Showing posts with label CENTURY CITY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CENTURY CITY. Show all posts

Friday, November 21, 2014

Citizen of the Year

(This article originally appeared in the May 13th, 2013 edition of the Century City News)

by Michael Douglas Carlin
A year and a half I have sat next to Carl Schlossberg who has recently been named Citizen of the Year by the Century City Chamber of Commerce. I have sat next to him at the Art Council and the Sculpture Committee meetings and I have been his student. I have listened to his eloquent talks about the importance of art. I have learned to appreciate so much more the expressions of artists that enrich our lives. I was there that very first day when he presented his vision for the very first curated public art show along Avenue of the Stars. He bridged the gap for all of us newbies to public art by showing us how it would look. He spoon fed us until his vision became our vision. He spoon fed the building managers, city officials, board of the Chamber, sponsors, landscaping experts, building inspectors, and publicity people. We all had the experience of a lifetime as we walked the project through from inception to fruition. We all learned from his skilled hand and benefitted from knowledge he spent his lifetime acquiring.

We grew from the experience. We were all touched by his passion for the arts. We all borrowed his tremendous stature in the world of art and it is time to recognize the heft he has brought to Century City to match the heft that is all around us within this “one of a kind” community.

The previous Citizens of the Year have all been worthy recipients but honoring Carl Schlossberg has a special sweetness as he has giving us the gift of art to appreciate in Century City.


The Century City Chamber of Commerce announced its Citizen of the Year honorees for 2013: Carl Schlosberg, Fine Arts Dealer and Curator, and Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P, a litigation-focused law firm that has gained national recognition for its pro bono representations. An awards luncheon will take place at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on Thursday, May 23, 2013. For more than 30 years, the Century City Chamber of Commerce has selected an individual and company who exemplify excellence in corporate and community relations to bestow its highest civic recognition award, Citizen of the Year. Keynote Speaker, Dan Schnur, Director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, will address the audience at this annual event that attracts more than 200 civic leaders and business professionals from the greater Los Angeles area. As an expert in political strategy, campaign communication and government reform, Dan will share insight on the race results for Los Angeles’ Mayor, City Controller and City Attorney, which are held two days prior to the awards luncheon.

Carl Schlosberg, the 2013 Individual Citizen of the Year, has been a fine arts dealer for more than 40 years. He has exhibited sculpture in the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills to the fields and parks of Malibu. Carl’s most recent project was as curator of the one-mile outdoor exhibition, “Gwynn Murrill on Avenue of the Stars.”

Carl has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles magazine, Daily News and other notable publications. Carl has been Chairman of the Sculpture Garden Committee of the University of Judaism; has led private tours of major sculpture gardens in the Northeast; and is a founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and the Skirball Cultural Center. He currently chairs the Sculpture Committee of the Century City Chamber of Commerce Arts Council.

The 2013 Corporate Citizen of the Year, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P., is a litigation firm with clients from Fortune 500 corporations and emerging markets to entrepreneurs and individuals as both plaintiffs and defendants. The firm, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary and has more than 240 lawyers located in Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York and Naples, FL, has long been recognized for its pro bono work.

Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. has received The National Law Journal’s 2011 Pro Bono Award and was selected as a Pro Bono Firm of 2010 by Law360. The American Lawyer ranked the firm eighth in the country in the 2011 Pro Bono Survey, and twice named the firm to the A-List (2007 and 2004). The firm has also regularly received a top ranking for litigation from Chambers USA and was chosen as a “Go-To Law Firm” by Corporate Counsel. Its Century City office is comprised of approximately 40 attorneys and is the recipient of the Citizen of the Year award.

“We are thrilled to name Carl Schlosberg and Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi as our Individual and Corporate Citizens of the Year,” says Susan Bursk, President and CEO of the Century City Chamber of Commerce. “They are dedicated to serving the needs of those in the local community and beyond, making them very deserving of the award.”

Sponsors include Century Park, Watt Plaza, Fox Studios, Williams Data Management, Westfield, The Plaza, Constellation Place, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, L.L.P., and Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. The 2013 Citizen of the Year Awards Luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. To reserve your seat or company table, please visit the Chamber’s website at: or call the office at 310-553-2222.

The Century City Chamber of Commerce is a vibrant and dynamic organization, and one of Los Angeles’ most active, involved and relationship-driven chambers. The Chamber places special emphasis on its members working together through its councils to build better relationships and create effective programs and events that help businesses expand their reach into the marketplace. For more information on the Chamber, visit our website or contact our office.

