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July 2007

Act now! Protect Historic Garvanza from Condo Development!

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Just got the update from the city on date/ time / location.

Monday July 9th at 1pm in room 1010 in City Hall,
Budget & Finance Committee

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There are two properties directly threathened.

A 1899 light blue four-square cottage on Crescent mid-block between Ave 63/Ave64 and two properties from 1905 and 1920s at the corner of Ave66 and Crescent (pink two story bungalow and blue/white shingled home on Crescent St behind.)

There is a slim chance that the 1899 cottage will be saved. Efforts are to try and redirect the development to allow for the duplex the owner seeks, yet still save the cottage.

Its likely too late to save the houses at Ave66/Crescent as they are far down the permit approval process to be demolitioned and replaced with multiple condo units.

If you get a chance to drive by these properties, please do before they are gone.

Act now! Protect Historic Garvanza from Condo Development!

The Los Angeles City Budget and Finance Committee is holding a hearing Monday July 1st at 1:00 pm in Downtown LA, Room 1010 to consider funding for a Historical Survey of Garvanza.

Attendance is crucial as this is the deciding factor for the success of establishing a Garvanza HPOZ.

Garvanza is one of the few remaining pre-World War I neighborhoods in Los Angeles not protected by an HPOZ and contains many potential National Register properties (as recognized by the L.A. Conservancy
in 1990)

Some historic homes from the 1800's and first years of 1900 are currently slated for demolition to make way for condos, townhomes and other inappropriate development not in keeping with the Garvanza
neighborhood's scale and historic importance.

Supporting this survey would protect other historic properties before its too late.

Councilman Huizar's office, the Highland Park Heritage Trust and the Garvanza Improvement Association all support this request to conduct a Historical Survey.

Please let residents of Garvanza know about this meeting as the more support we have the better.

Take the train into downtown or reserve a parking spot by calling Zenay from CD14 Councilman Huizar's office as soon as possible (parking is limited)

Thank you once again.

Charles and Tina Miller
Garvanza Improvement Association

In season at the Old LA (Highland Park) Farmers Market

It's been a great pleasure writing these farmers market updates for the past 1+ years, but unfortunately this one will be my last, as my wife and I move on to the muggy climes of the Northeast. Living in
Southern California, we're blessed with year-round access to an almost outrageous variety of locally grown produce, so I hope that you've been encouraged to sample and appreciate that abundance. In the process, you've supported local family farms, preserved green spaces, and created a vibrant new heart for the community. Any market is precisely as good as the community support that it receives, so help ensure that Northeast Los Angeles has the market that it deserves by continuing to patronize this wonderful neighborhood asset.

This week, that means getting your hands on some of the finest stone fruits in recent memory. The  white apricots available this past week from Uh's Ranch were juicy enough to yield a chin-dribble worthy of the finest peach, along with a luscious perfume and flavor. White nectarines have also been staggeringly good, as have the juicy and sweet-tart plums. The warm, but not overly hot temperatures we've been experiencing have great for many fruits, including the delicious Gaviota strawberries that Tamai farms continues to bring to market. Melons love heat however, and so ZRanch, in the Imperial Valley, has been bringing a wonderful selection to the market, including two varieties of orange fleshed muskmelons, and two green fleshed honeydew type melons, all wonderfully sweet. We also saw our first watermelons from Gama farms this past week, a perfect dessert for your July 4th barbecue.

Take a look at (for one last week) for a rundown of everything you can expect to find in season at the market. And don't forget to pick up gourmet artisanal cheeses from Uncle Berch and wonderful breads and pastries from Anne's Bakery. If it's too hot to cook, settle down with a juicy piece of herbed rotisseried chicken or a fresh tamale for dinner and just let the warm evening pass you by.

Please stop by the market for fresh, field-ripened, high quality produce from local farmers and spend time with your friends, neighbors and other community members.

The Highland Park Certified Farmers Market is located adjacent to the Highland Park Gold Line station at Marmion Way between Ave. 57 & 58 and operates Tuesdays from 3-8PM.

seth budick

Be VERY Careful When You Refinance

California real estate has been a great ride this decade.  Property values have almost tripled in some areas over the past 6-7 years.  May homeowners have use their new found wealth to pay off high-interest debt, improve their property, or even leverage into more properties; all sound ideas.

There is an old sheriff in town enforcing some oft-overlooked laws next year and it just may affect YOU!

