Home Blog Page 2003

Music from Her Youth in Afghanistan


By NAHID MASSOUD Special to the Palisadian-Post I heard Ustad Mahwash’s splendid voice on Saturday, January 15, at the Getty Center’s Harold Williams Auditorium. The sound took me back to my adolescent days in Afghanistan. Tears rolled down my eyes as memories of Kabul flooded my consciousness. The first song, ‘Mullah Mamad Jaan,’ was one of the most popular numbers of its time. It was always played during Afghani New Year, Nowrose, which is the 21st of March and the beginning of spring season. Radio Kabul played this and other Afghan songs over and over. The sound of music filled streets of the city and the narrow lanes of the bazaars, while shopkeepers hustled and hawked their wares. You could hear the voice of Ustad Mahwash everywhere as part of a kind of perpetual background music to the activities of men, women and children, all wearing colorful native Afghan clothes as part of the seasonal festivities. Nowrose is a particularly exciting time. The smell of spring was in the air, the scent of plants and budding trees mingled with the smells on the streets, everyone making mewai (our special Nowrose fruit dish). In the streets, farmers in from the country seemed excited, ready for the new planting season. All that seems a long time ago, the peaceful Kabul of my youth when people listened to music and lived peacefully despite their differences. It has vanished into a landscape devastated by war and destruction. Yet musical experiences can take you to a past that has gone, as Ustad Mahwash did for me, bringing what was repressed so vividly alive in the present. The powerful lyrics of her songs of god, love, and loss touched another part of me that I had forgotten. The ghazals penetrated my soul, made me remember my favorite composer, Ustad Naynawaz, who wrote wonderful songs that were often sung by the handsome, great and very popular Ahmed Zaher, whom I heard in person many times (he was the brother of my best friend). Unfortunately, both Naynawaz and Zaher were casualties of the Soviet war, assassinated while still in their prime. The melodies sung by Ustad Mahwash at the Getty in both Dari and Pashto languages were representative of popular Afghan music of the sixties and seventies. Their beauty was underscored by the excellent musicians who accompanied her’Aziz Herawi on dutar, Ehsan Ahmadi on tabla, and Ahmad Khalil Rageb on harmonium. As the first woman Ustad (maestro) in Afghanistan, Mahwash is not only a master musician but was in those days a role model, a strong woman who managed to turn her talent into a brilliant career against all the obstacles that usually prevented women from succeeding. I left the Ustad Mahwash concert full of sorrow over the years of war and destruction of my homeland. It’s so hard to imagine how, during the Taliban regime, such a musical people had to live without music. Mahwash’s powerful voice was a reminder of how much the Afghan people have suffered and lost in this last quarter century. The concert taught me how in exile you can come to appreciate in a new way the meaning of a past that is forever lost, but can be resurrected momentarily through the power of music and song. Palisadian Nahid Massoud, a native of Kabul, is a psychiatric nurse who works at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute. She came to America on a student visa in 1977 and was given political asylum in the U.S. after the Soviet invasion endangered her family, all of whom later escaped to the U.S. With the aid of her husband, history professor and author Robert Rosenstone, Nahid directs Sharq, an art space at her home devoted to contemporary works by artists from the East. The next exhibit, ‘The Fire Next Time,’ opens March 5 and will feature Persian artist Kamran Moojedi.

