Mar 03

Throwing my hat into the political ring

Field Notes: 2 March 2014

My name is Joseph Condé and I am running to be a candidate for your district, no, for our district.

Why am I running as a candidate for the California State Assembly District 53?
The simple answer is because I care about being an active voter, and now I care about encouraging registered voters to become active voters. Our district has about 155,000 registered voters, but only a small fraction turn out and vote. Our district is so disconnected and uninformed that anyone can move into our district and claim to be a long time resident in order to be put on the ballot. If we bother to ask, we might be surprised that maybe only three of us (those interested in running to represent this district) are actually long time residents. But we do not ask, because we are too busy.

Today was my first day walking the streets; I trying to get 60 signatures to become a candidate for my district. I know that I do not have a realistic chance in this race, but in our family, we have been taught to be good citizens, and that includes being active voters and participants. I spoke to many people today and it was an eye opener. I was surprised by both the willingness to help me in this process and by the level of apathy for the political process.

Some of the common comments from registered voters who do not vote include:
“I only vote for the president.” (To this I say, good for you, but if you already vote for El Presidente, how difficult is it to vote for one more candidate? And it does not have to be me.

Another says, “Our votes (Latino vote) don’t count! All politicians are corrupt.”
(To this I say, if we do not vote, then for sure, out votes do not count.)

Someone said, “Nah I don’t have time for that.”
(To this I ask, then what do you have time for as a citizen? Does your citizenship not count for anything except for paying taxes and getting a passport? Sweet Brown look what you have done!)

Someone said, “I am a citizen, but I do not pay attention to that.”
(To this I ask, will you pay attention only when others have managed to hoard more for themselves and not pay attention to you and where you live?)

One of my first encounters with a local resident was very engaging. The man was asking questions like an informed and concerned voter. Surely, I thought, this man is active in the community. But after what seemed like an exciting first eternity, my heart came to a stop when he said that he could not vote because he was only a resident. I thought it was funny. Assumption is the mother of all you know what.

I was excited when after driving, walking, and bike riding for five hours, I got my first signature. I have plenty of stories that went no where during the first five hours, but at that moment it seemed serendipitous to have received my first signature on 11th Street. Almost everything that happens to me happens in connection to the number 11. Joseph was Jacob’s 11th son (In case you do not know, he was one of the patriarchs from the Bible). I often get assigned a random number that happens to be 11 or add up to 11. It is not a general happenstance, but it happens enough times to raise an eyebrow.

One thing concerned me though, whenever I approached Korean residents, I was quickly given a dismissive look and a wave. I understand body language, there was no love for this Brown person in those Koreans’ eyes. It is ironic that when I used to attend Berendo Middle School, I was the only one who would sit with my Korean class mates. I remember sitting with Jeong Park during our first months in the States. We made each other laugh with our newly acquired vocabulary. Most students used to avoid sitting with Koreans because they would comment about the smell of garlic. This was so discomforting then because I could see that my Korean classmates understood that. I remember riding the RTD on Vermont; that’s what the buses were called back then. I remember that when we, the Brown kids got on the bus, the Korean kids would follow. One time, the bus was full. But suddenly, you could see the bus isle part like the Red Sea. Korean kids had gotten on the bus, and the other students’ perceptions opened a humiliating pathway for them. They came towards the back and sat with me. I did not budge; I had no reason to move away from them. I love garlic and kimchi. I love Hodori; I have banged my head on one of the waitress‘ back. Now, I understand why there is no love for my Brown kind. I apologize for all the body language my other classmates did towards Koreans when we were in school. I think that now even the second generation is carrying this distancing attitude. It’s too bad really because we have not created meaningful connections between our communities.

On the bright side, Maria, a nine-nine year old lady signed my nomination paper. She can walk and her eye sight is pretty good. May she live till 120! My own great-grand mother made it to 110. It is a sight to see old folks wanting to live, but even more inspirational when they get out and vote. According to Maria, she gets out and votes.

An eighteen year old and a twenty year old signed my nomination paper. It was great to hear that they had registered because they wanted to vote.

On a sad note, I found out that a charter school teacher has not gotten paid for three months. As a registered credential teacher in California, I am concerned that the credential does not carry respect in all educational settings. Why should this teacher who has earned a Masters degree and a credential not have a union‘s protection or the decency to receive a fair retirement plan like public school teachers?

