Presidential Address: Ambiguous Landscapes of the San Pornando Valley
Darrick Danta, 15
The San Fernando Valley is renowned as the center of adult film production. While the industry accounts for a significant share of Valley employment, revenue, and land use, it remains virtually invisible on the physical landscape (although its webscape presence is overwhelming). Each phase of the industry’s history has been driven by technology: from the 1970s of the first studios in Van Nuys producing shot-on-film movies; through the 1980s and 1990s heyday of studios in Chatsworth utilizing VHS modes; to the more diffuse distribution of today’s digitally oriented production. The Valley has retained its dominance of the industry, though other locales in this and other countries are gaining ground; likewise, the industry’s labor force remains largely in place, though female talent is increasingly moving to more upscale southern California locations or even to other states. The industry has not functioned in isolation: from the beginning were talent agencies, which supplied the performers; warehousing and duplication facilities; retail outlets; adult toy manufacturing; and gentlemen’s clubs, where performers find employment before, during, and after their movie careers. Currently, adult movie production is becoming more global, as is consumption of adult entertainment.
Geography graduate students intent on achieving tenure-track positions in academia might also consider diverse teaching opportunities, both full-time and part-time, beyond their expectations and even those outside their comfort zones. Biographies in geographic teaching reveal that not a few geography teachers willingly or reluctantly have joined the contingent workforce at one time or another, and yet have succeeded to achieve satisfying and ever-prosperous lifetime careers. Geographers do what they have to do in order to survive: they learn from their experiences, and their lessons learned help them to become better teachers. This paper is a memorate of my own unexpected part-time geography teaching experience during 1986 in a California Youth Authority (CYA) facility. My students were all wards of the State of California, incarcerated at the secured rural educational facility I introduce here as “Verdanta School.” I adopt a “memorate” style of self-narrative as appropriate to capturing the unusual essence of a semester-long paranormal experience. I have reduced that experience to “Ten Lessons Learned,” all of which later contributed to my career success in academia, and to my satisfaction with life.
Highland Forest Habitat Preference by Endemic Hawai‘ian Honeycreepers: A Preliminary Assessment
Michael K. Steinberg, 54
This paper examines the use of degraded, “suburbanized”-type highland forests in east Hawai‘i (Hawai‘i Island) versus more pristine, protected forest found in Volcanoes National Park by two endemic honeycreeper species, the apapane (Himatione sanguinea) and the amakihi (Hemignathus virens). This research is important because east Hawai‘i is experiencing rapid and extensive forest clearance due to a boom in home construction that began five years ago and continues today. This forest clearance not only destroys or degrades forest ecosystems, but it also leads to the introduction of exotic, usually ornamental plant species where few existed previously. The habitat fragmentation that has resulted also appears to be creating edge/fragmented environments in which alien bird species thrive. If current development and deforestation trends continue, further increasing the impact of edge/fragmentation-related effects, breeding populations of the remaining once-common honeycreepers may be relegated to the few large protected areas in Hawai‘i such as Volcanoes National Park and other fragmented forest islands. If this occurs, these species will be much more susceptible to catastrophic population declines. It is critical, therefore, that public officials work to protect remaining stands of native forest through new zoning laws that recognize the importance and uniqueness of east Hawai‘i’s native forests and their wildlife inhabitants.
Interconnecting Spaces: Truck Drivers, Diesel Pollution, and Networking in the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles
Mary Ngo and Deborah Thien, 67
Through public networking, people with a variety of positionalities are able to come together within interconnecting spaces to navigate through similar goals toward equality and fairness. This article assesses the position of port truck drivers (predominantly Latino, immigrant, male, and economically marginalized) who are caught between their regulatory misclassification as independent contractors and the consumerist fantasies of a neoliberal citizenry, impeding their efforts to receive better treatment and obtain cleaner-burning trucks. We examine how a community coalition endeavors to enable people with a variety of positionalities to come together in and across the dynamic spaces of Long Beach and Los Angeles to fight against diesel pollution emitted by the ports, creating a potent combination that politicians and city officials cannot ignore. Employing feminist and geographical analyses, we argue that within such contentious politics, such coalitions offer a critical means to interconnect diverse spaces, making space for emotion, fostering collaboration, and offering alternative imaginaries to challenge environmental and civil rights violations from industrial exploitation.