PaliHi Teachers Give Key Approval of Charter Draft

Palisades Charter High School’s petition to the Los Angeles school board to renew its independent charter for another five years has cleared a vital hurdle. The draft petition was delivered to the LAUSD Charter Office on January 31 with the signatures of 73 percent of the permanent teachers (52 of 71), far exceeding the required 50 percent support by permanent teachers, according to Jack Sutton, the school’s executive director. Another 47 non-permanent teachers and staff members also signed in support of the petition. ‘Our board of directors’three teachers, three parents, three community representatives, a classified employee and myself’committed itself to successfully renewing the charter as well as addressing important issues raised by teachers when it passed the following motion at its January meeting,’ Sutton said. The motion read: ‘The PCHS Board of Directors is committed to charter renewal being submitted as a 501(c)3 California nonprofit public benefit corporation. The PCHS Board of Directors is also committed to, through the amendment process prescribed in the Charter, examining the governance structure once the charter has been renewed and labor negotiations are completed.’ In the weeks leading up to the vote, teachers union representative Alex Shuhgalter rallied a small contingent of faculty in criticizing the school’s current governing model. They argued that the board under the 501(c)3 structure did not give teachers enough say in governing the school. At a public meeting in January, Sutton argued that the backbone of the school’s governance is the seven standing committees, each comprised of 50 percent faculty members. But, Sutton added, if the faculty wants to make changes to the governing structure, there is a mechanism to do so in the charter. The amendment process requires 75 percent of teachers and two-thirds of the board support. The teachers have also criticized the board for making no headway on class-size reduction. While there is no dispute over the need to reduce class size, doing so necessitates more long-term considerations, Sutton said. For example: Should there be a new building? Should there be more on-line courses? What would each option cost? The next step in charter renewal is for the LAUSD charter office staff to review the draft and send it to other departments (e.g., budget, special education, and facilities) for review. After feedback is received, changes will be made in the final draft that is submitted to the school board for approval. Sutton estimated that the board will take up the charter renewal sometime in April or May. ‘We hope that all the stakeholders will recognize the value and responsibility of remaining an independent charter high school,’ said Sutton, quoting from a January 27 Palisadian-Post editorial. ‘We ask that the community support our efforts toward that end.’

Potrero Committee to Meet Wednesday

The 16-member Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting next Wednesday, February 16 at 7:15 p.m. at the Palisades Recreation Center. At this meeting, which Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski will attend and is open to the public, ‘everyone will be brought up to speed,’ said George Wolfberg, head of the advisory committee. ‘We can then lay the groundwork for the work that needs to be done.’ Two major tasks face the advisory committee, which was selected by Miscikowski and Community Council chairman Norm Kulla to work with advisors and the city. One is the completion of Potrero Park itself, a mile-long expanse which extends from the recreation center to Pacific Coast Highway. Currently, plans call for a riparian habitat and a hiking trail with limited amenities to be built. This final part of the project (Phase III) is expected to cost from $7 million to $12 million. The second challenge for the advisory committee will be how to handle the sale of the city-owned lots in Potrero. To date, the city has spent at least $13 million to acquire 35 landslide-impaired lots and another $17 million to buttress and fill the canyon. However, work was brought to a halt over two years ago when the city lacked the $1.2 million needed to complete Phase II. In an effort to break the logjam, Miscikowski put forth a motion which was approved by L.A. City Council in December to sell two of the lots’both of them on Alma Real (at 615 and 623), both with houses that the city currently leases. These lots have now been declared surplus by the city, with 100 percent of the net proceeds to be deposited in a designated Potrero Canyon Trust Fund. The proceeds, expected to be as much as $4 million, will be used exclusively for completion of Phases II and to ‘begin’ Phase III, explained Miscikowski at the motion hearing last fall. However, the city cannot offer the two lots, which will be sold at public auction, without California Coastal Commission approval, which is currently pending. When the Coastal Commission originally approved Potrero in 1986, it placed restrictions on the sale of the city-owned lots until all three phases of the project were complete and funding for inspections and maintenance had been identified. When it became clear last year that these conditions would be impossible to meet, negotiations began with Coastal staff to clear the way for the immediate sale of the two Alma Real lots to finish Phase II, where work is 95 percent complete. Two landslides still need repairing and there is final grading to be done. The other 33 city-owned lots, which were condemned starting in 1964 when the canyon was first found to be too unstable because of landslides, are located on Earlham, De Pauw, and Friends Street, where nine buildable pads already exist. ‘As soon as all the lots are deemed to be stable [a two-year process], they can be certified by the city and gradually sold off as funds are needed for Phase III,’ Miscikowski said Wednesday. ‘Not only are we going to have to look into the existing deed restrictions and CC&R’s for each lot, but we will have to ensure that they are sold off in an orderly fashion so as to not create problems in the neighborhoods where they are located.’ Another question is whether developers will be permitted to buy the lots and what kind of houses can be built on them ‘so as to not affect existing views,’ said Wolfberg, former chairman of Community Council. ‘Will they still step-down the hillside, as was originally discussed with the Civic League? The advisory committee is also going to look into how best to divide the public from the private space. Where do we end the plantings for the park, for example? There is also the larger question of who is going to be responsible for maintaining the park. As you can see, we have a lot of work ahead of us.’ The park was purchased in 1964 by the Department of Recreation and Parks to provide coastal access to and from Palisades Park. The canyon historically included a natural watercourse through which run-off from the Santa Monica Mountains and runoff from the Palisades community was carried to the Pacific Ocean. Abnormally high runoff from storms in 1978 and 1980 caused extensive erosion, landslides and slippages that led the City of Los Angeles to acquire the privately-owned properties along the canyon rim. Since then, the Departments of Recreation and Parks and Bureau of Engineering have worked with the California Coastal Commission to remediate the problems, which included the installation of a storm drain and subdrain system, as well as landfill to support the canyon walls. (Editor’s note: Ron Weber, an attorney who lives adjacent to the Recreation Center, is on the community advisory committee. His name was inadvertently deleted from the list of members in last week’s article: ‘Advisory Committee to Tackle Potrero.’)

