An unexplained death in South LA

The South L.A. apartment where the LAPD found Stanley Thiesfield | Daina Beth Solomon

The South L.A. apartment where the LAPD found Stanley Thiesfield | Daina Beth Solomon

When police officers arrived at a two-room apartment just south of USC last fall to investigate complaints of foul odors, they found a body decomposed beyond recognition.

Something else caught their attention, too — the black electrical cord knotted around the man’s neck.

A Los Angeles Police detective declared the apartment a crime scene and set about collecting mail, business cards, fingerprints, DNA samples — anything that might offer clues about the dead man’s life, and how and why he’d died. A driver’s license revealed a name: Stanley Thiesfield.

Almost a year later, the fact that Thiesfield died at age 59 remains one of the only conclusions of the investigation. 
[Read more…]

Obama coming to LA Trade-Tech, South LA high school catches fire + reward for fatal beating

Animo South Los Angeles Charter School catches fire. | Video screenshot from KCAL 9

Animo South Los Angeles Charter School catches fire. | Video screenshot from KCAL 9

Fox LA: Obama is hitting L.A. tomorrow with a stop at LA Trade-Technical College just south of downtown.

LA Times: A roof fire yesterday destroyed the building of Animo South Los Angeles Charter High School on Western Avenue.

NBC: A $10,000 reward is being offered for information about the June attack of a man on the platform of the Metro Blue Line’s Willowbrook station. Wayne Whitmore died of his injuries a week after the beating.

L.A. Times: Ahead of the final election on Aug. 12 for the LAUSD school board’s District 1 seat, the L.A. Times endorses George McKenna.

Daily News: South L.A. is among the areas in Los Angeles where rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea are rising.

World Socialist Web Site: A documentary about stray dogs in South L.A. reveals much more about the region’s challenges.

Snapshots from the Watts Senior Citizen Prom


Whether walking in heels or hobbling with walkers, the guests made their way to the Watts Senior Citizen Center last Friday in style – the women in bright dresses, the men in dapper suits and all wearing white rose corsages with “Watts Senior Prom” printed on black ribbons.

Inside the “ballroom” they found a dozen tables draped in black cloths dotting the room among bunches of black and silver balloons. Smooth jazz played in soft tones. Servers in starched dress-shirts served glasses of pink lemonade along with soul food from the Watts Coffeehouse.

District 15 Councilman Joe Buscaino, who planned the event, said he wanted the longtime residents of Watts to feel gratitude and respect – and have fun, too. Looking at his parents, who sat at one of the front tables together, he said, “You can be a senior and still party, ma!”

Buscaino had planned to take his grandmother for a spin on the dance floor, but she had recently taken a fall and didn’t feel up to the festivities. When the councilman, wearing a black suit and silver tie, said his nona would turn 94 in August, the crowd broke out in cheers and applause.

Intersections South LA spoke with some guests about their long lives spent in the ever-changing neighborhoods of Watts and South Los Angeles.



[Read more…]

South LA safety, hit-and-run bill + World Cup in the streets


A piece of the Crenshaw Mural | Stephanie Monte

LA Times: Columnist Sandy Banks feels safe in Northridge. But Jasmyne Cannick, an Intersections op-ed contributor who lives in Westmont just below South L.A. in L.A. County, often feels insecure.

Streetsblog: South L.A. responds to the growing number of hit-and-runs killing cyclists.

NBC: Assemblyman Mike Gatto is proposed a bill that would help law enforcement find the perpetrators of hit-and-runs.

KCET: Many soccer fans are gathering in bars and restaurants to watch the World Cup — but what about in the streets? (Stay tuned for a South L.A. location to be announced soon.)

LA School Report: Progress on Community Coalition’s efforts to improve South L.A. schools.

Daily Mail: A man admitted to killing his brother at a family gathering in South L.A.

Daily News: A fire damaged a  building in the 9200 block of South Central Avenue late Monday night.

George Lucas museum in Exposition Park, student success stories + South LA hit-and-run

George Lucas | James Santelli/Neon Tommy

George Lucas | James Santelli/Neon Tommy

Variety: (From our own Intersections Staff Reporter Jordyn Holman!) Mayor Eric Garcetti wants George Lucas to bring his museum to South L.A.’s Exposition Park.

KCET: A segment on Chicano artist and South L.A. native Jaime “Germs” Zacarias will air June 18 at 8 p.m.

Noozhawk: A South L.A. student will graduate with the Thomas More Storke Award for Excellence from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Philadelphia: Football player Karim Barton has gone from Jamaica to South L.A. to Philadelphia.