Jeff Garrison is Fiscally Green®

(This article originally appeared in the August 25th, 2009 in the Century City News)

Stonefield Josephson’s President Promotes His Firm as:
“Accountants for Your Green World”

Is accountant and Stonefield Josephson President Jeff Garrison more plugged in to his solar panel than his calculator? Does he prefer a carbon footprint analysis to an audit analysis? Is Garrison, in fact, the green accountant ambassador? While the White House appointment has yet to materialize, it is clear that Garrison’s interest and activities in eco-friendly arenas beyond spreadsheets is altering the geeky, numbers-obsessed image of the accountant, while doing something good for the environment.

“I’ve never worn a pocket protector,” he says. Instead, Garrison, who has led the Los Angeles-based full-service accounting firm Stonefield Josephson since 2002, prefers to spend quality time with his kids and run on the beach with his dog. You can see him doing so in an advertising campaign to show the firm’s personality. “Accountants aren’t dorks,” says Garrison.

To prove it, the company maintains a “Back Porch” section on its website ( to showcase the private passions of its CPAs, which range from art collecting to surfing to cooking. On the site, CPAs offer recipes for paella, chicken tarragon, and other favorite dishes, and Garrison himself suggests wine pairings. Exposing the firm’s soft side helped it reach its annual revenue, says Garrison, as well as attract clients from successful rock acts and the hippest clothing venues to numerous “green” companies.

“Green business has moved rapidly from the periphery to the mainstream,” Garrison states. “It now holds promise for businesses of every size in every sector. There is, in fact, a growing trend in which more and more people are deciding whether or not they use a company based on its environmental orientation. I believe that if companies don’t alter their habits to fit in with the changing viewpoint of the population, they will soon be left behind by their quicker, smarter rivals. Being more environmentally friendly makes great business sense in many ways.”

Stonefield Josephson takes its commitment to the preservation and restoration of the planet seriously. Its sustainability practice, termed Fiscally Green®, and under Garrison’s leadership, is working to implement sustainability techniques and promote environmental responsibility within both home and office. It is introducing eco-friendly business practices and developing strong business alliances with like-minded companies that share the firm’s passion for protecting the environment and promoting responsible ecological practices that benefit the commercial sector and the community at large.

By reducing waste, developing energy conservation efforts and facilitating community outreach programs, Stonefield Josephson is committing to sustainability as a path to creating business value. Employee engagement in sustainability is an essential component of Stonefield Josephson’s green initiative – one that creates an energized and passionate team environment. “Encouraging our employees to reduce their carbon footprint, and guiding them in how to do so, is just one of the ways we’re making that happen,” notes Garrison. “Stonefield Josephson is proud to be one of the first accounting firms to embrace sustainable practices and become responsible stewards of the environment.”

“Green is a path for creating significant, durable business value,” states Garrison. “Green represents a way of seeing our business and the challenges it faces through a new lens that can bring exciting new opportunities for us into focus. Green business offers opportunities to put money back in the pockets of owners, shareholders and employees by cutting wasteful spending on excessive resource use. We are sold on green’s triple bottom line (TBL) of economic, environmental and social benefit – not just for our clients, but also for ourselves.”

While Garrison is all for the warm, fuzzy aspects of the sustainability movement, his level of expertise runs deeper and continues to deepen and evolve over time. He explains, “Fiscally Green® is dealing regularly with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, with emphasis on: Title IV: Energy and Water Development, IRS codes, and U.S. Treasury grants. If all these green opportunities don’t create a warm, green feeling in business owners’ hearts, they will most certainly create a warm, green feeling in their wallets.”

Garrison concludes, “Embracing a greener lifestyle isn’t just about helping to preserve equatorial rain forests, it can also mean improving your health, padding your bank account, and, ultimately, improving your overall quality of life. Bottom line for our firm -- green business is smart business. Going green provides cost savings as well as a competitive advantage in the marketplace.”

For more information or questions about Fiscally Green® or Stonefield Josephson, please contact Jeff Garrison, President, at 310.432.7456 or
Stonefield Josephson, Inc.
2049 Century Park East
Suite 400
Los Angeles, CA 90067

The Century is America’s Version of The David

(This article originally appeared in the October 19, 2010 edition of the Century City News)