Rooftop Signs Removed For Marquez Makeover

The Marquez business district was first developed in the 1950s, when the rooftop “Drugs” sign was installed above Knoll’s Pharmacy. The sign was removed by Palisades PRIDE last Friday.
Photo by Rich Schmitt, Staff Photographer

Palisades PRIDE’s efforts to revitalize and beautify the Marquez Avenue business block got off to ‘a great start’ last Friday morning when three aging rooftop signs were taken down, reported project leader Bob Jeffers. Engineers from Tako Tyko sign company cut through the steel supports and lifted the signs off with a huge crane as several local officials watched. ‘For not much money, we got maximum impact,’ said Jeffers, a vice-president of PRIDE. ‘The block looks so much better already.’ Other improvements to the business district, which will be named Marquez Village Shops, include new signage, antique lampposts, benches and trash cans, as well as landscaping of the sidewalk and the island triangle at the corner of Sunset and Marquez, which is currently covered in cement. The retaining wall on the opposite side of the street will also be planted with flowers and shrubs. In addition, a stop sign will soon be installed at Marquez and Bollinger ‘to slow down traffic and allow pedestrians to cross,’ said Jeffers, who won a Golden Sparkplug Award last year for his role in creating landscaped medians on Sunset at Chautauqua. Total cost of the project is estimated at $95,000. In early January, the Los Angeles City Council passed a motion that allocated $89,000 in City discretionary funds for the Marquez beautification project and waived associated planning fees for the median. ‘We’ve had such great support from everyone’the landlords, the merchants, Marquez homeowners and, of course, Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski,’ Jeffers said. He credited Monique Ford, the councilwoman’s chief deputy representing the Palisades, with working ‘really hard with us to get things moving. Now, we’ve got the money in our pockets and are dealing with several different City departments,’ including Street Lighting, Building and Safety’s Sign Inspection Division, the Bureau of Street Services, and Public Works. PRIDE, which will maintain the improvements until a formal maintenance association is formed, envisions that the block will ‘become a quaint commercial hub for the Marquez area,’ Jeffers said. ‘It’s a big project. Within six months the block will be transformed and look more like Swarthmore and less of a time warp with the 1950s signage gone. The ‘Drugs’ sign is very retro.’ Landlord Don Haselkorn remembers the ‘Drugs’ sign being there when he bought Knoll’s Pharmacy in 1961. If there is enough interest, PRIDE will hold a public auction in the next week to sell the vintage sign. Anyone interested in purchasing it should contact Jeffers at 230-8914. (Editor’s note: Moving into the prime retail space at the corner of Marquez and Bollinger formerly occupied by Marquez Market, which closed down at the end of December, is a childhood education center which will provide tutoring and after-school enrichment activities. That space is owned by the Wilson Family Trust. A martial arts academy is expected to occupy the former D & T Studio, which also closed down in December. Accessed through the alley, below Marquez Avenue, the space is owned by Haselkorn.)

