Episode 36: Kurt Knecht Neighborhood Prosecutor, Dr Wayne Aoki LA Christian Health Centers

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES – The City attorney’s office introduced a neighborhood prosecutor program which focuses on dealing with community issues before the blossom into larger scale crimes. Kurt Knecht, the prosecutor assigned to Central Division has been with the office for nearly two decades.

Kurt Knecht
Kurt Knecht is the Neighborhood Prosecutor assigned to the Central Division. A graduate of UCLA and UCLA Law School, Knecht has over 17 years of experience as a prosecutor for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.). While working in Criminal Division, he prosecuted over 100 jury trials to verdict with cases including Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Driving Under the Influence, Domestic Violence, Vehicular Manslaughter, and Sexual Assault. Since January 2013, Knecht has worked as the Neighborhood Prosecutor for Central Division. In that capacity, he has worked closely with Central Division’s Safer City Initiative (SCI) Officers and Local Service Providers in coordinating homeless outreach. For the past two years he has been a volunteer crisis counselor for Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services.


The Los Angeles Christian Health Centers offer multiple services to patients in and around Skid Row. Dr. Wayne Aoki is the mental health director for the clinic. Dr. Aoki reports that one of the main issues he sees with his patients is trauma either experienced in childhood or as adults. He also points to “disrespect” as one of the main causes of strife as experienced between some of downtowns newest residents and the most downtrodden.

Episode 35: LA Historic Theater Foundation, Trust Talks 3


With all the attention paid to the historic theaters during Night On Broadway we sat down with Escott Norton, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Historic Theater Foundation. Founded in 1987 the non-profit volunteer driven foundation focuses on the protection, preservation, and restoration of historic theaters around Los Angeles. Their current effort, New Broadway Los Angeles, is designed to identify and draw the crowds who can support a resurgence of these architectural treasures to their former glory.

The Downtown Clergy Council organizes a roundtable discussion known as Trust Talks. Here, community stakeholders from many different walks of life participate in a facilitated dialogue about the challenges we face as a neighborhood and in someways as a nation. Members of the LAPD, elected officials staff, business owners and residents exchange stories and feelings in a safe and open way. Delonte Gholston is a pastor and one of the lead organizers on the project. The next Trust Talks event takes place Feb. 27th, from 10a-1p at Centenary United Methodist Church 300 S Central Ave Los Angeles.


Episode 34 – Night on Broadway

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — With an impressive crowd of over 65,000 Downtown LA celebrated a little bit of its past and future during “Night on Broadway” on Saturday night. The event was orchestrated by Councilman Jose Huizar’s office as a way of celebrating the Councilman’s Bringing Back Broadway initiative, a 10-year plan for revitalizing the historic Broadway in Downtown.  


With music, dancing, art, and featuring the historic theaters that line Broadway, the celebration lasted well into the night.


One of the main events of the night featured a new sport called chess boxing put on for charity. According to fighter Toby TigerHeart, “This is a round of chess in the ring, and then a round of boxing in the ring, a round of chess in the ring. The idea behind this sport is that you have to be smart and tough.” TigerHeart represented Fortune Gym in the ring on Saturday night against teammate Vito. TigerHeart relished the opportunity to fight in front of the Broadway crowd saying, “The cool thing about an event like this going on for so many years is that you’ve got thousands of people. They can stop and see something that they would never ever see.” The exhibition was curated by the LA chessboxing club.

Also participating that night was Two Bit Circus. According to Nicky Besuden, “Pretty much what we do is bring a bunch of our games out for adults and kids to play. It’s super important for adults to continue playing.” Besuden said there was an amazing response with over 100 people walking by and asking to jump on the horses or participate in some of the more unique games offered by Two Bit Circus.  The Lincoln Heights-based company was happy to join the celebration in celebrating their downtown neighbors and the revitalization of Broadway.


One of the artists featured that night was Los Angeles-based Morley. The street artist  specializes in bold, typographic posters which he wheat pastes within the urban landscape.

Morley said of the night, “It’s really cool to activate the community and give them a reason to come out. Something to see. Something to get invigorated by.  This city is a wonderful place. I think downtown specifically has so much energy and so much culture and so much to appreciate.”


As a testament to the energy of the night, LAPD Captain Oreb said, “We did really well tonight. I look at the difference between this year and last year — we have more events more people, more food. Everybody’s having a great time. It’s a very peaceful event. I love seeing all the families downtown.”


Councilman Jose Huizar celebrated the success of his district’s night. He said, “It shows that there’s a thirst for people to re-explore downtown LA. People want the history. They want the culture. They want to come together as a city. This is what it’s about. It’s about everyone coming together as a city — enjoying the arts, enjoying the multiculturalism. And we have to do more of this.”


Episode 33 Links

Heath and his art can be found at http://www.publicsculpture.com/


The urbanize.LA story on the 1st and Broadway park proposals: urbanize.la/post/four-competing-visions-1st-broadway-civic-park

The facebook event page for the community forum Feb 4th can be found here DTLA Community Forum: Community-Neighborhood Civility and Care

Eat! Drink! 10e Restaurant

This week the guys visit a place that is part “old country” charm and part sophisticated elegance.  “Sexy” is the word that comes to mind when you first enter, but this Middle Eastern eatery is so much more than a pretty face. With authentic Lebanese libations and a commitment to fresh ingredients in every dish, you’ll find yourself eating for hours, throwing back Arak shots and yelling “Sahha” each time you visit.

10e Restaurant is located at 811 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

Eat! Drink! Redline DTLA

This week, the guys went to Redline and learned that “DTLA’s Premier Gay Bar” is more than just a tagline. With a relaxing atmosphere, tasty bites, delicious drinks, and a focus on being a “neighborhood bar,” Redline is a great place to hang out with neighbors and friends. So whether you’re part of the LGBT community, an ally, or just want to be “keenly alive and exuberant,” Redline is indeed the place to be! So come meet proprietors Oliver and Zach and prepare to have stereotypes shattered.

Redline DTLA is located at 131 E 6th St in Downtown LA