development Pat Russell, and Dorothy was feeling heady. Read more »