A little more information

The two main activities in my life: Helping the hungry in the late hours of the night and helping guitar players sound better one amp at a time.

I always try to remember that in order to do good one has to take action and actually do something.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I have watched the city and Southern California change for well over half a century.

I can be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/mylesr or on twitter at www.twitter.com/myles111us

As of late 2019 the music related links and prints noted on this page which had their links to by GAB (Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting) website are no longer accessible. I grew weary of updating my GAB website and let it go away. You can contact me on Facebook. Saunders Stewart Models continues full operation but we are not accepting new clients without a referral.

Los Angeles Architectural History

Los Angeles Architectural History
1935 Art Deco at some of its finest: No. 168 - Griffith Observatory- (click on the photo for information)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Winter Shelters - an update from Andy Bales of Union Rescue Mission

I have not posted much in the last week or so.  It has been a busy week for me as I had friends in from Nashville and had a show in Hollywood at Jimmy Kimmel Live last Wednesday and last Friday had a show at The Staples Center.  Lots of photos on flicker at http://www.flickr.com/photos/myles111us/sets/72157623457744430/ and I still have a lot more to upload.

Although there was activity on the music side of my life I still made a number of trips to skid row with my evening snacks.  Union Rescue Mission provides over 100,000 meals per month which is always impressive.  On my side of things so far in February I have given out 109 oatmeal bars, bananas, raisins and thanks to folks at the Central Market in Los Angeles was able to take 44 people to dinner for Chinese food at various times during the month.  I continue to receive contributions from many folks in the music industry and thank all of you.

If you click on the Winter Shelters title above you will be re-directed to Andy Bales URM info which I find interesting.  I find most of what the folks at URM do quite interesting, find their organizational skills second to none and when it comes to stretching a dollar, well ... there are not a lot of folks that can pull off what they do in any industry.

One shot below - no photo edit here ... the green lines are the laser testing at The Staples Center for the Brad Paisley concert last Friday night.

And ... that link again for the winter shelter writeup is - http://www.urmblog.org/2010/02/23/winter-shelters/

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Overpaid teachers? Another view on the story

For years I have taken what many would feel the politically correct route in regard to the compensation for teachers. I would support their cry for being overworked and underpaid. I was married to a teacher. I would hear voice recordings each month when I came home on our answer machine from A.J. Duffy, the head of UTLA (the teachers union) asking people to strike or walk out from their jobs. The major of Los Angeles, Mr. Villaraigosa is talking about cutting 2,000 teaching jobs and from my point of view, go right ahead. Little will be lost other than a salary that may be better spent elsewhere.

Don’t get me wrong. The current economy stinks. Our government has a lot of problems and the situation is complex to say the least. I am looking at nothing more than the educational system here in Los Angeles and only one aspect of the educational system – the teachers that complain about their compensation, those that strike and raise their voices and the vast majority who are overpaid to do a very substandard job.

I bet a few folks are now a little hot under the collar at my last words above. I will point out a few things which changed my mind. I used to be a strong supporter of teachers. Heck, I was married to one.

I don’t know if it is more a factor that the system breaks down good people, takes away their honor and integrity or whether the system is so broken that good people get lazy and become lazy and develop a very poor attitude and work ethic. It is probably a combination of both and other things as well.

Here is how I see things.

When I was in school my teacher was always there. If they were not in the classroom we generally knew why via the rumor mill or because we were told why by the substitute teacher. They were sick, they had an emergency in the own family of some sort or at times in the case of women teachers they were having a baby.

We have teachers making in excess of $50,000 per year which may not seem like a huge salary to some but this is very high compensation for many folks especially when you factor in the job they do (substandard as many reports show) and their true hourly rate. These people work ¾ of the year or less? Summer vacation. spring break, winter break school holidays and something I never saw when I was in school – pupil free days and half days. Yes, out here in Los Angeles they let students stay home or go home early so teachers can get caught up on their work. Makes my head spin.

I spend half my nights on skid row feeding the homeless and half my days watching people at the missions and shelters when I am not in the street observing their level of commitment which was something that teacher had when I was in school.

Last night I was talking to a teacher who was going to take off for a few days to hop on an airplane to jet across the country for nothing more than a bit of fun and vacation. I was confused because the schools just went back into session after the holidays and winter break. I was also a bit surprised as this woman used to have pride, honor and integrity in her chosen profession. I was informed that she had some sort of accrued time off as she did not take time off in the past. Time off? You work 70% of the year and need more time off? The educational system is continually in the news for doing a substandard job, the head of UTLA is seen in the news complaining about their compensation being cut and I used to see most of the teachers run out of the buildings faster than the students when I went to pick up one of my kids from school. The system may break down good people and turn them into people who are now something different or perhaps people just change. I do not know but I have seen examples that are too numerous to be counted where most of these folks don’t deserve half their compensation if any at all. They may be the biggest part of the problem with education today as they pray on the hearts of people that just want their kids to be able to read and write but have also changed themselves. Many parents look at schools at a place to dump their kids for the day. They send their kids to school unprepared or kids that are even very sick who should stay home. These folks are not teachers. They are nothing more than grossly overpaid babysitters with a bad attitude who have a voice, the UTLA who organize strikes and generates public support that may not be warranted from my own point of view.

So … I hope most of the teachers in Los Angeles today have a nice day. You should find that easy to do as you are not held accountable for your performance, you are overpaid to work a short year with lots of time off and holidays, are difficult to get rid of once you have tenure no matter how substandard your performance, have lost your integrity and honor. You want to talk about this or debate this? Write me an email so we can set up an appointment to meet. Just take off one day during school using one of those extra days off that you seem to feel you are entitled to receiving. We will take the subway to Pershing Square and walk down 5th Street to the heart of skid row where I will take you into the Union Rescue Mission and introduce you to folks that will be happy to find you some work sitting with a few homeless kids that have a desire to learn something.

To you Mr. Villaraigosa, feel free to remove most of these so called teachers and take 25% of what they were being paid and redirect that money to the homeless shelters in Los Angeles such as Union Rescue Mission, the Los Angeles Mission, The Midnight Mission and others. From my own personal point of view, sit down with Andy Bales who runs Union Rescue Mission with some of your staff and ask him for some suggestions as he has a proven track record of commitment and can stretch a dollar farther than anybody.

An bit of additional information sent to me:

I'm with you Myles! Especially on the tenured part -- it's REALLY HARD to get rid of a bad teacher....

Want to read some scary stuff? Read this! (New York) Feel free to add to your blog.


AND, when LAUSD teachers retire -- MEDICAL BENEFITS for LIFE (for them AND SPOUSE) and 75% of their (most recent annual salary, which is always highest) for LIFE. Whenever a teacher bitched to me about how much I made (which they didn't know but were only guessing) I reminded them I had NO pension, no medical after my non profit was closed down, nothing so not to complain to me!

Now, that said, spending even 6 straight hours with 32-50 kids is worth some 'combat pay' and time off...and many many teachers work much longer hours than "school hours".


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

January 2010 Statistics Update

January 2010 Statistics Update

This report is quite impressive as was the December 2009 wrap up last month.  As was the case last month, there was an increase in services by the URM folks across the board.

Friday, February 5, 2010