Tender Greens, Culver City – Tender is the Right

tender greens, culver city, los angeles, ca - angus filet steak salad plate

Tender Greens
9523 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

Occasionally I bribe a friend or family member to guestblog on The Delicious Life. Most of the time, they vehemently refuse to associate in order to protect their reputations, but every once in a while, an unsuspecting friend will agree to do it because I lied about what he or she gets in return. This post is written by Ryan Kim, an old friend of mine who isn’t getting that, uh, date with me after all. Sorry, Ry! Thanks for the post! Love you! Call me!

I’ve been thinking of the idea of “settling” lately.

It started before my friend sent me an article from Atlantic Monthly titled ever so subtly “Marry Him!” But it’s picked up steam as I near 35, an age that seemed so distant a little while ago but approaches with unrelenting speed these days.

The actual age doesn’t bother me so much. It’s the freight it carries — expectations that seem to grow heavier the longer you cart them around. I tell myself that I don’t abide by anyone else’s timetable, and yet I find my own is almost as unforgiving as the next. Why don’t I have this yet, why am I still doing that? Where’s the wife? The pitter-patter of little feet? All that good grown-up stuff that should be at least within shouting distance, but still seem just about as far away as they did back in junior high school?

With those mounting questions, the easy answer would be to settle. That’s what we really ought to do, argues Lori Gottlieb in Atlantic Monthly.

Holding out for more is a fool’s quest, she says. Just go with someone you trust and get along with and you’ll find that companionship outweighs this elusive feeling of passion and kismet. Having a teammate who has your back is more important than finding The One.

I’m reminded of this article as I think back on a recent visit to Tender Greens in Culver City.

tender greens, culver city, los angeles, ca - front sign

The place, a glorified salad shop, is hardly my idea of a perfect restaurant. We have something quite similar up here in the Bay Area called Pluto’s, which dishes up salads, grilled meats and sides. Not seeing much difference between the two initially, I was prepared to pass quick judgment on it.

tender greens, culver city, los angeles, ca - open kitchen

But in my newly enlightened, or perhaps age-addled, frame of mind, I began to see Tender Greens in a different light. It’s not about comparing it to other restaurants but simply appreciating it for what it brings to the table.

And when I started to back off my expectations, I found there was a lot to like about Tender Greens.

tender greens, culver city, los angeles, ca - angus filet plate with spinach salad and mashed potatoes

I had the Angus Flank Steak over a spinach salad with goat cheese. I got the mashed potatoes and I threw in a chicken soup with lemon thyme. The steak I expected would be a bit stubborn and chewy but this was some tender and tasty meat. The mashed potatoes melted in my mouth, a wondrous concoction that managed to be both rich and creamy and yet seemingly light as well. The rather naked soup was earthy and hearty, full of big exposed chicken chunks that begged for a stray noodle or two for cover. Even without some extra carbs, it was a nice comforting addition to my meal.

tender greens, culver city, los angeles, ca - chicken soup with lemon and thyme

Was it a transformative experience? Did it capture my senses? Was it a riot of the heart?!?!

Eh, not really.

But, I’m realizing more and more, that has been my downfall in the past.

For so long, I’ve looked for someone who could ignite conversations with me, make them combustible in a way that was exciting, unexpected and a little dangerous. I was looking for a person who was not only attractive but managed to be witty, intelligent, caring and aware in a way that made you lean in to the conversation, fearful you might miss something important. I thought I would be a good match for just such a soul, but in hindsight, maybe I was over-reaching. Maybe all I really need is the equivalent of Tender Greens.

Tender Greens won’t be winning any awards soon but it’s comforting and warm and it provides a dose of familiarity and goodness that can grow on you over time.