Trends in Extreme Daily Surface Temperatures in California, 1950–2005
Gregory S. Bohr, 96
Daily observations of maximum and minimum temperatures from NWS COOP stations are used to examine trends in the magnitude and frequency of extreme daily maximum (TMAX) and minimum (TMIN) surface temperatures in California for the period 1950–2005. Significant trends are found in both TMAX and TMIN but are more prevalent in minimum temperature. Across the state, the coldest days of the year are becoming warmer, and extremely cold wintertime events are becoming slightly less frequent. The hottest days of the year are warming at relatively few stations, and frequencies of summertime extreme heat events show only limited positive trends. Annual frequencies of extreme cold events are decreasing faster (approximately 1 fewer day per year) than hot events frequencies are increasing (approximately 0.5 more days per year). Urban sites in particular are experiencing significant decreases in the annual frequency of extreme cold events, mainly in winter and spring, and are also seeing increases in the frequencies of unusually warm spring and summer TMINs. Significant trends in temperature extremes are well distributed across the state, with little clustering. Urban sites have larger numbers of significant trends, but trend magnitudes are generally similar at urban and rural sites.
Immigration Politics in California’s Inland Empire
Michal Kohout, 120
Since 2005, local governments in southern California’s Inland Empire region have attempted to pass various types of immigration regulation. I examine several cases from this region that symbolize the contemporary national debate on immigration in the U.S. Using a conceptual framework derived from a body of work by critical geographers on immigration, I argue that geography is integral to the construction of immigration politics and policy. Specifically, I use the concepts of spatial targeting and discursive production of scale to understand how local and national immigration politics and policies fit together. Thus, I compare the local case studies from the Inland Empire to national immigration politics and policies. I discuss the Bush administration immigration policies, immigration bills passed in the U.S. Congress since 2005, and their constitutive arguments. I conclude that the contradiction between liberal trade and restrictive immigration policy, which has frustrated the implementation of immigration reform at the national level and has opened the floodgate to local immigration reform initiatives, is creating a complex topography of regulations and enforcement. This new geography of rights and citizenship is a process of spatial targeting whereby local immigration regulations have taken the place of national immigration reform. Like other critical geographers, I argue that these local resolutions to the contradictions of the U.S. neoliberal state allow for the continuation of the current status quo of a flexible labor market made up of undocumented workers with contingent rights.
Migration and Gender: The Case of a Farming Ejido in Calakmul, Mexico
Claudia Radel and Birgit Schmook, 144
As one of Mexico’s last agricultural frontiers, southern Mexico’s rural farming municipality of Calakmul has long been marked by rural in-migration. In the last few years this process has given place to an explosive growth of primarily male labor out-migration, particularly to the United States. The authors trace the outlines of the migration process from the perspective of one rural Calakmul community, to explore effects of men’s transnational migration on the household and community status of the women remaining behind. Analysis is based on quantitative data collected in 2004 from 25 households, and on in-depth qualitative interviews in 2005 with women whose husbands engage in transnational migration. The authors find preliminary evidence for changes in gender roles and responsibilities, as these adjust to accommodate men’s absences. The evidence for women’s increased participation in household decision-making is much less clear. This, combined with the words of the women, suggests that gender ideology is defended even as gender responsibilities flex. Women’s spatial mobility also appears to improve, but this must be weighed against greater gains in migrating men’s mobility, as well as some women’s unhappiness with the lack of livelihood improvements.
