Letter From L.A.

Kids’ Hopes

Some of the most eloquent voices heard in the aftermath of mass shootings are those of high school students. Their determination to make the political system respond is a sign of hope.

Street Signs

Crosswalks can be dangerous, but that doesn’t mean you should stay out of them. Metaphorical ones, too. The intersection where faith crashes into knowledge, where creativity clashes with order, is sometimes filled with light. Cross at the light.

Hot Air

The winter onset of Santa Ana winds — hot air in December — reinforces the strangeness of Los Angeles. The Santa Anas have become threads in the city’s dystopian lore.

Prayer Time

The Muslim house of prayer closest to LMU is the King Fahad Mosque — about 5 miles away, 20 minutes by car. Drive north on Lincoln, turn right on W. Washington until you get to the intersection with Huron Ave.

King Tuna

Hollywood, freeways, the aerospace industry, the beach, the mountains, Olvera Street and the Dodgers — they all probably would be found on most people’s lists of iconic images of L.A. life.

Slab Art

Turn any corner in Los Angeles, and a mural may appear: Our Lady of Guadalupe gracing a bodega wall, or chamber musicians eight stories tall on a downtown parking structure. The Homeboy Industries mural, “Jobs Not Jails,” is found at Learning Works, at 1916 E. First St. in Boyle Heights.

Surge Control

In late November 1860, 10 years after statehood and the Gold Rush, botanist William Brewer, an Easterner, arrived in Los Angeles with the California Geological Survey to travel the state of California and study its natural resources.