Locals Kick Soccer Teams To Victories

Palisadians Amanda Lisberger and Nicki Maron played pivotal roles in two nonleague victories for the Brentwood girls’ varsity soccer team last week. Lisberger scored two goals and Maron added two assists in the Eagles’ 6-0 shutout of Animo Leadership. Lisberger assisted on the only goal in a 1-0 win over Notre Dame Academy, crossing to teammate Lauren Hentschel in the 60th minute as Brentwood improved to 10-2-1. At Harvard-Westlake, Palisadian Ali Riley is vital to the Wolverines’ offense. A week after netting three goals and an assist in two games, the junior midfielder was back at it on Monday, scoring two goals in a 5-0 Mission League victory over Alemany. Difference Makers The Hornets, Palisades’ AYSO Under-10 girls’ all-star soccer team, held a bake sale at the farmers market last Sunday to raise money for children affected by the Tsunami disaster. Collectively, the team raised $705.30, an amount which will be matched dollar for dollar by a major movie studio. The girls and their coaches, David Schneiderman and Eric Waxman, wish to thank the people in the community who opened up their hearts and wallets. Together, a difference has been made. Hornet players include Emma Sanderson, Jesse Cranston, Julia Habiby, Maya Schneiderman, Sulli Martz, Dani Cohen, Avid Khorramian, Raleigh Bacharach, Emily Waxman, Mandy Aden, Caitlan Kerwin, Claire Olivia, Molly Peddicord and Katherine Tercek.

Pali Alumni Game Nears

Tom Seyler, co-head coach of the Palisades High baseball program, has a new twist planned for the annual alumni fundraiser, which will be held on Saturday, February 26, at George Robert Field. Old-timers (Dolphin alumni who graduated 10 years ago or more) worried will have an opportunity to play the Pali junior varsity team in an intrasquad scrimmage prior to the alumni game. The intrasquad game will begin at 10 a.m., followed by the alumni-varsity game at 1 p.m. Seyler will field a young team but is optimistic his Dolphins can defend their Western League title. Without some of its best players and against stiff competition like San Fernando, Royal, Sylmar and Newbury Park, Palisades has posted an 8-5 record in Winter League games. The Dolphins travel to play Sylmar in the playoffs Saturday and close out their schedule by hosting Harvard-Westlake February 19. In addition to its success on the field, Seyler’s squad is also making a difference in the community. The team has already raised over 1,000 pounds of baby food for underprivileged kids in East L.A., a benefit organized by longtime Pali supporter Gretchen Miller. Junior varsity coach David Kloser, author of the recently-published “Stepping Up to the Plate,” will be at Village Books at 7:30 p.m. on February 17 to discuss and sign copies of his new book. A percentage of the proceeds will go to the Pali baseball program.

Ware in Super Bowl

For the second straight year, a player with ties to the Palisades is in the Super Bowl. And for the second straight year, his first name is Matt. A year after offensive lineman Matt Willig played for the Carolina Panthers in Houston, Matt Ware will don a Philadelphia Eagles’ jersey for Sunday’s Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville, Florida. But while Willig is an NFL veteran, Ware has reached the pinnacle in his rookie year. A 6-2, 210-pound cornerback, Ware played in 12 games this season, making 12 unassisted tackles and one assisted tackle and breaking up one pass for the NFC Champion Eagles, who will be decided underdogs by kick-off time against the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Ware is No. 21 on the Eagles’ roster. Ware, who lives on the Palisades-Malibu border in Sunset Mesa, played for the Westside Bruins and was later an All-CIF and All-American quarterback and safety at Loyola High, where he was named Division I player of the year as a senior. He was also on the Cubs’ baseball and track teams, leading Loyola’s CIF champion 4 x 100 relay team. Ware started at cornerback and free safety at UCLA in 2001’becoming the first freshman in school history to start every game. He started all but one of his 35 games as a Bruin, making 117 tackles and intercepting eight passes.