Maybe that’s what I need. Settling isn’t settling if you reconcile yourself to your newfound wants and needs. I’m not saying that I’m there yet in my personal life but Tender Greens makes me think that my personal future isn’t so bleak after all.

tender greens foods, culver city, ca - spring salad special

Tender-ness, Where (Else) is it?
~ Full five stars from 45 reviews on Citysearch
~ Overwhelming 224 ratings on Yelp average to 4 (out of 5) stars
~ MetroMix says Tender Greens makes an impossible oxymoron, “healthy and delicious,” possible
~ A chowhound calls it “excellent”
~ The Hungry Hippo: “d
efinitely refreshing” (Dec 2006)
~ la.foodblogging’s KT would “love to have one near work” for lunch (Nov 2006)
~ Mikey Hates Everything: “absolutely delicious” (Jul 2006)
~ Foodie Universe: “delivers”(Jul 2006)
~ Chance that Rate-a-Restaurant will go back? “decent possibility.” (Jul 2006)
~ Triplecreme apparently went more than once in one month (Jun 2006)

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  • Duh-wight

    Uhh, mmm, nurrrr…
    I’m confused, Sarah J. You’ve been dating a transsexual all this time?

  • sarah j. gim

    duh-wight: yes honey, i’m a transsexual schizophrenic narcissist :)

  • JJ

    To say that settling isn’t settling if you reconcile yourself to your newfound wants and needs is no different than a crackhead saying that this is gonna be the last time.

    “Rationalization may be defined as self-deception by reasoning.” — Karen Horney

    It’s ok to embrace who we are, and settling is something that most of us do, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

  • Cakebrain

    “Settling”? Why not think of it this way: this is why we have girlfriends/boyfriends.
    If one person were to meet your every need that would be fantastic! a kindred spirit. You would be the luckiest person in the world if you could find that person early on in life. However, not everyone can do that and I think it’s okay to live in the moment. This is also why we don’t eat in the same restaurant. Who would want to eat in the same restaurant all the time? It’s fantastic if you find such a perfect restaurant; but even if you do, you’d still want to try other restaurants. Carpe diem!
    love your pics.

  • Cakebrain

    “Settling”? Why not think of it this way: this is why we have girlfriends/boyfriends.
    If one person were to meet your every need that would be fantastic! a kindred spirit. You would be the luckiest person in the world if you could find that person early on in life. However, not everyone can do that and I think it’s okay to live in the moment. This is also why we don’t eat in the same restaurant. Who would want to eat in the same restaurant all the time? It’s fantastic if you find such a perfect restaurant; but even if you do, you’d still want to try other restaurants. Carpe diem!
    love your pics.

  • sarah j. gim

    jj: it’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it? people call it “settling” when it’s meant to be negative.

    cakebrain: but…wait, are you suggesting that “trying other restaurants” is okay? even when you’re married to the perfect restaurant?!?!

  • assa

    dear dear sarah,

    don’t even think about just “settling”. you know what they say when you start compromising your principles…it becomes a slippery slope to a banal, ‘married with children’ existence.

    may i suggest a new vocation for the delicious one? check this out…


    someone with your pedigree and Mensa-nesque attributes…you would demand at least this much.

  • U

    Hmm, the whole settling thing has been getting me depressed for years now. I am hoping that once I’m desperate enough, I will no longer be cognitively aware that I am settling, so I will be able to settle without knowingly settling.

    Does that make sense? :(

    Augh, it seems that all the good ones are taken already, at least in my neck of the woods.

  • JJ


    You’re right, it is all about perspective. However, settling does not have to be a negative thing if at a certain point in our lives, we come to terms with who we are, and hopefully, we can accept the good and the bad that makes each of us unique.

    I would wish that we have all settled into the individuals that we have become so that we are comfortable with our decisions, regardless of what others may think.

    I am very interested in your thoughts on this.

  • taste memory

    I was looking at your pix of the steak and I realized I hadn’t had a real steak in a while!

    So I seared a seriously seasoned filet mignon for dinner last night w. oven baked steak fries doused in olive oil+panko crumbs….

    your photos + words always tempting!

  • www.ifoods.tv

    Hi There

    I just stumbled upon your blog and think it is an excellent read for foodies and especially like the photos and design of the blog.I started off as a blogger myself and realise the importance of a good clean design like you have here. I have now bookmarked it for myself to read and have added you to our new list of “all the food blogs in the world” on http://www.ifoods.tv which we have been compiling for the last month! Hopefully it will send you some traffic in the long run. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on food so keep up the good work and talk soon. Cheers

  • Vernon

    January 2008: Unlike the DCCA of Hawaii, who I supplied documentation to, the Department of Health and Human Services “Region 10”, without documentation, finds that Dr. Au did violate the privacy act by charging me too much for copies of my records.
    But, Region 10 tells me they cannot proceed on the 6 other allegations

    1. Along with saying I did not see as well with the new glasses, I said
    that the prescription that I was given was weaker than the one I had the

    previous 7, count them, seven years. Your office nor the DCCA responded
    to this charge.

