Chronicling Compton - January 8, 2014

5 Months living here.

Some of my roses have really bloomed, but not my guayaba nor lemon trees, though my fiance's mom, who has a large guayaba tree in her house in Wilmington, said that they look healthy.

For the new year, every Wednesday, I'm going to try to post bits and pieces about Compton, mostly observational, stuff I pick from the media, mostly for whomever cares to read, especially planners, investors, people interested in what life is actually like.

I'd rather my audience be the people from the community, but I'm not on the ins just yet.

I haven't really been a fixture of any community space in Compton just yet other than the Food4Less, roads, bike lanes, and sidewalks.

Also, ironically, the 50th anniversary of the declaration of the War on Poverty by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

My first reaction given my immediate surroundings and an economy which has been now 3 years removed from the Occupy movements, record high stock markets, yet sustained unemployment is, damn, what war?

Seems like all the reforms they tried to achieve in the 60s have been rolled back by a mix of Republicanism, conservatism, etc. etc.

2Pac said it best --- instead of a war on poverty, they got a war on drugs, so the police can bother me.

But who knows, maybe those who were around in the 60s seeing what we have in the 2010s are jealous, and would tell us to shut up and enjoy the opportunities.


More like my personal safety report.

Things are relatively calm here --- no real problems other than parking wars with neighbors and their multiple cadre of cars, kids enjoying fireworks, and a few kids running around on occasion.

Though we have a gate, security system here and a barking dog, I've left my door open a few times.  In my car, I've left a few things. 

I hope I haven't created a target for thieves by pointing this out.

Runnability Report

I've got my running route more or less established.

Though on one route, I ended a run with cottage cheese looking rashes on my left arm and leg.  It looked serious; my fiance panicked.

In my 13 years of sidewalk LA-running, I can't quite recall anything that looked so severe.
The only thing really memorable about that run I remember on that particular run was that I tripped on some kind of black bag and fell palms first on a dirt sidewalk with a lot of debris on it.

The area in question is this here:

View Larger Map

Calling my mom (currently, the extent of my health care system) over the phone and telling her that there was no "eye" (no openings) to any of the rashes, she concluded that I'd had an allergic reaction likely from touching a plant.

It would be best fixed by a drowse-inducing Benadryl and rest.

It's been a few weeks.

I'm still scratching it off, and still running.

Between the nails coming in my shoe, this rash, the lack of lights during night time, this is probably part of why Compton doesn't have a running culture.  

Biking 'Round Compton

The Bike lanes on Alondra along the Compton Airport are nice, but I wonder why there are not any on Compton Blvd, the main East-West thoroughfare to the Blue Line Station.

Compton Blvd can be a scary place to ride for non-commuters, meaning my fiance.

Bike lanes, hell even Sharrows, would make things a lot more convenient and safer.  The time we did ride Compton Blvd, we attempted to use a combination of small streets and sidewalks --- not cool.

We've ridden bits of Compton Creek, but I still don't know how it connects to the LA River, as it apparently is supposed to do.

Though this might be in a different city (Long Beach), it is a bit confusing to know how to connect to the LA River along Artesia Blvd.

There doesn't appear to be a ramp either on the south side of the street (the direction the Google Maps image below is facing), nor on the north side.

View Larger Map

 Not being able to find it one vacation weekday afternoon temporarily put me in the doghouse.

A few weeks ago, there was a big car chase on local TV that eventually ended in a life-ending accident on Greenleaf and Wilmington.

Greenleaf is a street with a bike lane and a main East-West thoroughfare to the big middle-class department stores (Target, Staples, Home Depot, Best Buy, etc.).

Also a few weeks ago, on the East side of Compton, a bicyclist was shot.

Parks Report

I can't say I've been a big participant in any park, though I am glad to see them around and in operation.

Most of the time though, vacant.

In Tragniew Park, which I encounter all times of the day, I rarely see anyone playing basketball or playing tennis.

I'm guessing that when I read that comment on Google Plus about wanting the tennis courts to be open, they meant that they should open it up to those without permits.  I'd like it open to, but then again, I do not know about the history of the tennis courts there, and maybe the permits are needed for a valid reason.

I've "discovered" the Earvin Johnson Park along Rosecrans, though I haven't been there enough.

The Eating Report

The closest healthy-looking eating place to me living on Compton and Central, is Food4Less.

We hit that up all the time.

There is a Fresh N Easy, which I'd seen around other parts of LA.  I figured it was a Trader Joe's knockoff, but it is totally not.  There were a few people here, and I was thinking the whole time, "why?."

For one, the fruits and veggies section seems rather small --- it is lined up in one row to the side.

They have a lot of packaged food in refrigerators.

Everything else they have seems more or less similar to Food4Less, except expensive.  Expensive is a keyword that I've spent a lot of my early adulthood avoiding.

I've visited only twice, and I just wonder why they couldn't bring a Trader Joe's in its place.

It would save us the trip to Hawthorne and Artesia in Torrance.

As far as eating out or taking food to go goes, I haven't done much within the city limits of Compton and have actually gone to Gardena for our fill of pho, boba, and sweets.

But the few places that stick out in Compton, Compton, are the places recommended to me by friends from the "outside":  Bludsoe's and some fried catfish place that I need to re-ask my godsister about.

The Schools

A few days ago on Univision, I'd spotted that which had been reported a month ago about a kid from Compton High going to Princeton on scholarship:

The kid sounds as polished as the smart kids of my high school did.

Hopefully, going forward, this kind of stuff becomes commonplace. 

Speaking of my high school, they just beat that kid's high school.

Also, a Compton Board member was on KPCC advocating for Universal Preschool.  Signs for pre-school are prominent on Central Ave near Compton.

Things Seen and Overheard
  • Homies on horseback.  On bike rides en route to Greenleaf Ave, I actually saw a black dude with a beanie and shorts on horseback --- this is significant because it flies against the image of the gangsta rapper in the fast-moving car.  First reported on NPR.
  • After multiple visits and exploring the houses, future bro-in-law, a contractor, commented along a car-ride from visiting Target, "It's not that bad here."

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