By Michael Douglas Carlin
It was a banking crisis at a time when art had reached new heights. A new priest, Savoronola, has arrived in Florence. He preaches that notes of protestation should be placed upon any art that is offensive. His sermons rise in popularity as the banks of Lorenzo Medici (known as Lorenzo the Magnificent) are failing around the world. Lorenzo’s financial upheaval causes his physical health to wan. Soon he is on his deathbed and he sends for Savoronala for a final confession.
Emboldened by the death of Lorenzo, Savoronola preaches that the art with the notes is to be destroyed. The Bonfire of the Vanities ensues. Paintings, books, cosmetics, statues and other representations of the times were piled high and burned with militant youths cheering at the urging of Guilermo Savaronola. Much of the wealth of Renaissance Florence is destroyed before Savaronla, himself, is burned at the stake for heresy. In the aftermath Florence lay in ruins.
A young artist carves away at a thirteen foot block of marble that other sculptors have rejected as flawed. We can all imagine the number of people that advised against this. He completes his statue a short time after the bonfires have consumed some of the most valuable art ever created. The process of moving the heavy statue takes many hours…lingering into the late night. Vandals come and attempt to destroy the statue by throwing rocks while it is being moved. The young artist fears that this statue and three years of hard work will be immediately destroyed.
Once the statue of David (who in bible times had battled the giant Goliath) reaches its final resting place, Michelangelo is so fatigued that he heads home and collapses sleeping until late afternoon the next day. When Michelangelo arrives in the town square his heart, already distraught over the attempted vandalism, sinks from the thousands of notes attached to the statue. He assumes that these notes are of protestation like the ones Savoronola incited. When he arrives at the statue he begins reading. To his astonishment they are notes of praise. They are thanking him for redeeming Florence. The David inspired hope for a brighter future. The David symbolized independence, and triumph over a giant by a small boy. The David was the greatest work of art ever achieved.
Now, five hundred years later, we have a similar banking crisis that has left much of the American economy in ruins. In the midst of this upheaval an entrepreneur, Stephen Ross, has been busy carving a statue in Century City. In this era of trillions of dollars, a single piece of property has elevated bedrock to a new height.
I have been writing about the impossible situation that The Century occupies: luxury condominiums at a time when real estate is sketchy. I have been saying that you should delay your purchase because you might get a better deal later. That was before architect, Phoebe Yee, gave me a tour of the property. What I expected to find was a builder that cut corners at a time when money supplies tightened and credit was frozen. I expected a building. What I discovered is a work of art. No expense was spared in creating the ultimate living experience.
I have been in every building in Century City. I have been on the roofs of several. There is a feel when you get up on the higher floors. Many of the buildings in Century City feel vibrations and swaying. The Century has a much different feel. It is as if somehow the architect and builder were able to rise up the bedrock to the top floors. It literally feels as if it is a statue carved out of solid marble.
Every detail has been anticipated to create the ultimate living experience. Balconies to entertain, separate entrances for services, layers of security built in, landscaping to provide an oasis feel in the midst of busy Century City, downstairs rooms for dinner parties, downstairs offices and maids quarters, guest suites for visitors, as well as all of the amenities you would expect like exercise facilities, valet parking, twenty-four hour security, and a dog park.
If there was an offering for a share of the statue of David there would, no doubt, be a flurry of bidding for this one of a kind work of art. I believe that The Century is so uniquely situated that there will never be a duplicate or an equal. The Westfield project on the corner of Avenue of the Stars, The JMB property on the corner of Constellation and Avenue of the Stars, the Century Plaza Hotel property, and the property at 10000 Santa Monica Boulevard will all be successful projects but the limited supply of units in The Century will always be thought of as a work of art.
Like all fine art, there is a limited supply. When I look at The Century now, I don’t see a building I see the statue of David that has classed up the Century City skyline. The David stands there and taunts the other developers that are working on their projects to “one up” it. The nature of development, that is usually handled by awarding contracts to the low cost bidder, will always keep this work of art above the others as clearly this was built in a manner where every element was seen as an opportunity to ascend at a time when conventional wisdom saw this as folly. Now this decadence and opulence taken to new heights serves to elevate humankind into a type of living that may never again be attained.
The big question has always been, if Candy Spelling is moving in and when. Now that I have experienced The Century, I no longer ask that question. I am confident that with all of the billionaires vying for a safe place to command their fortunes that The Century provides an unprecedented opportunity and very soon you might be wishing you had not waited to make your move.
When you look at the Century City skyline from now on, I would bet that you would see a daring gamble that was just like Michelangelo’s gamble five hundred years ago. Each of them took about three years to construct and each of them seemed foolish, given the times, but each of them are an inspiration to remind us that creativity attains new heights in some of the most challenging of times.

Stephen Ross, I was one who formerly threw rocks at the unveiled new statue in Century City, now I congratulate you on your vision in creating a tremendous work of art that I may never live in but I will always appreciate as a one of a kind legacy that will outlive us all.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Eco-Warrior Leads Assault On Climate Change

(This article appeared in the January 24th, 2012 edition of the Century City News)

By Michael Douglas Carlin

Ask David Nahai about the state of affairs in America and he thunders back, “Congress needs to get its act together.” He is referring to the gridlock that paralyzes our political system and he is referring to the uncertainty of Congress ignoring important issues that need solutions now. David Nahai is the foremost authority on the two problems that are facing humanity and he hails from Century City. Where humanity will get energy and water are daunting challenges that face us for our future. David is optimistic that solutions are available but we need to make many changes in how we live. “There is a tremendous interplay between water and energy, 20% of California’s energy is spent to pump water from one place to another.” Clearly the cheapest and cleanest energy unit comes from the energy unit that isn’t used. Changing how we get our water could provide us with significant savings on the energy frontier. David is an expert in the field of water and energy and he talks fluidly about both sides of the equation – production and consumption. Clearly he knows how to preserve every drop of our precious resources… but he also has a vision for how humanity will conquer the daunting challenges that face us.

