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Obama wins, Los Angeles parties

November 4, 2008 |  8:25 pm

Yeah, Barack Obama is the president-elect.

But Times editor Steve Padilla didn't need CNN to tell him that. He was strolling around Silver Lake reservoir when the election was called. "Up and down the street, you could hear people hollering, screaming and whooping inside their houses." The cheers kept going as Padilla continued his walk.

More dispatches from around Southern California:

COSTA MESA — At Triangle Square, about 2,000 Orange County Democrats celebrated at Sutra’s nightclub, listening to Bruce Springsteen’s music and recordings of Obama’s speeches. Later in the evening, Kindell Castle, 45, of Costa Mesa watched Obama’s presidential acceptance speech on one of the club’s wide-screen television sets, her arms wrapped around her 15-year-old daughter, Serise. Both mother and daughter wore Obama T-shirts. "I'm feeling so full of hope," said Castle, who is black. "There’s a sense of rebirth. I’ve always told my daughter, 'You can do anything you want, be anything you want.' But you reach a certain age and you start to doubt that. Now when I tell her you can be anything you want, it’s true." When Obama finished speaking, jubilant Democrats raised their margaritas and wine glasses and shouted, "Yes, we can!"  "We’re going to party all night!" said Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove). —Paloma Esquivel

CENTURY CITY — An estimated 5,000 to 10,000 people flowed into the streets outside the Century Plaza Hotel, where Democrats were celebrating. Los Angeles police closed off several streets. —Rong-Gong Lin II

CRENSHAW DISTRICT — Along a packed Crenshaw Boulevard at West 30th Street, drivers honked while passengers cheered, raised fists and threw thumbs up. On the sidewalks, onlookers waved Obama signs and cheered. Willie Harris, 46, stood by, waving an Obama sign bearing the word "Hope." When Obama’s win was announced, he grabbed the poster from his window and headed for the street. His girlfriend, Jonetta Johnson, 48, joined him. "This is a history-making moment," said Harris, who wore a black shirt showing Obama, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, along with the words, "Dream come true." "You can sit back and watch it happen or you can be a part of it." The couple planned to savor the victory along the busy strip until midnight. —Raja Abdulrahim

MID-WILSHIRE — Soon after Obama was declared president about 8:20 p.m., several motorists began honking their car horns in victory as they drove down Wilshire Boulevard. Some yelled out their windows, "Obama! Obama!" —Carlos Lozano

NEWPORT BEACH — At Sharkeez bar, the bartenders were serving red, white and blue Jell-O shots and pitchers of Budweiser's new American Ale. Just before 8 p.m., the bartenders played a funeral bagpipe dirge on the loudspeaker. Some patrons seemed ready to cry in their beer. "I am completely depressed," said Keith Daniels, 49, of Newport Beach.  He said he already was working out in his mind the effect that higher taxes will have on the forensics consulting business he runs. —Paloma Esquivel

BURBANK  Shortly after 9 p.m., about 50 people arriving on an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle gathered around a wide-screen television in the lobby at Bob Hope Airport to watch Obama’s speech. When the president-elect finished, one man started clapping and the room erupted in applause. —Richard Kipling

DOWNTOWN LONG BEACH — The tally was followed by fireworks on the beach. "As soon as the networks started calling it, I could hear a lot of cheering and shouting from the apartment," said Times reporter Kimi Yoshino. "There were firecrackers going off at the beach. I could see flashes of light."

KOREATOWN  At the HMS Bounty, a popular bar at the historic Gaylord Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard, televisions were tuned to President-elect Obama’s speech. As he strode to the stage, the crowd broke out clapping and cheering.  Then it quieted as people waited to hear what he would say.

Some seemed frozen in place,  their hands clutching their beer bottles. The bartender even stopped to watch. The room was quiet as people strained to hear TVs that were turned up as high as they would go. There were cries of “That’s right!” and “You know it!”  during the speech.  But mostly it was quiet, and the crowd shushed those few who dared to make noise. --Corina Knoll

CRENSHAW DISTRICT — At the FAME church, the celebrating was passionate. T. Larry Kirkland, the new presiding bishop of the 5th Episcopal district of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, shed tears of joy when Obama was declared winner of the presidential election. A native of Birmingham, Ala., Kirkland said he witnessed Klu Klux Klansmen burning crosses on his church lawn. He saw young black men jailed simply for looking at a white woman and was pastoring in Mississippi when one of them was beaten and killed for doing so. He was there, too, when Medgar Evers was shot down "like a dog." He remembers his mother moving him off the sidewalk when whites walked by and being bused across town to attend a black school even though a white one was just half a mile away. "I saw all this with my own eyes," he said. "Now to see a black man become president of the United States not because he's black but because he's brilliant ... I just cried. The new generation of Americans is refusing to be racist." --Teresa Watanabe