I am encouraged by the fact that at least people are willing to have conversations about what is important to them. I am not politician. I like finding solutions. I like researching about topics in order to understand something from different angles, but I am tired of politics running amok.

It is past midnight. My alarm is set for 5:33 A.M., and if you are smart, you will know why.

Good night! Buenas Noches! Bon Nuit!! לילה טוב



District 53 Boundaries – Northwest


District 53 Boundaries – Southeast



Feb 23



2716 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 9006
(323) 734-1535

Hours / Horario :  6 AM – 10 PM

Se especializa en pan dulce de Centro America
It specializes in sweet bread like: Semita, Marquezote, Salpor de Arroz y Almidon, Pan Frances, etc.

Feb 15

R & R Realty and Tax Preparation

R & R Realty and Tax Preparation - Bienes y Raices y Servicio de Preparación de Impuestos

Since/Desde 1990

Service in English/Spanish


1744 South Vermont Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 9006


Roberto Ramirez

Broker Realtor


Phone: (323) 73409200

Fax: (323) 734-6804


DRE Lic. #01008712


Jan 16

Central Americans join the Bachata Craze in Los Angeles

Bachata Warm-up #1 to “Tu Boca” by Andres Cabas 

Central Americans are not know for producing Bachata songs or even dancing Bachata as a popular dance. But here is Los Angeles, Central Americans tend to be part of the popular general trends that arrive to this cosmopolitan city. According to the US Census, in 2010 there were over 4 million Central Americans living in the United States. About 18 million live in Western United States.

But how many of Central Americans can dance bachata?

Bachata is the latest dance craze to hit the west coast. LA is now home to more Bachata nights. Salsa has been waning for some time now, so bachata is picking up where salsa leaves off. If you are new to dancing in Los Angeles, the best place to dance bachata is on Mondays at the Hacienda Hotel. There is no cover charge, however, if you want to take a dance class, you will need to pay the instructor. There is plenty of street parking, and the bar offers customers (you need to buy a minimum) parking validation for the first two hours only. Once in while, the local instructor or promoter invite dance performers to showcase their latest dance choreography. Hacienda is by far the best LA News Post related to dancing. The music is OK and the crowd is friendly. There are four dance floors to help you decide where you want to materialize your groove. The three floors in front of the DJ booth and the bar are by far the loudest, but if you want to save your hearing or have the need to converse while dancing, head towards the floor located behind the DJ booth.

Most bachata dance performances outside of the Dominican Republic tend to be fast paced and heavily influenced by salsa movement. The level of originality drops drastically to the point that you can switch a bachata song for a salsa song, and you may still see a resemblance in the dance movements performed.

For those of us who want to do exercise at home, there are the usual options of turning on the radio, playing the music video channel, playing an iTunes list, pulling the yoga mat out and stretching on the floor. But there is also the option of dancing to bachata, salsa, or any other music that grabs our ears. This video is an example of how to simply listen to a a song and then move to it according to how the spirit moves you. It may help to be totally awake and to stretch before beginning to dance, so as to prevent any injuries that may cost you pain or discomfort in the future. The last thing you want is for anyone to perform surgery on you.

Sep 03

Central America Parade

La Confederación Centroamericana (COFECA) invita a la celebración de las fiestas de Independencia de Centro America los dias Sábado 22 y Domingo 23 de Septiembre del 2012, en Alvarado y Wilshire Blvd.

El Desfile Centroamericano COFECA tendrá lugar el Domingo 23 de Septiembre 11:00 AM.Esquina de Pico Blvd. and Vermont Avenue en Los Angeles.

“Promoviendo Nuestra Identidad Cultural y Derechos Sociales”
Patrocinadores: Omar Corleto

Tel. (323)632-2380
Emergencias Contacto: Leoncio Velasquez
Presidente de COFECA
Tel. (323)393-5796
Asistencia en el Desfile: Omar Corletto
Asistencia en el Festival: Raul Torrez
Talent Managers : Nestor Villatoro y Gloria Suazo
Tel. (951)538-6734
Operaciones and Logistics Staff:
Omar Corletto (Parade)
Tel. (323)632-2380