He encourages small businesses and individuals to make changes now that are voluntary warning that down the road those changes may become obligatory. David proudly wears the monikers of environmentalist and entrepreneur. He tells everyone that going green is a double entendre – meaning that you reduce humanity’s carbon footprint while at the same time making money. The green rush in California is fueling our economy. The green rush is our future.

He speaks candidly about DWP’s challenges that lay ahead. Coal will soon be eliminated as an energy source and DWP is working hard to transition to cleaner sources of energy. David refers to the DWP website for a wealth of information about rebates and incentives for going green. This information is a great resource to make more money or to shave the costs of any household or business. He is quick to point out the green initiatives at Watt Plaza where he offices. Watt has been one of the early adopters of green technology to conserve water, recycle, and reduce their carbon footprint.

With Los Angeles being the tipping point of the world on the green frontier, we in Century City might just be the tipping point of the tipping point. David is available as a lawyer and consultant. He speaks regularly at green conferences worldwide. For more information about David go to


H. David Nahai has an extensive record of success in both the private and public sectors, as a lawyer, CEO, government official, environmentalist, business owner and community leader.

Nahai is a partner in the law firm of Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith and is a co-chair of the Firm’s national energy, environmental, water, and real estate practice. Nahai is also the President of David Nahai Consulting Services, LLC and is Senior Advisor to the Clinton Climate Initiative.

David Nahai Consulting Services advises and assists public and private entities involved in the environmental sector, with particular emphasis on renewable energy, energy efficiency, water conservation and wastewater treatment and recycling projects.

The Clinton Climate Initiative is a division of the Clinton Foundation. The mission of the Clinton Climate Initiative is to bring about the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale through specific project partnerships with governments around the world.

Until October, 2009, Nahai served as the Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the largest municipal utility in the United States. In this capacity, Nahai oversaw more than 9,000 employees and an annual budget of more than $4.5 billion. Nahai resigned as CEO in October, 2009, but served as consultant to LADWP until December 2009.

Nahai was nominated as LADWP’s CEO by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and confirmed by the City Council in 2007. He served for two years on the LADWP Board of Commissioners prior to becoming CEO. He was appointed to the Board in 2005 and became Board President in 2006.
Nahai led an overall transformation of the LADWP that included the unprecedented expansion of the utility’s renewable energy portfolio; the origination and execution of the City’s groundbreaking Water Supply Plan; the attainment of historic reductions in water consumption in the City; the realization of record breaking energy efficiency levels; and the launch and implementation of water and power infrastructure improvement programs. Under his leadership, the LADWP increased its renewable energy portfolio from 3 percent in 2005 to around 15 percent by the end of 2009, and achieved the completion of Pine Tree, the nation’s largest municipally owned wind farm, and the Lower Owens River Project, viewed as the most extensive river restoration program in the United States. Additionally, Nahai oversaw the creation of the Los Angeles Solar Plan, the most ambitious solar program of any municipal utility in the U.S. Under Nahai’s leadership, LADWP garnered numerous environmental awards, including the 2008 Climate Change Leadership Award from Green California and the 2009 Los Angeles Heritage Award from Project Restore.
In addition to his expertise in the energy field, Nahai is widely recognized as a leading expert on water issues. He served for over 10 years on California’s Regional Water Quality Control Board, which safeguards the quality of surface, ground, and coastal waters in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, an area with over 11 million residents.

At the Water Quality Board, Nahai served under three different Governors. He was first appointed by Governor Pete Wilson, and re-appointed by both Governor Gray Davis and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Nahai was elected to an unprecedented four terms as Chairman of the Board in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2006.

Nahai is credited with reinvigorating the effectiveness of the Water Board and spearheading some of its most aggressive programs, especially in the area of coastal protection. During Nahai’s tenure, the Board was awarded the Environmental Leadership Award by Keep California Beautiful, in appreciation of the Board’s pioneering work in the area of urban run-off pollution. The Water Board’s prestigious annual awards have been named the “H. David Nahai Water Quality Awards” in recognition of his service. He resigned from the Board in 2007, upon accepting the CEO position at LADWP.

