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Posts filed under 'Issues'

Fun Facts About Global Warming

Carla Wise, a conservation biologist who contributed Who Cares about the Polar Bears has started a new column here at Quixo, Fun Facts about Global Warming. She’ll periodically offer updates with the fruits of her research. Her first entry is a review of an nice new resource, Climate Counts. Their website helps consumers track how well companies are addressing climate change. Hey, even if you are some kind of free market freak, you have to agree that the best way to hold corporations accountable is to stop buying their products when they are irresponsible. Check out Carla’s article here, Climate Change Report Card.
And you can read some of Carla’s latest work here at The Huffington Post.

July 2nd, 2007

Donald Sterling is Homeless and Needs Your Help

No comment.

Donald Sterling Homeless Center Ugly Ad

Oh, crap, I can’t help myself. I have to comment. There are a lot of Donald Sterling ads that run in the paper every week and I just can’t discuss every one. But this is nuts. (See the Donald Sterling Graphic Design Foundation if you haven’t yet, and join our cause.)

I know my criticisms of Donald T. Sterling Corporation have all been graphic design related, but I have to take a little spin through the content of this ad. (I’ll comment on the design too, if you can bear wading through some actual substantive issues.)

For many years I worked as a counselor, activist and program manager in homeless services. (I had always been involved in art and design on the side and eventually switched to doing design full time.)

Honestly, I don’t know the full background story behind Mr. Sterling’s homeless service center. Judging by a quick spin around the net, nobody else does either. I generally bristle when people who are not a part of the homeless or social service community step in and try to fix everything. There are many plans and proposals that have been developed and ignored. And in these plans there are a couple of findings that are very clear. The number one thing we need is permanent housing, preferably with support services. Sure it is nice to have another service center, but these centers just become warehouses (or concentration camps) unless there is a place for people to go. And another important issue is that we need many decentralized locations for services. Every community has homeless people and people from every community become homeless. Sending everyone downtown is not a great solution.

But really, my biggest complaint about large facilities like the one proposed is that they can be hell for people. Imagine checking in to a great big facility like this — would you be scared? What if you were not at your best because of your health, mental health or just the troubling circumstances of being homeless? And the very existence of these places is often used as a justification for police sweeps and harassment.

Ok, enough ill-informed whining and criticism. I actually commend Donald Sterling for putting his money and reputation on the line and for trying to do something for Los Angeles. I hope he addresses all of the concerns that the community may have regarding a facility like this so that it will fill a real practical need. And I know he has some hard work ahead. He’s at least trying to do something great and he deserves our support.

Which brings us to his horrible ads in the LA Times again! Assuming this service center and his intentions are all well placed, how is this ad going to help him? He boldly tells us “The Homeless Need Your Help.” It is not clear but it looks like Sterling is posing as the homeless person who requires the help, or I guess he is just posing as the person who is bringing us the news (with a smile on his face). And then the ad describes the plans. What can you do if you want to help? You can write a letter and snail mail it to the address listed. Or maybe that’s how to request services. It is not really clear because the text is just a jumble of incomplete sentences. The only thing that is clear from the ad — from the giant Donald Sterling head to the giant “Sterling Homeless Center” on the building” — is that this homeless service center is really all about one thing: Donald T. Sterling.

Ok, this is not just a design issue. The ad is less ugly than most of the ads running lately. But it is just a poorly executed PR move. If he was actually paying someone to do the ads, maybe he or his people would proof read them and consider if they were actually promoting him and his cause. Even if these ads are free to him, they are hurting him (and everyone who looks at them) more than they are helping.

4 comments June 12th, 2007

Los Angeles Magazine calls Quixo.com Website of the Month!

Really!? Yea, we’re surprised too. It seems that Donald T. Sterling Graphic Design Foundation is striking a chord with many Angelinos who have been plagued by the gawd awful ads in the Los Angeles Times and elsewhere.

It looks bleak (did you see the self serving ads in which the Salvation Army is supposedly congratulating Sterling, but obviously rendered in the evil DTS style?). But we haven’t given up yet! Since we first started this campaign we’ve received widespread support and this site has served as a place for others to vent and share information. We’ve received reports that the ads are free to Sterling because the Times gets ad at Clippers basketball games. And we hear that DTS Corp insist on the crappy look of the ads. Supposedly designers at the Times actually dread getting the assignment. (Yes, the shocking news is that real designers may be involved here.) It is clear from the frequent sloppiness of the layout, the designers have given up hope.

So now that we have more momentum than ever, what will it really take to get these ads to change? Can the Los Angeles Times stand up for its integrity? Can the designers at the Times speak up or at least try to make the ads look nicer? Or, really, can’t Donald Sterling realize that his ads that proclaim to offer “most beautiful apartments in the world” actually send the message “tacky, poorly managed apartments brought to you by a megalomaniac?”

I have nothing against Donald Sterling (except for this ad thing). And I don’t know how well his apartments are managed or anything about his alleged bigotry or sex scandals. And honestly I’ve been disgusted by comments I’ve seen about him that sound anti-Semitic and just stupid. But I do know this: his ads are ugly, they make him look bad and I’m sick of looking at them! There are a few suggesions for how you can do your part here.

(Thanks Los Angeles Magazine!)