A few things you should know about the deductibility of mortgage interest:

1- It is limited to $1.1 million.
2- You must itemize (Schedule A) to receive that deduction.
3- A fully-amortizing loan reduces your Acquisition Indebtedness each month.
4- An interest-only loan does not reduce your Acquisition Indebtedness; it remains level.
5- You are entitled to a $100,000 over the Acquisition Indebtedness as a home equity exclusion for tax deductibility.

Now, here's the catch.  The IRS monitors your interest paid on mortgages through a Form 1098. The IRS has no formal system to monitor the segregation of debt (how much was the Acquisition Indebtedness, how much is covered under the home equity exclusion, and how much is not deductible)...UNTIL NOW.

In 2007, lenders are required to report cash-out refinance transactions. That includes any and all refinanced loans that exceed the original Acquisition Indebtedness.  This means that if you bought a home in 2000 with a $250,000 loan against it and have subsequently increased that debt to $400,000, your qualifying debt for interest will be capped at $350,000, more if you paid down the loan through an amortized loan.  In California, that applies to MANY refinance transactions for homes owned more than three years.

Why is the IRS doing this?  Well, follow the money. The IRS has overlooked this common ignorance of the tax code because it really didn't affect the average Joe...until NOW.  The real estate boom gave homeowners a chance to use their home like an ATM and withdraw cash.  Now, the IRS wants it's pound of flesh.  If you've refinanced and pulled out cash over and above $100,00 above your Acquisition Indebtedness, you had better start paying attention to your deductibility of mortgage interest ...because Uncle Sam year.

Low Rider Car Show June 24

Sunday, June 24, North Figueroa will be closed from Avenue 52 to Avenue 57 for the annual Classic Car Show.  The street will be closed between 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM.


Weblogging 101

This blog,, as you now see it, would probably be classified as a "hyper-local" blog.  It was a "hyper-local" blog before the term was coined.

It seeks to acquaint the reader with the spirit our communities, and occasionally - dare I say -acquaint the reader with the essence of Arroyo Culture.

What is Arroyo Culture? 

Look to the individual that the communities of the Arroyo have chosen as their Patron Saint, Charles Lummis:  Journalist, poet, traveler, outdoorsman, newspaper and magazine editor, historian, archaeologist, folklorist, photographer, Native American rights activist, librarian, preservationist, museum founder, and prodigious lover of dozens of women, and you come close to defining its essence.

We are fiercely independent.  We are outspoken activists in our community.  We feel protective of our hillsides, sycamore groves, and wildlife.  We are tolerant, and cherish our diversity.  Artisans, intellectuals, entrepreneurs and eccentrics are held in high regard. is also a real estate blog by virtue of the simple fact that I am a real estate broker, and share real estate data here on a regular basis.

Which leads me to Weblogging 101.  Greg Swan, of Bloodhound Blog, a master of real estate weblogging, has assembled a small part of his knowledge and insight into a web book, the first of its kind.  I am proud to announce the creation of that book and proud to provide a permanent link to it here, and in the right sidebar.

PACE Graffiti Removal

If you spot graffiti anywhere in your neighborhood, please call the PACE unit at (213)847-0511.

Handmade Sterling Silver Jewelry Workshop

Get Wired With Your Own Handmade Sterling Silver Jewelry

Instructor: Raquel Soto-Escobar

In this workshop, we will make a coin pearl necklace and earrings. Our coin pearl necklace is accented with roundels of semi-precious white moonstone and centered with the circle of life silver disc.

Wire-wrapped necklaces are a hot item with designer boutiques and high-end stores, so this is your opportunity to make yourself a vintage style necklace and earrings.   

Learn from a fine art jeweler who has six years of experience. I will share with you the tools of the trade, techniques of wrapping, art of mixing and matching colors, design balance and how and when to
oxidize your pieces. You can keep the creations for yourself, make a gift or even sell.  Most wire-wapped jewelry sells for well over $90 or mre in department stores. 

Students should bring round nose pliers, chain nose liers, and wire cutters;  however, we will have some to share in class. Bring shoebox lid to workshop.

One Sunday: June 24, 2007
Time: 1-4 pm

Instructional fee: $30
Material fee to be paid at class: $25

Avenue 50 Studio, Inc.
a 501(c)(3) non-profit art space
131 No. Avenue 50
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Kathy Gallegos