Nahai began his career in the private sector as an attorney three decades ago, working at some of the United States’ largest and most respected law firms. He started at Loeb & Loeb and was a partner at Memel, Jacobs, Pierno, Gersh & Ellsworth, at Finley, Kumble et al and at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. In 1992, Nahai formed Nahai Law Corporation, specializing in real estate, corporate, environmental and commercial law. He divested his interest in the firm in 2007.

As a transactional real estate and environmental lawyer for 30 years, Nahai has represented clients and performed transactions at the highest levels, working on complex matters and supervising teams of attorneys. Nahai is an AV rated lawyer.

Nahai has been the recipient of numerous awards and commendations. In 2003, he received the Environmental Champion Award from the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters. In 2008, he was honored as an environmental leader by Heal the Bay. He has been twice honored for community leadership.

Nahai sits on the Boards of the California League of Conservation Voters and Heal the Bay, and has served on the Boards of numerous charities, including the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, the Iranian American Jewish Federation, and the Jewish Community Foundation.

Nahai holds graduate and post-graduate degrees in law from the London School of Economics and the University of California at Berkeley, and was a Visiting Scholar at Berkeley.

Nahai is a frequent speaker and radio and television guest regarding environmental, climate change, water, and energy issues.

Monday, October 13, 2014


by Michael Douglas Carlin
recently visited the Philippines. Our very good friend, Sir Edward, had had a stroke, and I wasn’t getting the information I needed, so I boarded a plane. His eyes lit up when I walked into the room. He struggled to speak. It was clear that something had happened to silence this once fierce warrior of peace. The silence didn’t last long. He struggled to get out a few words; "I had a stroke." I got to meet Klea and see her love of Ed. She has been there by his side for a number of years. I have spoken to her on numerous occasions, but now I finally got to meet this amazing champion of peace. Klea had traveled to Myanmar, Basilan Island, Jolo, Zamboanga, and many other dangerous places with Ed to take relief to those less fortunate, who found themselves in a precarious situation through no fault of their own.

Just prior to Ed's stroke, I had mounted my own mission into the danger zone of Border Mexico. Ed followed my path with great interest. He sent me text messages of concern for my safety. I texted him prior to traveling in and let him know immediately when I returned to safety. Ed taught me how to mitigate the risk, and I heeded his advice.

We never grow tired of the streams of tears when our relief hits the mark. On my trip, a doctor and nurse accepted four duffle bags of medical supplies that had the power to save lives. When they realized that these supplies were a gift from America and that we wanted nothing in return, they welled up. As they helped carry the supplies into the clinic, they could not hold back the tears. When I reported back to Ed, he seemed very pleased that one of his protégés had grown up and begun to comprehend his message.
I am one of thousands of people whom Ed has taught to do good deeds. Over the years and in my many travels with Ed, I have met hundreds of them. It always surprises me how many more there are whom I have never met. Even Ed cannot comprehend the impact that his life has had upon the world. Many of the paths that Ed has traveled were one-time trips. Other people have picked up where Ed left off and continue helping people to recover from war, famine, tsunami, earthquake, fires, floods or typhoons. Ed’s influence lingers, and he teaches so many to open up their hearts and to give.

We sat at the dining room table for hours that day. Ed was able to begin speaking almost normally. Something happened that day as we began telling Klea stories that we had experienced together. I started many of the stories, and Ed began speaking to finish them. We had lunch at the Hard Rock Café in Makati. He greeted new friends and old with that classic "Ed smile." By the time lunch was over, I could tell that Ed was exhausted. We had been together for five hours, and my presence had made him work to remember—to speak. The brain is an amazing and intricate structure. I witnessed synapses reconnecting right before my eyes.

We agreed to break for a few hours to give Ed a chance to rest. I returned at 7 pm for our trip out to dinner. Ed and Klea climbed into the cab, and we visited "Howzat," a local hangout for foreigners. When waitresses spoke to him, Ed struggled with his speech. When we talked to him, he was able to speak with only minor problems. Some of the jumbled words were quite funny, and both Klea and I were swept away with the mixed emotions. "Do we laugh or would that be cruel? We couldn’t help ourselves, and Ed began to laugh too."

During that dinner, I saw moments of total clarity, during which it seemed to me that Ed was one hundred percent back only to disappear back into the fog. From this, I gained hope that Ed would make a total recovery if he worked hard. Those of us who know him understand that Ed can’t do it any other way. When we parted that night, I knew that Ed needed rest. I agreed to give him the weekend.

Early Saturday morning, I headed down to Cagayan de Oro to meet Elmer and Cora Sayre. Ed and Elmer founded the Buffalo Bank there many years ago. What began with an investment in the first twenty water buffalo has grown into a full-fledged microfinance operation that now serves over 3,000 farmers with water buffalo, goats, chickens, pigs, ducks and sanitation. Elmer showed me his operation, which includes meeting spaces, manufacturing of toilets, cottages, crop development, and livestock management. A team of loan officers deals with farmers to evaluate their needs and to structure a borrowing and repayment program for them.