LA Times: Three people die in a South L.A. shooting.

Streetsblog LA: Family and friends of cyclist Oscar Toledo, Jr., killed in a hit-and-run while bicycling on a South L.A. street, ask “what happened to human decency?”

West Adams architecture, Watts Riots yearbooks + South LA assemblyman to pay fine

A historic home in West Adams. | Erin Leiker / Intersections

A historic home in West Adams. | Erin Leiker / Intersections

Slate: A new book explores the unique architecture of West Adams, with styles ranging from Victorian to Craftsman to Beaux Arts.

KCET: Erin Aubry Kaplan sees demographic changes in the wake of the Watts Riots in her family’s school yearbooks.

KPCC: Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer representing South L.A. must pay a $10,000 fine for violating campaign donation laws.

LA Times: Blight builds in South L.A. and other neighborhoods with an abundance of foreclosed homes.

LA Times: Cyclist dies in hit-and-run in Vermont Square.

PTSD in South LA, School Board election apathy + Leimert Park on KCET

Vice News: Are some parts of South L.A. like war battlefields? Some high schools are offering PTSD counseling for students affected by gang violence in their neighborhoods.

LA School Report: Apathy wins the day in LAUSD School Board race, with 10 percent of voters going to the polls for the District 1 election.

LA Weekly: A strange twist in the Grim Sleeper murder case.

LA Times: The city’s foreclosure registry is getting an update. And LA Times Opinion: “The [foreclosed] houses themselves become focal points for a range of criminal activities. Together, they bring down the property values and damage the lifestyles of homeowners barely holding on to their own houses and dignity.”

LA Times: An expanded “neighborhood prosecutors” program from the City Attorney’s office could help South L.A. combat blight.

KCET: Mark your calendars for June 11 at 8 p.m. — KCET is taking a look at the future of Leimert Park, a neighborhood in flux with a new Metro stop planned for 2018.

South LA’s Central Park, Garcetti’s “Great Streets” + School Board runoff election

L.A.'s Central Park -- located on the west side of Central Avenue between 49th and 50th streets

L.A.’s Central Park — located on the west side of Central Avenue between 49th and 50th streets | Circa 1890 photograph courtesy of the USC Libraries – California Historical Society Collection

KCET: South L.A. once had a “Central Park” — yes, on Central Avenue.

Streetsblog LA: Mayor Eric Garcetti has named “great” intersections worthy of revitalization across L.A.’s 15 council districts. In South L.A., he selected Crenshaw Boulevard between 78th Street and Florence Avenue (District 8) and Central Avenue between MLK Boulevard and Vernon Avenue (District 9). Joe Linton from Streetsblog LA hopes the project is less timid than it appears.

 LA School Report: After yesterday’s election, five candidates were eliminated from the race for LAUSD School Board, leaving George McKenna and Alex Johnson to face-off in a runoff election on August 12.

LA Times: Inglewood’s Boyd Funeral Home offers comprehensive services — including professional pallbearers decked out in top hats, tails and white gloves.

City collects 950 guns in buyback

Commander Andrew Smith holds a 9mm handgun. | Daina Beth Solomon

Commander Andrew Smith holds a 9mm handgun. | Daina Beth Solomon

A World War II rifle outfitted with a grenade launcher, a 9mm handgun inlaid with silver and a Mexican flag emblem, and the type of semi-automatic rifle used by the Sandy Hook gunman will soon meet the same fate: meltdown.

The Los Angeles Police Department collected 950 weapons last weekend in its eighth annual buyback program that gives Angelenos gift cards for guns, no questions asked.

See also on Intersections: Tackling gun violence in South LA

Police Chief Charlie Beck said the program intends to rid homes and streets of “unwanted” arms. [Read more…]

Donald Sterling visits South LA church + Bernard Parks defends Magic Johnson

Donald Sterling at a South LA church | NBC screenshot

Donald Sterling at a South LA church | NBC screenshot

NBC Los Angeles: Shunned Clippers-owner Donald Sterling made an appearance last weekend at a South L.A. church with a predominantly Black population, telling NBC, “I’m here to support this wonderful group.”

LA Times: South L.A. councilman Bernard Parks praises Magic Johnson’s investments in the neighborhood in wake of Donald Sterlings harsh words against the basketball legend.

See also on Intersections: Bernard Parks reflects on 50 years of public service

Streetsblog LA: Why is South L.A.’s Harvard Park often “awfully empty?” Sahra Sulaiman says the lack of sidewalks around the park prevents accessibility.

Streetsblog LA: Check out the new bike lanes on Grand Ave. south of Downtown.