Oh, here’s the blurb from the mag:

From Los Angeles Magazine, June 2007
“Buzz Cut”
by Lesley Bargar
Website of the month: Hoping to ease the suffering of layout-conscious Angelinos, the offbeat online magazine Quixo has launched the Donald T. Sterling Graphic Design Foundation, which urges the Clippers owner and real estate mogul to employ a professional artist for his ubiquitous L.A. Times advertisements. The Quixo folks complain, “The ads don’t follow even the most basic principles of graphic design.” So far, Sterling hasn’t budged. Visit quixo.com to do your part.

1 comment May 21st, 2007

Polar Bears: Endangered but who cares….

In the first article of our Issues department, Carla Wise has a hard time caring that Polar Bears are becoming endangered. Not that she doesn’t care — she’s a conservation biologist who has devoted her life to endangered species — it’s just that climate change is now threatening all living species. Check out this incredible article on Polar Bears, climate change and the evolving environmental movement. Don’t despair, it includes a strong set of solutions to help save the Polar Bears, human beings and all living species.

You can leave any comments on the article here….

17 comments April 20th, 2007

So All May Eat: SAME Cafe

SAME Cafe in Denver serves up good organic food on a sliding scale — pay what you can and everyone eats. Together. You can visit their website here (and donate if you like), and read the LA Times article about the restaurant here. I worked for many years in services for poor and homeless people and there was a huge difference between the organizations that worked with people and the groups who were condescending, abusive or just burnt out. And SAME is all about people being in it together. At first glance this may seem like a pointless excercise in the face of vast social injustices. But often art and culture spread messages that are more transformative to our society than the many protests and legislative squabbles we engage in.  A cafe like this could do well (and good) with Santa Monica. Anyone with a little free time, money and real estate?

1 comment April 16th, 2007

Donald Sterling Corporation Ad Update

We’ve just posted a couple of updates on our campaign to stop Donald Sterling Corporation’s ugly full page ads in the LA Times.

So far the campaign has been an enormous success. Like-minded people from around Los Angeles have been finding comfort in knowing that they are not alone in their suffering. Bunches of LA blogs have taken up the cause, including LosAnjealous, Blogging LA, Franklin Avenue and LA Observed .

As a result, new details are coming to light. According to our sources — random people posting comments here and elsewhere– Donald Sterling Corp does not pay for their millions worth of ads in the Los Angeles Times. They got them through a trade for advertising at Clippers basketball games. This explains a lot. The Times has no power to control the quality of the ads and DTS Corp just doesn’t value the ads. We propose that the Times make their banners at Clippers games into eysores to pressure DTS to fix their ugly ads.

In other news, last weekend we were startled to see a new DTS ad layout in the Sunday paper. It almost looked like they were trying a little harder. The ad had a nice dark blue color in the background with a subtle gradient. There were even margins and the design elements appeared to be lined up intentionally. The new gold 3-D logo thing was pretty gaudy, but at least it looked like they were trying. Still, any hope that we were making progress was destroyed when the next page revealed an ad in the old style, rendered even more sloppily than ever.

Oh well. We’ll struggle on. I’m sure someone at Donald T. Sterling Corporation has taken notice of our campaign here. Hopefully even more pressure is mounting because, since they don’t seem to have their own website, people looking to do business with them find us. I’m betting right now they are already working on an ugly-ass website. At least with a website we won’t need a campaign, people have a choice whether to visit it or not….

March 8th, 2007

Blogging LA Joins the Ugly Ad Campaign

Blogging LA has joined our campaign and has come out against Donald Sterling Corp’s ugly ads in the Los Angeles Times. Our struggle is gaining momentum and, at this rate, the ads are bound to get, perhaps, a little less ugly by some time next year. Right on!

February 14th, 2007

Design Disease Pointer

Here is an absolutely brilliant web post on the disease of design. I have to say this guy’s got it bad. Graphic Design is not a flighty artsy field as some frequently think. It requires severe attention to detail and attracts some pretty focused people. Math, consistency, the ability to deliver files to a printer that are flawless. Plus an interest in, of all things, type. I have to say that I do not fall on the completely compulsive side of the spectrum. But I absolutely identify…. it is this obsession that compelled me to start the Donald T. Sterling’s ugly ads campaign.

Perhaps this will help friends and family of designers understand: The Disease of Design

January 29th, 2007

Santa Monica Crows in the News

Just these week I posted a little article about the Crows here in Santa Monica. I had been curious about these amazing flocks of birds. Well, as I had suspected, some people are getting riled by them.

Santa Monica Mirror whining about crows

What do they want animal control to do, round up the crows in big nets? Poison them? Knowing Santa Monica liberals, by next week we’ll have a bird birth control program in place that costs enough to provide health insurance to all of the domestic help in Los Angeles. And the real reason this is happening? Our hedges are now so tall the crows are nesting in them.

Honestly, it is not that bad. Enjoy the fact that we have a little bit of nature here in the City. Or cut down your trees and replace them with native scrub.

January 26th, 2007

losanjealous.com takes up the cause!

Our fight to remove the ugly Donald T. Sterling ads from the LA Times has taken a giant leap forward as losanjealous.com has taken up the cause! Check it. Congratulations to everyone for your hard work! Onward!

UPDATE: Franklin Avenue is also on board! Someone else who really gets it. Right on. Si se puede!

January 24th, 2007

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