What I came to understand from my visit is that, if Elmer and his team were simply to hand out water buffalo, the water buffalo would be eaten. Attaching importance to them as a tool for the farmer helps to educate the farmer in methods that increase productivity. Farmers are grateful for the opportunity to improve their quality of life. When Elmer talked about criteria for granting microloans, he sounded just like the many bankers I know in Century City. "We look at their character and their capacity to pay back the loan. We shy away from those who are known to have gambling problems." Gambling problems? That was the last thing I expected to hear in this remote region, but cock fighting is one of the pastimes in the Southern Philippines.

The next day, we went to the remote regions, a four-hour drive from headquarters. In the mountainous region, I saw breathtaking views. Farmers were growing their crops on the sides of mountains. I got to see the impact of the water buffalo first hand. A farmer even offered to let me ride his water buffalo, and I couldn’t resist. That was a thrill I will never forget. I also will never forget tasting food for the first time. Every meal on this trip was one hundred percent organic. I ate coconut that was picked fresh from the tree, and I drank delicious coconut milk. Pineapple, papaya, watermelon, fresh vegetables, fish and free-range chicken were also at every meal. No chemicals are used in the farms supported by the Buffalo Bank, and all of the people I met seemed so healthy. All of this began with a single investment by Ed in the first twenty water buffalo.

I again turned my attention to Ed and Manila. We spent the week together pouring over paperwork, talking about pending missions and getting caught up on what needs to happen to continue Ed’s work. What amazes me is that Ed, who clearly suffered a stroke, has no concern for his own health and wants to communicate only to insure that the children to whom he promised surgeries get treated. In a private moment, Ed insisted that I travel to an orphanage and make a donation in his name. Many times I heard Ed insist that he would wage peace until his dying day, but his appeal in that private moment for children who have lost their parents solidified his commitment to continue this work until his dying breath. Happily, I made the trip to the orphanage and complied with his wishes.

The smiles on the faces of those children reminded me of the smile that Ed wears. Those smiles light up the dark spaces on the earth. The little child in Ed wants all of the other children to smile too. We have all seen him rise up to protect the less fortunate as their guardian and protector. We have seen him brave border crossings to bring in life saving relief. We have learned to give at his hands. We have watched him thunder away, threatening warlords. But, Ed is so much happier when the children are smiling.

The work continues…


Where do you turn when you need a mechanic? Turn to Century City Car Care. They are currently celebrating their thirty fifth anniversary in Century City. Located at 1800 Avenue of the Stars they have become a part of the fabric of Century City by handling the car care needs of workers, managers and owners from all over the Westside but in particular Century City.

Did you know that you can even get your engine rebuilt in Century City? When Wilton Beckett set up the plan for Century City it was to be a self contained city where you could get all the services you needed without leaving the city. 35 years ago, Century City Car Care was established and it has been under the present management, Yuval Palmon, for the past 16 years. Century City Car Care is a place where you can get your windshield wiper blades changed all the way to getting your engine rebuilt by ASE Certified Mechanics.

Think about the possibilities. You can drop off your car while you are working to get the oil changed. You don’t need an appointment, or a shuttle and you won’t be late for work. If you are having trouble with your car and it requires more time than a day then Century City Car Care will rent you a car from Hertz inside the Century Plaza Hotel. The cost of the rental car is covered.

Century City Car Care only uses original parts and they stand behind their work, just like a dealer with a 12 month/12,000 mile warranty. There are no limitations on what they can do – from regular interval service to brakes, tires, transmissions, clutch, air conditioning, body work, lube and oil changes. Their entire business model is based upon repeat business because they are so embedded in the community. You don’t have to look far for satisfied customers. Yuval has known most of his customers for years. If you don’t know Yuval you should give him a call and get to know him. Your car will thank you.

Give him a call and wish him a happy anniversary: (310) 552-2180.

Michael Douglas Carlin is the director of the movies Luvicide and American Federale. Recently he completed a ten-year stint as the Publisher and Editor of the Century City News. Here his articles turned into three books: Rise a Knight, A Prescription for Peace, and Peaceful Protests.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


      Ridley Scott’s movie Kingdom of Heaven captured the spirit of Knights. We see armies headed to lay siege on Jerusalem, and the fortifications are being made to the best of the abilities of the people who are living there. Something happens when the priest complains that there are no Knights, and, therefore, the city is deemed defenseless. Balian asks a young man about his condition. The young man is a servant. Balian commands this young man and all men capable of bearing arms to kneel and take the oath of Knighthood. This young man kneels a servant. All of the others are ordinary men. They kneel as Balian commanded. When they rise, there is something different about them. They are Knights. They are able to transform this newfound power into a razor-sharp repelling force that inflicts losses on the attackers that brings them to the table to negotiate safe passage to friendly lands. Where there was previously no hope, the bestowal of Knighthood invoked forces beyond comprehension.
Something happens when men and women take the oath of Knighthood.The oath in Kingdom of Heaven was simple: Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth always even if it leads to your death. Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong. This is your oath. Rise a Knight.