    2.The reason I asked Dr. Au to change the prescription was because the
    NEW one, I repeat, was weaker in one eye. This was the only alternative
    Dr. Au gave me other than accepting the weaker prescription.

    3. The “Vision Certificate” Dr. Au provide, had no licsense number
    where it should have been and she did not sign it where it should have
    been signed.

    4. Dr Au refused to give me photocopies of my records and did not give
    me a reason, per her offices policy, when I asked for them in her

    5.Dr charged me 2.00 dollars per page, totaling 20.00 dollars, which I
    believe is exorbitant.

    6.There are conflicting numbers on my records, that I would like
    explained. This, no one has addressed. And I doubt that my records were
    reviewed by an impartial optometrist, as any reasonable person would
    assume to be a part on what your office calls an investigation.

    7. I was trespassed from Dr. Au’s office for no other reason than
    asking for copies of my files, and in her response to the DCCA she says
    I was escorted out of her offices by mall security, which is a lie by a
    optometrist that pracitces deceit.

    Nov, 2007 I receive a response from the FDIC, in Kansas City, saying my concerns are contractual, although I point out two misrepresentations by the bank’s compliance counsel, Judith A. Villarreal.

    Coincidentally, there are counsels and others at the FDIC named Villarreal: Jesse O. Villarreal, Jr, Lisa M. Villarreal, Victor Villarreal.
    March 2007: My complaint to the Dept. Of Ed is refused on the grounds that they do not fund any programs or activities at the Hawaii State Public Library System, and therefore do not have jurisdiction.

    If the situation is threatening enough to cause a change in levels moment to moment, it stands to my reason, it would remain at a certain level until there is a sufficient enough change or stabilization to bring it to a lesser level. But that’s just me.

    On the 17th of Oct. 2006, I submit a complaint to the Police Commission relaying concerns about the treatment I experienced at the security checkpoint at HPD District 1 the previous day. An investigator tells me it is the policiman’s job to “interpret the law”.

    Returning to the station to locate a article I left, I am told by Officer Kahele, in the presence of one officer Hung, and another, that it is mandatory that I produce ID, and that I remove everything from my pockets, and take off my belt before passing through the metal detector.

    I point out this information is not on the signs, and officer Kahele says there will be no furthering of my purpose if I do not comply. After complying, I am told by officer Kahele that I must sit down, or she will not take my report. Previous to this occasion , when at the HPD headquarters, I was never asked to remove everything from my pockets and, or to remove my belt, or that I had to produce ID to enter. Officer Lau, the sergeant for this post, tells me the same.

    I am told by a detective that it is not mandatory to produce ID, “We don’t care who you are. Anyone has the right to come in here”. Sergeant Lau, who I am told is the officer in charge of the post says depending on the threat level, procedures may change day to day. He says one may be required to remove everything from ones pockets etc., or be required to submit to different procedures. I inform him that on the same day, when I was there previously, I was not required to do so. He inform me that the security level may change from moment to moment.

    On Oct. 16, 2006 I submit a complaint to HPD Internal Affairs relaying concerns about not being asked to identify the driver of the vehicle that hit me on the 8th of Sept., and the fact that the person who stood as Chris Pa at the arraignment was not the driver of the car.

    Oct. 6, 2006, I go to the arraignment of A Mr. Chris Pa. I am surprised to see that this Mr. Pa is not the driver I saw, while laying on the hood of the car and peering through the windshield, and definitely not the man I looked in the face and spoke to through an opened window. This may be due to the fact that I was not asked to identify the person located, arrested, or cited, on the night of the incident or at any subsequent time, until I see him at the arraignment. I am directed by the presiding judge to inform the prosecutors office, which I do.

    Oct. 2, 2006: I am told at traffic court there is no court date set, but have found online there is one on Oct. 6, in room 4B, and I am not included as the victim. I still get correspondence from the insurer’s agents telling me of medical coverage available, although I told the driver, the responding officer, and previously the insurer’s agent, I am OK.

    Sept.21, 2006: I go to City Hall to get a voters registration card and am told it will cost .50 cents.

