How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Can Laker morado be as big as 'Doyer' azul?

Photo by Juan Barredo/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A Lakers fan and his flags, June 2010

Los Angeles is a town full of Latino Dodger fans, but a Los Angeles Times story from earlier this week got at yet another one of Latino L.A.'s sports obsessions, the Lakers, whose purple and gold flags fly from car antennas in noticeable abundance on the Eastside this time of year.

The story detailed a big score by the Lakers organization in the National Basketball Association's push to cash in on the "fast-growing Latino market." In short, the Lakers recently announced a 20-year agreement with Time Warner Cable to create a Spanish-language regional sports network with the Lakers as its centerpiece, beginning next season. It will be the first of its kind in the country.

A couple of Lakers fanaticos were featured in the piece, including this one:

Consider longtime hoops fan Billy Sanchez, a third-generation Mexican-American. When he got his first driver's license, he knew exactly where to celebrate: at a Lakers game.

"All I wanted to do was just go down to the Forum, find a scalper and buy tickets," he recalls. "And I did that quite often."

Two decades and five NBA titles later, the team has left the Forum for Staples Center and Sanchez, 35, has no need for scalpers because he works in sales for his father's beer distributorship in the City of Industry and they have a luxury suite.

But his passion for the Lakers hasn't faded. "I've been a fan ever since I can remember," he says. "I watch every single game."


¡Acere! LeBron James 'assimilates' in Miami

This comes via Being Latino: Has LeBron James gone Cuban after joining the Miami Heat?

Not really, though it's hilariously convincing. The video has the stamp of Los Pichy Boys, a pair of Miami video pranksters who are masters of the comic Spanish dub. They've even given Hitler a Cuban accent.

Even so, I'm sure that the pride of Akron, Ohio is enjoying those cortaditos.

P.S. Nice Facebook debate here on whether "acere/asere" (Cuban slang for homey/bro/cuate) is spelled with a "c" or an "s." Either goes.


In the news this morning: An immigrant businessman's plight, Latinos and the census, an immigration crackdown on businesses, more

Crackdown in Virginia Strips Legal Immigrant of His Livelihood - New York Times A Tunisian immigrant's limo business is on the rocks after an immigration crackdown costs him his driver's license, though he's in the country legally.

Census numbers to show huge Hispanic growth - Houston Chronicle The detailed demographic data will be used for political redistricting. Texas is to get four new Congressional seats, more than any other state. The data is being released state by state on a rolling basis.

U.S. Businesses Everywhere: Are Your Immigration Papers In Order? - Law Blog - Wall Street Journal The Obama administration is requiring as many as 1,000 companies to turn over employment records for audit.

Poll: Most support House look at radical Islam in USA - USA Today A survey released on the eve of GOP-led Congressional hearings on the threat of Islamic extremism in the U.S. found that overall, "men, viewers who trust Fox news, white evangelicals and Republicans are more likely to think the hearings are a good idea and to believe Muslims want to establish Shariah law in the United States."


'Unrest in Iran' segment on KPCC draws reaction

Photo by killerturnip/Flickr (Creative Commons)

An Iranian flag flown at a 2009 rally in Los Angeles

As protests continue in the Middle East, including in Iran, members of Los Angeles' large Iranian American community have been closely watching the unrest from afar, with local supporters of the pro-democracy demonstrators rallying in solidarity last weekend.

Today, Los Angeles-based Radio Iran host Siamak Kalhor appeared on KPCC's Madeleine Brand show, drawing reactions from Iranian Americans and other listeners. The segment drew an interesting thread of comments on the show's website, along with thank-you notes to the show for featuring it. A couple of comments:

From Simin Warren:

Very interesting , seems like the whole world sees this , but no one can do anything about it.

Mohammad Mokhtari was a Iranian protester killed on Monday, February 14, 2011, while you and I were celebrating Valentine's Day. His last FB status yesterday: "GOD, LET ME DIE WHILE STANDING AS I AM TIRED OF SITTING UNDER TYRANNY." When you think of a true life hero, think of this young man.


A fond farewell to a vestige of Latino Silver Lake

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Adios, Restaurante y Pupuseria - the empty storefront on February 13, 2011

I was driving through Silver Lake the other day when I saw something I'd expected to see eventually, but hoped I wouldn't: an empty storefront at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Hyperion Avenue where a tiny Salvadoran pupuseria had stood for years, tucked between an upscale gelateria and a dentist office.

It was a little closet of a place, marked only with an awning reading "Restaurante y Pupuseria," which in recent years had been updated from a lighter color to a hipper black, perhaps to blend in with the adjacent gelateria's dark color scheme. Its passing seems to have gone largely unnoticed. Searching for an obituary of some kind, I found only a mention in Urban Spoon, which posted a simple notice advising "Closed: Pupuseria." I called the dentist's office next door and they told me that it closed about a month ago, and that the space is being prepared for another restaurant. A German place, they thought.