In 1996, I participated in a mission to Nicaragua that forever changed my life. I remember the moment that the change occurred. I handed antibiotics to a woman that likely saved the lives of her children. There was that silent communication between us, as we spoke different languages. That look of gratitude will forever be seared in my brain. Sir Edward calls this rendering, "hand to hand, eye to eye, and heart to heart." What also gives it power is that we never expect anything in return.

Less than a year later, I experienced another life changing moment. I was asked to kneel an ordinary man and to take the oath of Knighthood. When I rose a Knight, my life changed forever. Since that day, I have participated in relief missions throughout the world. For many of those missions, I simply packaged and shipped relief items, raised money, or handled logistics. But, on several of those missions, I traveled to deliver the relief personally, "hand to hand, eye to eye, and heart to heart." When I became a Knight, I made an oath to live my life as a Knight.


The following oath was translated from Medieval Latin and is found on the tomb of a Knight of Malta in northwestern France. It dates from 1560 A.D.

"I do solemnly swear by Almighty God and His Name, and in free and voluntary desire, to serve as a Knight of Malta of the most holy Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. I do swear by the Eternal Power of the Trinity, to be both a true and chivalric Knight, to obey my Commanders and to aid my brethren. I also swear by all that is holy and dear unto me, to aid those less fortunate than I, to relieve the distress of the world and to fulfill my knightly obligations. This oath do I give of my own free and independent will, so help me God! Amen!"

These words come down to us from an ancient knightly order, in which knights were instructed in their duties.


Be loyal of hands and mouth and serve every man as best you may. Seek the fellowship of good men; hearken to their words and remember them. Be humble and courteous wherever thou go, boasting not nor talking overmuch, neither be dumb altogether. Look to it that no lady or damsel be in reproach through your default, nor any woman of whatsoever quality. And, if you fall into company where men speak with disrespect of any woman, show by gracious words that it pleaseth you not, and depart.

The office of knight is to promote faith in Jesus Christ as Lord of Lords, King of Kings and the only Savior and to protect those who seek to worship in His name anywhere upon the face of this earth that He has made.

THE OATH OF A KNIGHT (Also known as A Knight’s Prayer)

Almighty God, Eternal Father, Lord of Lords, have mercy upon me, a humble knight in Thy Divine Service. O Lord, I pray for Thy indulgence and blessings.

Forget not Thine servant in his trials, nor his Order of Knighthood. I pray that Thy Will be done in all things, both great and small. Let me always be worthy of Thee, let me not forget Thee in good times or bad.

Armor me with the armor of Thy Righteousness, give me the sword of Truth that I shall confound Thine enemies and be unto Thee a true knight.

O Lord, in my hour of need, be with me. Let me never forget my sacred and holy vows unto Thee, that I should not be prey unto demons and devils nor the dark things of this world.

Let me always be a beacon unto those in distress, never allow me to forget my obligation unto the homeless nor the poor: let me serve Thee and Thine Eternal Throne all the days of my life. Let me always remember the obligations that I have taken upon me.

Lord, if it is Thy Will, let me serve Thee forever!

If ever, oh Lord, I turn from Thee in this Order, let my name forever be cursed, may my spurs be broken and my body given unto demons to dwell with them forever in that Lake of Fire which Thou hast prepared for the ungodly.
Power beyond Power, Pillar of Strength, Refuge of the Homeless, let me serve
Thee for all the days of my life! Amen.

These words were part of an oral history of the Crusades compiled in 1200 A.D. and were spoken by a Knight Hospitaller moments before a battle against Moslem forces.


This is the oath of a Knight of King Arthur’s Round Table and should be for all of us to take to heart.
I will develop my life for the greater good. I will place character above riches, and concern for others above personal wealth, I will never boast, but cherish humility instead, I will speak the truth at all times, and forever keep my word, I will defend those who cannot defend themselves, I will honor and respect women, and refute sexism in all its guises, I will uphold justice by being fair to all, I will be faithful in love and loyal in friendship, I will abhor scandals and gossip—neither partake nor delight in them, I will be generous to the poor and to those who need help, I will forgive when asked, that my own mistakes will be forgiven, I will live my life with courtesy and honor from this day forward.