    I am surprised to get a “Certificate”, ala Lens Crafters, and ask is this it? I am told yes by the clerk. Today, on “The Bus” I see a man who says he works at the polls, who tells me there is still a little yellow card that comes in the mail and is surprised to see the “Certificate”.

    Sept. 8, 2006: I am hit by a car bearing license plate JST 203, that was stopped at a crosswalk. The driver is looking at me when he accelerates. The driver doesn’t wait for police to arrive. They find him at his home. The police report reads Crime Code 550, which I am told means, a collision with damage of more than 3000 dollars. I am told the responding police officer decides if there will be an investigation. More Honolulu HOKUM.

    This is the place where, those who would complain about wrongdoing are persecuted, harassed, smeared and railroaded. Where the perpetrators are bribed to keep quiet, or go along with the cover-up, promoted, and transferred.

    Sept. 7, 2006: A security guard, Solomona Savea, badge number – 90187, at the Hawaii State Library, calls me a “nigger” twice” in the library foyer, in a loud voice.

    Aug. 10, 2006: I have been told by Sen. Barack Obama’s office, where I sent this same correspondence, that someone from Sen. Akaka’s office would contact me, because Sen. Obama’s office forwarded the correspondence to them. I have yet to hear from Sen. Akaka’s office. Is there some assistance your office can give me?

    July 23, 2006: An Optometrist, Kim Agena at a Lens Crafters gives me a prescription that is weaker than the one I had for the previous 7 years. Doctor Au, a co-owner corrects this, but when I ask for photocopies of my records the doctor refuses and gives me a hand written ” Vision Certificate” instead, that is not signed and does not contain a license number where applicable. I have made a formal request in writing. They have told me it will be at a cost of 20 dollars for 10 pages, which seems exorbitant and requested that I not seek services at any Optometrists in Lens Crafters. The doctor, Au, is the co – owner along with Dr. Lau, of all the Optometrist offices in Lens Crafters, in Honolulu. In other words, I cannot get an eye exam at Lens Crafters. Is it considered rude or threatening, to ask for one’s records?

    The advice I get here is nothing but a pack of lies.

    The local ACLU has written me 3 differing and separate excuses why they cannot or will not get involved, but never the conflict I found below.

    April 2006: I have had two librarians and a circulation clerk tell me there is no report possible for stolen books. They must be lost. This would have caused fees to be incurred by me. I had to take the police report to the State Librarian’s Office to settle the matter and have the fines removed from my account. This all could have been done at the State Library.

    Jan. 2006: I have had two bank accounts effected. One because a deposit I made to cover my use of overdraft protection was not credited, they rescinded the “overdraft” and CLOSED my account. The bank says it had to be held in the account for a day, to be credited. Nowhere in the terms and conditions is this stated. The depletion of the other account, I have been given no reason for. July 2006, I have written to the Clint Arnoldus Denis Isono and Susan Tachino asking them to explain, and have received no response.

    Recently, I have made another complaint, in addition to the previous five, to the USPS – OIG, about mail I am to receive or have sent. I sent a certified letter to Richard E. Fairfax, Directorate of Enforcement Programs – OSHA, in Washington D.C., on the 2nd of December. The certification number is 7005 2570 0000 6898 2586. I look at the track and confirm feature at USPS.COM and there is no record of it having been delivered yet.

    My case was dismissed May 24, 2006. How often does this occur? A case is dismissed with two days difference between the dismissal date and the termination date, (May 26, 2004) of the individual filing suit. I will never understand how the three judges that made decisions in this case could not see that it is too complex for anyone who would consider themselves a pro se litigant, which I do not.

    This has been an uphill battle against an opponent whose underwriters include a Fortune 500 company, FNF.