Una de las últimas fronteras agrícolas mexicanas, Calakmul, un municipio del estado de Campeche, estuvo expuesto por décadas a una fuerte inmigración. En los últimos años, este fenómeno fue reemplazado por la emigración creciente de varones a los Estados Unidos. Los autores describen las características de este proceso desde la perspectiva de una comunidad específica de la región. Analizan los efectos de la emigración transnacional sobre las unidades domésticas y sobre el estatus de las mujeres en la comunidad. Para este fin, en el 2004 encuestaron veintiséis unidades domésticas y en el 2005 entrevistaron a varias mujeres cuyos maridos habían emigrado. Los resultados preliminares indican una modificación en los papeles y responsabilidades de género, aunque la evidencia para una mayor participación de las mujeres en las decisiones familiares es menos clara, lo que combinado con las opiniones de las mujeres sobre el tema sugiere que existe una tendencia a mantener la “ideología” de géneros en esta situación de cambio. Con las nuevas tareas, las mujeres parecen obtener un aumento en su movilidad espacial, si bien esto se contrapone a la movilidad aún mayor de los hombres migratorios y la frustración de algunas de ellas por la falta de mejoras en su nivel de vida.
Pedestrian Volume Modeling: A Case Study of San Francisco
XiaoHang Liu and Julia Griswold, 164
Pedestrian volume information is critical to study traffic safety as well as to plan for pedestrian friendly design. We present a model used to estimate the pedestrian volumes for street intersections in the city of San Francisco, California. Through regression analysis at multiple geographical scales, a set of socioeconomic variables and built-environment characteristics were examined. Three factors emerged as having strong explanatory power on the variances of pedestrian volume: population and job density, local transit access, and land use mix. It was found that the strongest area of influence on pedestrian traffic is around a one-block radius of an intersection. Multiple-scale analysis reveals that not all variables are significant at the same scale. In fact, the best model was obtained when a mix of scales was used. Because the analysis in this paper utilizes easy-to-access data and routine statistical analysis, it is easy to apply it in other cities, hence providing a valuable tool for geographers, public health professionals, urban planners, and transportation engineers.
Fire in the Desert: Initial Gullying Associated with the Cave Creek Complex Fire, Sonoran Desert, Arizona
Casey D. Allen, Jeremy D. Dorn, and Ronald I. Dorn, 182
The June 2005 Cave Creek Complex Fire is one of the largest historic wildfires to affect Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. Post-fire gullying was measured using 1:1900-scale aerial photographs. Detailed comparisons of pre-fire and post-fire imagery, selected using a stratified randomly sampling approach, reveal far more gullies formed in contact with dirt roads than adjacent wildlands, approximately four times more frequently. Post-fire gullies that did not form in contact with roads covered approximately 0.18 percent of the analyzed imagery after the 2005 Arizona monsoon and approximately 0.24 percent after the 2006 Arizona monsoon. Extrapolating this percentage to the total area burned, we estimate gullying to have impacted 456 acres after the 2005 Arizona monsoon and 592 acres after the 2006 Arizona monsoon. A corresponding field-based investigation reveals both deepening and widening of gullying over time.
Railroad Abandonment: A Catalyst for Urban Renewal in the San Fernando Valley, California
Dougles E. Fetters, 196
Since the 1980s, railroad abandonment rates have escalated in the United States. Of greater significance, public officials and community leaders have often associated its occurrence with urban blight, de-industrialization, and depressed commercial activity. While some academic research has forecasted these effects, other studies have concluded that their severity was far less pronounced, and some areas exhibited urban renewal. Given the absence of a clear academic consensus on the effects of urban railroad abandonment, this study tested an argument that it stimulates urban renewal by releasing urban property for new development, and influences redevelopment in adjacent areas, thus contributing to revitalization. The Burbank Branch line, located in the San Fernando Valley just north of Los Angeles, was examined as a case study. In two out of three regional cities, compelling spatial and statistical evidence was found to conclude that railroad abandonment served as a catalyst to accelerate already-occurring urban renewal adjacent to that right-of-way.
Book Review: Hydroclimatology: Perspectives and Applications by Marlyn Shelton
Reviewed by Patrick Kahn, 249
Report of the Spaces of Democracy and the Democracy of Space Network: Long Beach Gets Radical: Stretching the Spaces of Radical Politics
Deborah Thien and Jonathan Pugh, 252