© 2013 Michael Douglas Carlin. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, September 22, 2014


(This article originally appeared on August 10, 2010 in the Century City News)

by Michael Douglas Carlin

There is an arrogance in a bank that gets $25 billion dollars in TARP Funds and then spends $138 million to purchase two corporate jets and a hanger to house them. That arrogance starts at the top and can flow straight down to the branch manager. In fact, an incident inside the CHASE branch in Century City had a customer escorted out of the bank because he asked for change. The police were not called, no pepper spray was used and no arrests were made. But CHASE said to Sam Sharif, owner of Ummba Grill, we don’t want you here if you are going to be so demanding by asking our branch to keep a stock of five dollar bills around. The branch in the Palisades wants Sharif’s business and the business banker there has had a suitable relationship with Sharif for over six years going back to her time at Citi. Sam from Ummba isn’t the sort of man you would expect to be a trouble maker… in fact, Sam is one of the happiest people in Century City and Ummba has HAPPY HOUR all day on Monday and Tuesday and from 11-7 on Wednesday through Sunday. They offer half off all beers, well drinks and house wines and five dollar appetizers, five dollar specialty drinks, six dollar martinis, and twenty dollar specialty pitchers. Sam was so upset at being escorted out of the bank by security that he began a drink special at Ummba. For every customer that closes an account at CHASE he is offering a free blue shot with a “CHASEer”.

My blood boiled when we bailed out the banks and foreclosed on the little guy. Now that I have talked to the folks at CHASE in the media relations department who stood by the decision to throw Sam out of the bank it is bringing back the anger of the bail out. They are too big to fail. They no longer have to compete so having change for merchants isn’t a concern for CHASE anymore. They can’t lose. They don’t have to write loans. They don’t have to give customer service. Billions of dollars were given to them that they didn’t work for and that has led to this arrogance. I asked the Media Relations guy why they didn’t approach this straight up with Sam and call him up and ask him to take his money to another bank. He said, “We don’t want him to move his money. We just wanted him out of the bank.” That pretty much sums it up. They want our money but they no longer want us around. They no longer want to offer us the products we need. A merchant needs change and I wouldn’t blame Sam for being upset that his bank not only didn’t provide a tool he needed to run his business they refused to provide it and were incensed when he asked for it. The bank is appropriately named CHASE because they CHASE their customers away. It is time that we all stand up and toast Sam who had the audacity to ask for five dollar bills so that he could make change in his restaurant. It is time that we all stood toe to toe with Sam and didn’t wait for CHASE to CHASE us away. It is time that we voted with our dollars and moved all of our money, NATIONWIDE, out of the hands of arrogance and into banks that treat customers with respect and dignity.

They can continue to be arrogant as long as we support that arrogant behavior. I asked the media relations department to call Sam and work something out with him to make him happy because of his mistreatment. I told them that I didn’t want to write this story and that maybe they should offer him change for his restaurant whenever he needs it, or free checking for a year. But in the end all that happened is the two great managers at the Palisades Branch reached out to Sam on a personal level and told him that they stood by him for his loyal patronage and that there was nothing they could do.

Ummba Grill is an icon within Century City and is located at the Century City Mall. Pictured on the front cover is an amazing staff. It is the hip and happening place every summer as they have the best patio in West Los Angeles. Their patio is booked for events nightly and their success has led to large balances that are going to be moving to another bank, pronto. Those large balances are also leading to a second location at the best mall in Los Angeles – Santa Monica Place. This is the American Dream - two men who made good on their investment and won the hearts and stomachs of a finicky crowd to not just please but to exceed every expectation of their customers. Ummba Grill is the best Brazilian Restaurant North of the Border and people come back time and time again. I have held hundreds of events at Ummba and always had the best service from the staff and incredible food. When Abraham McDonald won the Oprah Winfrey Contest his celebration party was at Ummba Grill.

The time has come to focus all of that TARP anger on a single bank. So let’s satisfy that anger by voting with our dollars and pulling every last one of them out of CHASE. Let’s see how arrogant they are when all of their customers have left. If we focus this anger on a single bank, CHASE, we can send a signal to other banks that we are not to be mistreated when we ask for something a bank should provide in our business or in our life. We can send a message that America is a place where you must compete and provide products we need and customer service or we will CHASE you out of our country – that you are not too big to fail. Sam has offered a free shot with a CHASEer, what will other companies offer those that pull funds out of CHASE? Get on board!!!!

Sam is inviting all of Century City to come get a free blue shot with a CHASEer on Wednesday night the 18th of August beginning at 5pm. Come and show your support of Sam as a man who demanded that his bank provide him with change. Come slam your shot and then CHASE it down in support of Sam. Then tweet and retweet this information to all of your friends and families in America so that we can make a statement that banks shouldn’t be incensed when we ask for something we need.