    john.goemans@gmail.com wrote :
    Dear Vernon—- Your letter is alarming. I have over time,recieved calls
    from persons very distressed by the Hawaii you know.In fact I’ve been out of
    Hawaii for many months one reason being the hostile and dysfunctional
    nature of things.I’ve even been jailed on a charge it took the Judge when I
    finally got before one 2 minutes to throw out.That all being said have no
    ability to be of help to you other than to give you encouragement from this
    Sincerely John Goemans
    —–Original Message—–
    From: Eric Grant grant@eric-grant.com
    To: yinsay@aol.com
    Sent: Fri, 11 Nov 2005 01:06:41 -0500
    Subject: RE: Still attempting to contact Mr. Goemans
    Mr. Balmer, Mr. Goemans’ address is john.goemans@gmail.com
    Attorney at Law
    8001 Folsom Boulevard, Suite 100
    Sacramento, California 95826
    Telephone: (916) 388-0833
    Facsimile: (916) 691-3261
    From: yinsay@aol.com [mailto: yinsay@aol.com]
    Sent: Wednesday, November 09, 2005 7:47 PM
    To: grant@eric-grant.com
    Subject: Still attempting to contact Mr. Goemans. If he has one, and you know Mr. Goeman’s e-mail address kindly forward this to it, please.

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    I have resided here in Honolulu , Hawaii for almost 4 years now. I had intended to stay here when I made the decision to come, and was happy to have found employment relatively soon. I found a job working with a temporary agency for 4 months. I was hired by the client as a regular employee, Sept. 2002. On my first day of regular hire, I was shocked to hear, “you know why they hired him, don’t you”, from one of my co-workers. But, needing to work for a living and being in a strange place, I thought it best to ignore this, after all, I was hired.

    At the beginning of my time with the client, Title Guaranty, I was told by the on site supervisor, that if I was to take a particular bus and call her first, “there would be more work”. The day after this I handed her my time card, ready to seek another assignment, when she acted as though she didn’t know why I would be doing this. When I explained, she countered with some nebulous words and said I could work as long as the company needed me.

    Subsequently, the same supervisor would tell me that I had to give her a key or the combination to the lock on my locker, “in case of an emergency”. I thought this to be a strange request, as I could not imagine an emergency in my locker that would require her or anyone else to open it without me. I didn’t respond to her request, and not hearing anything further, I gathered that it was not company policy at all.

    Having a co-worker refer to me as “boy” and another ask me 3 times – after giving an answer twice – “why do black people use the N word?”, did not make me feel very gregarious among them. I was also told by a co-worker, “all Hawaii is a gang brah.”, and by another, “it’s all connected”, the supervisor speaking about a former supervisor said, “we made him quit because he thought he was smarter than us, cause he was from the east coast”.

    We were housed in a basement of what is now a former Costco building, with an air-conditioner as the only ventilation. When I noticed mold growing in a hole, in the wall beneath the air-conditioner, adjacent to the room where I sometimes, but mostly my co-workers would eat lunch, I asked them about it and was told that management was made aware of it and did nothing. I decided to inform management myself, considering the untruths I had previously heard from some. I was thanked by the assistant to the woman in accounting who handled the repairs for the building.

    I did not think it was a major undertaking by a very successful company to fix this problem, and was surprised at the length of time it was taking to address the situation, so I informed OSHA, Aug. 2003. This is when things started to go further south. Coincidentally, the day after going to the OSHA offices, the next day at work, my supervisor stated to a co-worker, “Vernon went to OSHA.” This information was not given to her or any co-worker, by me.

    When I went to OSHA, the employee did not give me any type of reference number, or write one in the space provided on the complaint form, nor did she inform me at that time that mold is not OSHA’S jurisdiction, which is what I was told when I went to check on the status of the complaint. Neither, did the employee inform me of laws governing discrimination. I was also told – it not being OSHA’S jurisdiction – the complaint was referred to the Department of Health. It was like pulling teeth to get an answer as to what office at the DOH it was referred to. Needless to say I could not inquire about the possible disposition of the complaint, not knowing where to inquire.

    I made a complaint to the EEOC, Jan. 2004, and the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, Apr 2004, both of which were dismissed without any investigation, each agency sat back and waited for the submission of the company’s response. Incidentally, I was contacted by the director of the EEOC, asking me if I wanted to proceed, after I was shown a copy of the company’s response, which I don’t believe is proper. I now see in the EEOC’s and the HCRC’s own publications, matters such as mine that were investigated and even adjudicated. During the HCRC’s lack of investigation, I only heard from them at the intake and when I received their letter of dismissal.