Soccer Kicks into Playoff Form

Michael Larin dribbles past a Westchester defender during last Friday's 4-4 tie that kept Palisades in contention for the Western League title.
Michael Larin dribbles past a Westchester defender during last Friday’s 4-4 tie that kept Palisades in contention for the Western League title.
Photo by Rich Schmitt, Staff Photographer

It is often said that a season is like a marathon, not a sprint. But coming down the homestretch, the Palisades High boys’ varsity soccer team can see the finish line and rounds the final turn in contention for the Western league title. Going into this week’s play, the Dolphins ((3-1-4 overall, 3-1-2) were locked in a three-way tie for first place with Hamilton and Venice with four games remaining. Palisades lost to Hamilton, 2-1, earlier in the season but played the Yankees again yesterday (result unavailable at press time). The Dolphins host University Friday afternoon and travel to Venice next Wednesday. The Gondos tied Pali in their first meeting, making next week’s game all the more important for the Dolphins. Palisades beat Fairfax, 3-1, last Wednesday and tied Westchester, 3-3, in a wild game last Friday. Against the Lions, Osbaldo Garcia scored in the 13th minute off of an assist by Fabio Gonzalez, who added an unassisted goal in the 26th minute. Francesco Coco gave Pali a 3-0 lead in the 45th minute off of an assist from team captain Michael Larin. At Westchester, Fabio Gonzalez scored an unassisted goal moments before the final whistle to pull the Dolphins even, 4-4, and keep their hopes of a league championship alive. Gonzalez scored in the seventh minute (assisted by Patrick McCormick) to give the Dolphins a 1-0 halftime lead. The defensive game suddenly opened up in the second half. Larin struck first in the 47th minute off of a pass from Francesco Coco but the Comets answered three minutes later to pull within 2-1. Pali needed only one minute to regain the lead on a goal by Henry Argueta off of assists by Ki Karou and Larin. But Westchester scored three goals in a 10-minute span to take a 4-3 lead. Girls Soccer Several Palisades players, including forwards Tia Lebherz and Lucy Miller and midfielder Alex Michael, sustained injuries in a physical game last Wednesday at Fairfax. The Dolphins lost, 2-1, with Michael netting Pali’s only goal in the seventh minute. Fairfax scored the game-winner in the 44th minute. The loss dropped Pali into third place in the Western League. Boys Basketball Despite 30 points and 18 rebounds from senior forward D’Andre Bell, the Dolphins (7-11, 3-3) lost to top-ranked Westchester, 73-58, in front of a fired-up crowd Friday at the Pali gym. Bell, who has signed with Georgia Tech, had 23 points in a 75-56 loss to Fairfax.

Present and Future Brides

Kristy Dodd-Hansen, Kent Peterson Exchange Vows in Tropical Setting

Kristy Dodd-Hansen, daughter of Dane and Sheryl Dodd-Hansen from Sacramento, and Kent Peterson, son of Don and Suzanne Peterson of Pacific Palisades, were married November 24 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The couple’s families, including Kent’s sister Kimberly, attended the ceremony. Both the bride and bridegroom graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where Kristy majored in communications and Kent in music. The couple met in London on a study-abroad program. Kristy is a project manager for the UCLA Alumni Association. Kent received his master’s degree in education from Washington State University, and is teaching in the Los Angeles Unified School District. He also attended Marquez, Paul Revere and graduated from Palisades High School in 1995. Powers and Rosoff Plan To Marry in October Kathy and Leslie Powers of Pacific Palisades announce the engagement of their daughter, Lindsay, to Todd Rosoff, son of Sherrill Rosoff of Boston and Dr. Arnold Rosoff of Philadelphia. Lindsay graduated from St. Matthew’s Parish School, Harvard-Westlake and UC Berkeley. She is currently an associate editor at Running Press in Philadelphia. Todd graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and will graduate in May with an MBA from the Wharton School of Business. He has accepted a position in investment banking in San Francisco. An October wedding in Carmel is planned.