    I furnished the EEOC and the HCRC with names of co-workers who said they would speak for me. They were not interviewed. I was informed by an investigator at the EEOC that no one visited the site. There was a similar situation here with UPS, where an employee was fired for doing less egregious acts than his co-workers, which I believe is the case here. I saw co-workers break company equipment, cuss freely, ask for sexual favors, and bring children and friends to the work site. Throughout this experience I have been told by these agencies’ staff and lawyers, literally or in effect, “there is no smoking gun here”. This is only due to there being no investiga
    tion. In the least, there is a pattern that should compel any thinking person to ask questions.

    Subsequent to this, my work was sabotaged on more than one occasion, and reports to management only resulted in them twisting the situation in attempts to placate me and set me up for these spurious accusations by my co-workers. Each complaint of mine was a matter of my erroneous “interpretation”, as stated by management, while my co-workers complaints were valid descriptions of my “misconduct”. As a result of the accusations, I was suspended, without pay, pending an investigation for, I kid you not, a co-worker accusing me of harassing her by clapping my hands and signing “Pink Cadillac”, and another saying, I was teasing her when I asked her to say my name and that of the manager, to see if I could distinguish the two.

    I was terminated in May 2004, two weeks after the dismissal of the EEOC complaint that was not investigated, and a day after informing management that I overheard a co-worker saying to the one that accused me of harassing her by singing, “we’re going to show him the power of p—-. I was denied unemployment insurance, June 2004, with a fact-finding interview done over the telephone that was not reviewed or signed by me, as it should have been before it was made part of the official record and used at my future appeal. The subsequent appeal Aug. 2004 was biased, prejudiced, and contained perjured statements by the witnesses for my former employer. I am now told that the recording of the hearing does not exist because it was transcribed.

    I have initiated a suit in federal court, Jan. 2005 that I can not pursue, due to the lack of time and funds necessary for an undertaking such as this, and the skill I do not have in these matters. I have all but given up searching for representation, believing word has gotten to many legal ears on the island and no one wants to go against the state that has all but coddled and cuddled business here.

    I have contacted the ACLU, and given them much information, but they seem more interested in writing briefs for exotic entertainers, arrested for doing lap dances. First they tell me they cannot help unless the matter involves a government agency, then they tell me they can if a decision is against me, then they tell me they do not have the manpower and time. Each of the criteria, I met at the time I contacted them.

    Coincidentally, I find a lawyer, Roger Fonseca, at the firm representing my former employer, is the national representative for the Hawaii chapter of the ACLU, and their staff also have a few names that are the same as those associated with Hawaii real estate. They cannot help, but they can accept my information.

    I have tried to interest many, many lawyers and firms by email, letters and personal visits, to no avail. I have had a lawyer in San Francisco who participated in a well known case here try to find someone without success. This situation has been surrounded by complicity, cronyism, and bias.

    I have written to the DOJ, only to have my information shuffled from one agency to another, including the Department of the Interior, and finally coming full circle to the Hawaii Department of Labor. I do not think this was coincidence. At the HCRC, there is a commission member with the same name as the owners of my former employer’s business, one Coral Wong Pietsch.

    Mrs. Pietsch is a general in the U.S. Army Reserve, and an attorney, a very powerful position with ties to D.C., I’m sure. It has long been my suspicion that this may have played a roll in the lack of effort on the part of officials that has attended this matter. Each party’s history I research has some relation to another, be it professional, academic, and even familial.

    I now look at web sites for all the organizations I sought help at – e-mail to the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, all representative’s and senator’s offices, Legal Aid Society, Hawaii Dept. of Labor and the DOL – national, EEOC – Hawaii, district, and national offices, NAACP Hawaii, Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, ACLU of Hawaii, Hawaii – Department of Health, HIOSH and OSHA ( regional and national ), Volunteer Legal Services of Hawaii, the Hawaii Office of Information Practices, the Ombudsman’s Office where my letter explaining the situation and their reply stating they could do nothing, are the only correspondence I had during it’s investigation, and the Hawaii State Bar Association, where the lawyers who are members of the Real Property and Financial Services Section, are also affiliated with these other organizations, or directly associated with my former employer, or the firm that represents them – Torkildson, Katz. Fonseca, Heatherington, and Moore.

    The Real Property and Financial Services Section includes a lawyer I was assisted by, one Andre Wooten, who at the time told me nothing of his involvement with this organization. He was suggested to me by church members and NAACP officer Alfonso Braggs. I pull up the staff or the particular board of directors of these organizations and there are last names that are the same and have some relationship, mostly with real estate, and more than a few with ties to California.

    Two names in particular are quite suspicious. A Kouchi, at Volunteer Legal Services, which was the last name of the HR assistant at Title Guaranty, Pang which is the name of a front desk worker at the YMCA, who I complained about signing for my mail. and that of a Appeals Officer at Department of Labor – Security Appeals Referees Office. Hirayama the appeal referee, and the owner of the restaurant at the YMCA. And on and on.

    There are too many relationships here to be mere coincidence, and are questionable, at least. My information was passed by one Elain Chao – Department Of Labor, in D.C. to Tin Shing Chao Department of Labor here in Hawaii, who used an erroneous date to nullify my complaint. This was after a layover in California with Ms. Alison Pauly at the regional offices. Whose CASPA investigation stated that I should have made this a written complaint, when Hawaii law states it does not matter, whether written or verbal. Could she be related to the Pauly’s who have donated to the University of Hawaii, and have owned land here?

    The complex in Hawaii that houses the Department of Labor, is also where the HIOSH offices and the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission offices are located. This name, Pang, pops up in various places dealing with state government and real estate. I now know these agencies to be straw dogs that do everything but contend with the status quo.

    For the most part, the agencies that pretend to help, most notably the NAACP and ACLU, only collect information and then say they can do nothing; I wonder what happens to the information in a state that treats confidential information as a comodity. Incidentally my former employer’s representation is one of the largest contributors to Legal Aid Society. Concerning Volunteer Legal Services of Hawaii, I have recently discovered that one of two lawyers they referred is an attorney at the law firm representing my former employer, and the other is a realtor in Honolulu, and also liscensed to practice in California. And another is the member of a firm with old ties to the Pietsch family. Who were these lawyers going to “help”?

    I mention the YMCA because in 2002, I had complained about what I believed to be prostitution, facilitated by staff there. And when I informed the supervisor at Title Guaranty, her response was to leave well enough alone, after I informed her that I had, in my opinion angered some people there. My subsequent report to the police department was investigated by the police calling the YMCA and asking them if my suspicions were true. I think you can see what position this left me in. In my lay opinion, this was a sloppy and dangerous way to initiate and conclude an investigation.

    I have applied for many positions since my termination, and have only worked sporadically in spite of my efforts. I have registered with
    many staffing agencies – Olympia , Hawaii Staffing, Snelling, and Hawaii Temp, CTA Staffing which is now Bishop & Company, Manpower, Kelly, and POI. I have not worked a complete week and have not been contacted at all by some. I registered at Altres in 2004, and was not called in a years time before I returned. There, I was terminated for ” not being pro active”. There is no confidentiality law here, and I believe this also has worked against me. It – confidentiality – has been frequently cited by my former employer’s agents and state officials, only to protect themselves and facilitate their deceptive practices.

    I mostly use the public library to use the Internet, i.e. write letters and do research. Needless to say, this is not the most secure environment to do this type of activity. And I have had problems at this library with the computers and the staff. At the library, I have seen the text change when I am typing, without commands initiated by me. The printer is connected to the computer at the librarians’ desk. On one occasion, I was told by a security guard that a librarian had complained about me harassing her because I asked for her name to report her behavior.

    After contacting the librarian’s office, there is no record or remembrance of this aspect of the report. This tactic of “bait and switch” has been used on more than one occasion, by different entities. After not being online for 3 days I saw where someone had requested an Army Knowledge Online account in my name, or I should say my screen name. I saw an attorney – John L. Knorek – from the firm representing my former employer enter the philosophy department and ask for a librarian, Kathy, by name.

    Yee is the name of the head librarian at the State Library and the name of a former employee of the United States Attorney’s Office and HCRC, did training for the Department of Justice, and worked for the Massachusetts Attorney General. I sent most of this same information to Sen. Ted Kennedy’s offices in Massachusetts and was told during a telephone conversation with the office that, being on the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Kennedy could not get involved in judicial matters.

    Since this is the only avenue I have been given, I have asked the district offices of the DOL to investigate by CASPA, Sept. 2005, and have asked for an investigation for discrimination due to the whistle blower aspect of the matter. I believe this will be my only chance at a modicum of justice. But I will always believe that more realistically this situation can be defined by, 18 USC 241, 242 and 245.