Women Write to Inspire Others

When Christine Kloser heard over and over that women in her Network for Empowering Women Entrepreneurs (NEW) networking organization wanted to become published authors, she thought that there must be an easier way for them to achieve this goal. So she published a compilation of 41 of their essays on topics ranging from ‘Roadmap to Retirement,’ ‘How to Be Your Own Best Matchmaker,’ ‘Overcoming Overwhelm’ to ‘How to Stay in Your Pajamas All Day…And Still Run a Business’ and ‘Financial Alchemy.’ ‘I wanted to publish a book, too, but with planning for a baby and running a business, I didn’t want to take it all on at once,’ said Kloser, who is expecting her first child this month and is the founder of the NEW, a networking group that incorporates spirituality with business and financial training and education. ‘Combining our resources, it was actually pretty effortless.’ The result is ‘Inspiration to Realization,’ a self-published compilation of women’s essays on personal, business, financial and spiritual fulfillment. Four of the contributors are from the Palisades, and they, along with Kloser, will speak about their book on Thursday, February 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Books, 1049 Swarthmore. In April, Kloser sent out an e-mail asking if any of the other women in the 400-plus-member networking group were interested in contributing. ‘I asked, ‘If there were something you could teach readers, what message would you want to get across to them?” Through all the submissions, Kloser picked 40 to include, plus her own, and the book began to take shape. ‘I saw themes that were coming forth from what had been submitted. I saw where different chapters fit in.’ Kloser considered herself a project manager on the book, submitting her own chapter, as well as hiring editors and designers. ‘It was beautiful how it flowed together; it felt very organic.’ The book was printed in October, six months after the initial idea came about. Palisadian contributors to the book are Spheres magazine publisher Deborah Koppel Mitchell, hypnotherapist Debbie Friedman, entrepreneur Wendy Robbins and motivational speaker Kathryn Tull. Kloser and the local authors’ essays all appear in the spiritual fulfillment section of the book. Psychologist Yvonne Thomas, a Palisades High graduate, also contributed an essay on ‘The Superwoman Juggling Act’ for the personal fulfillment section. A large number of Palisadians belong to the NEW networking group, which has monthly meetings in Santa Monica. For her essay, ‘Follow Your Heart: The Only Path to Fulfillment,’ Kloser relates her own personal journey. ‘I’m happily married, preparing to start my family in a matter of weeks, and started a business that helps a lot of people. I was willing to follow my own heart, say no, swim upstream and stay true to what felt right to me. I knew that was what I had to write about.’ Palisadian Kathryn Tull, a certified domestic violence counselor who has a master’s degree in clinical psychology and a clinical practice, wrote about ‘The Path to Personal Resiliency,’ which talks about the resiliency she had to build as a survivor of domestic violence. ‘It was an opportunity to be able to express my message about family violence’what my children and I lived through, and what it took to be able to come out from that and rebuild my life,’ says Tull, who is working on two books of her own. Palisadian Deborah Koppel Mitchell, who leads a women’s circle, wrote ‘Coming Full-Circle Into Your Ideal Life.’ She describes a women’s circle as ‘When two or more come in the space of a circle to listen and be heard while being fully present. ‘Being in circle can serve as an important reminder to each of us to tap into that ‘Goddess’ part of us, and not get lost or caught up in the hectic pace we have created in our lives,’ she writes. ‘It was an opportunity to be in a book without having to do a whole book,’ says Mitchell who has been inspired by her participation to do more public speaking. ‘It gives each of the authors a project to have under her arm.’ ‘This project felt to me like a gift that our family of friends through NEW could share with women around the world,’ says Palisadian hypnotherapist Debbie Friedman, whose chapter is entitled ‘Manifesting Made Easy’ and starts with the query: ‘Are you ready to manifest true wealth and success in your life?’ ‘I wrote about the nine-step process that I use in my work helping people to know that they create their lives, and supporting them with tools and techniques to consciously create the life they love to live,’ says Friedman who also has a self-published book called ‘Manifesting Made Easy.’ The writers range from being in their 20s to their 70s. ‘There’s something for every woman in this book,’ says Kloser, who is married to PaliHi JV baseball coach and author David. ‘Women who pick it up find they’re drawn to something that strikes them.’