    Hawaii, I now entertain, is a state where the dollar is God, and workers are only a necessary evil to facilitate that gain. Where the Director of Labor and Industrial Relations, Nelson Befitel, has unashamedly professed his desire, and that of the state to relieve the department of any obligation to penalize businesses for infractions and, I can see where the natural sequence would be to alleviate any scrutiny that would expose abuse of power by the states employees. It is no wonder; I have experienced what I have. All too often, in the news here, the term “outsider” is given to any entity that would look at what is practiced here. But there is a GOD that sees all and will affect justice for the oppressed.


    Vernon Balmer Jr.
    401 Atkinson DR (211)
    Honolulu, HI 96814

    November 7, 2005
    Richard E. Fairfax, Director
    Directorate of Enforcement Programs(DEP)
    U.S . Department of Labor
    200 Constitution Avenue N.W.
    Washington , D.C. 20210
    Dear Sir,

    For the past two years at every step in this long railroad, from my initial complaint filed at the EEOC, and subsequent to that, the HCRC; the United States Commission on Civil Rights; the Department of Justice; and finally through no effort of my own, having it wind up at the Regional OSHA offices in San Francisco, I have steadily maintained that I submitted a written complaint at the state HIOSH offices, here in Honolulu.

    I was told that much of what I sent to the DOJ had been sent to the San Francisco OSHA offices. Evidently this written HIOSH complaint was not among the papers.

    Imagine my surprise when I got this letter from Mr. Traenkner, informing me that I should not have made this a verbal complaint. I retrieved the copy of the written complaint, made for me while at the HIOSH offices, just to convince myself that those in power are the ones mistaken, and now I believe with my whole being, they are in actuality, deceitful and dishonest, practiced at covering up embarrassing incidents, and downright criminal.

    I am making a request to you for a review by your national offices, where hopefully someone unbiased, with integrity, will do the right thing. There was a Ms.Hirai in San Francisco that said she could see the discrimination in this matter. Too bad it was not she that conducted the investigation. I only hope it is coincidence that there is a Hirai here in Honolulu that is a lawyer and involved in the real estate business, and a lawyer formerly in the firm representing my former

    Throughout this situation there have been relationships, I have noticed in my opposition, which include professional, academic and familial. It has long been my suspicion that those ensconced in the cronyism here in Hawaii have at each step facilitated the lack of effort in this matter. I am now sure of what I have long suspected. This cover-up goes much further than what happens here in Hawaii.


    Vernon Balmer Jr.
    401 Atkinson DR (211)
    Honolulu, HI 96814

  • djwhelan

    Thanks for making the Pluto’s comparison. I have yet to try Tender Greens (always getting sidetracked by Ford’s or Vinum Populi), but I kept thinking it was like Pluto’s, which I miss from my 20something San Francisco life. I think my 30something Los Angeles self needs to give Tender Greens a try!

  • Pirikara

    Hah, I received that same article. Lots of food for thought, so to speak. (Sigh~) I hear ya girl. But I’d give Tender Greens more credit. When I’m there I only have eyes for their Chipotle chicken salad. It makes me warm and fuzzy inside as a good lover should!

  • Cakebrain

    Yes, it’s okay to have our cake and eat it too! But that doesn’t mean you’re cheating on your restaurant! You’re always going to return to your “perfect restaurant”. It’s got your favourite meals, feels comfy and you always feel satisfied. I meant to say that one restaurant/guy isn’t going to meet your every need in life so why punish yourself into thinking that it/he should? Nothing is perfect in the world (and neither are we) so we shouldn’t expect our partners in life to meet all our needs. Geez, there is such a thing as having platonic relationships, right?

  • Ryan Kim

    well written sarah. You captured my thoughts perfectly. I have only three words for you: ice cream social. OK, i have three more words for you: blue plaid shirt. OK, last three words: Underhill Parking Garage. Anyway, hope you find the One….

  • Organic Eating

    Just ate there this past week and once again, was very satisfied. I think if you’ve become accustomed to GIGANTIC portions at restaurants, then it’s not the place for you. Otherwise, simple and plenty of good, fresh food.

  • Snap!

    My favourite place!!! tender greens….good customer service too. keep up the good work guys.

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