Friday, November 25, 2005

Little Italy To Return To Downtown? Paging Joe Cerrell and Rick Caruso!,0,4496724.story?coll=la-home-headlines&track=morenews

While it would have never been mistaken for Mulberry Street, North Beach or the North End, Los Angeles once had a small, but lively Italian quarter (with an Italian presence since at least 1823) which shared its neighborhood with several other ethnic groups, first around and then eventually north and west of the old Plaza, in the area now largely populated by a rapidly expanding Chinatown.

Among the remaining physical reminders of the community are the venerable 1947 St. Peter's Italian Catholic Church on North Broadway (the church's congregation dates to 1904 - but not the church building as seems to be implied in the LAT article), the 1972 Casa Italiana also on North Broadway, the 1907 Italian Hall fronting on Main Street behind Olvera Street, an old 1880's/1914 Italian winery building on Olvera Street (which was until 1877 called Wine or Vine Street due to all the mostly Italian wineries on it), the 1855 Pelanconi house also on Olvera Street - the oldest brick structure in Los Angeles - and the near-by 1917 San Antonio Winery.

But a new Little Italy may soon arise elsewhere in Downtown:

Teresa Watanabe - Times Staff Writer - November 25, 2005

When Hollywood producer Doug DeLuca first wanted to stage what would become Southern California's largest annual Italian American festival, he says, one man bucked the naysayers and furnished him with invaluable contacts and advice.

When Nick Costantini took over efforts to refurbish the historic Italian Hall in downtown Los Angeles, he says, one man helped raise most of the $1 million needed. And when Los Angeles Councilwoman Jan Perry dreamed up an idea to create a Little Italy in her downtown district, she turned to the same man: Joe Cerrell.

Cerrell, 70, may be best known as a Democratic political consultant with deep ties to past and present party stars, including John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, Jesse Unruh and Al Gore.


Cerrell and DeLuca have teamed up with Perry to bring the Little Italy vision to fruition. Perry, whose 9th Council District includes much of downtown, says she is considering the designation for an area along 2nd Street to bring a vibrant street culture to the corridor between Little Tokyo and the Grand Avenue Project development. DeLuca envisions restaurants, shops and such possible cultural events as opera, strolling musicians and Venetian masked balls.

Now about fifteen years ago, I seem to recall a major Italian cultural center was going to be built as part of an office tower on Wilshire Boulevard - either near or in conjunction with the Folk Art Museum - and I seem to recall that Joseph Ventress of the Italian Heritage Culture Foundation was involved with that. I could be mistaken, though, as it may just have been going to be the site for an expanded Folk Art Museum. Does anyone else recall this project?

But having a larger commercial/residential neighborhood in the heart of the city would make a lot more sense. It is also critical that this project not become just a stand alone cultural center, but that it becomes a catalyst for a real neighborhood.

However, with all the development already slated for Second Street and with Little Tokyo once again extending up to at least Los Angeles Street, right now there are now very few unspoken for parcels left along Second Street; in fact, there only two developable parcels left that I can think of. And with all the major insititutional uses (Federal Courthouse, Police Headquarters, Little Tokyo Library, Little Tokyo Gym, Police Parking Garage, two major Japanese hotels, Cal Trans, Rafu Shimpo and the LA Times crammed between Los Angeles and Hill Streets along and adjacent to Second Street - it would be impossible for an organic neighborhood to develop around the cultural center.

Additionally, with Little Tokyo having lost so much of its historic home to civic buildings, it is now reclaiming its previous territory all along Second Street; so creating an Italian neighborhood anywhere east of Main Street is not feasible.

.... Cerrell says that Grove developer Rick Caruso, attorney Tom Girardi of "Erin Brockovich" fame and Angelo Mozilo, chief executive of the home mortgage giant Countrywide Credit Industries Inc. have accepted his invitation to become major donors to the national Italian foundation.

Now any museum or non-profit these days needs a business plan and what downtown needs more than anything else right now - is retail, culture and nightlife. Plus a year ago Rick Caruso was considering revitalizing a real urban neighborhood rather than just building self-contained shopping centers - which reminds me - I owe him that walking tour of the area I had promised him. I say this because if he and Joe Cerrell are looking for the perfect place to combine Italian design, Italian retail, Italian restaurants and Italian culture... I know exactly what to show them...


Kevin over at LAOBSERVED has some questions about the proposed location of the new "Little Italy":

The most authentic places to do this would apparently be Olvera Street or Chinatown, which had some Italian roots before being created as 20th Century tourist traps. But in the great L.A. tradition of fake ethnic enclaves, they are looking at Second Street west of Little Tokyo.

Valid points, but the forces behind El Pueblo decided decades ago that despite the fact that Italians had been there for over 175 years, they and all the other ethnic groups who built this city were not welcome at El Pueblo. From the late 1920's to the 1950's, the Italian community was systematically forced out of the area and even their efforts to restore the Italian Hall were bitterly fought. Below is some insight into that battle:

In 1823, a year after Mexican independence, an Italian immigrant opened a shop and built a home where the plaza firehouse now stands. Soon Italians were living on the east and west sides of the plaza and their winemaking enterprises so dominated Olvera Street that it became known as Wine or Vine Street. Even the Avila Adobe, the oldest structure in Los Angeles today, became known as the Hotel Italia Unita. More than one-third (39,077 square feet) of the total area to be restored on Olvera Street was historically associated with Italian ownership in the General Plan for Historic Restoration approved in 1981.

Italian business ownership in the plaza area continued until the 1950s. In the late 1920s, Sterling and her supporters, in the process of creating the Mexican marketplace, acquired many of the Italian properties, including the Pelanconi building (now La Casa Golondrina), which from 1857 until 1929 had been in the continuous possession of Italian families. The final Italian property owners were displaced in the early '50s, when the state initiated condemnation proceedings on the remaining private property to establish El Pueblo State Historic Park.


Given the limited dimension of this project and the legitimacy of the claim, one cannot avoid asking if the protests generated by the Olvera Street Merchants Assn. do not exceed the scope of the issue. Nor can one avoid asking if, to advance a very different item on the political agenda, the association provided this distracting issue as a red herring that the media have unwittingly consumed.

As an example, the vast majority of historic buildings owned by the County of Los Angeles - dating from as early as the 1850's - have been demolished for parking lots because their histories were not considered ethnically correct.

Chinatown though is a different situation; the rapid expansion of of that community after they were forced from their historic home where Union Station now stands, makes the return of the Italian community there unlikely. So while I do agree that Second Street location does not make a lot of sense for a several of reasons, there is another part of Downtown that is a perfect fit for a recontinuation of Italian culture in Los Angeles.

Book City - RIP

Last Monday, Book City's long run on Hollywood Boulevard ended when the entire stock in the store was sold to buyers who will sell the store's contents in an on-line bookstore. After several months of trying to make to bring Book City to Main Street in Downtown Los Angeles, despite the best efforts of everyone at the table, ultimately, it did not happen. Book City, however , will continue to sell extensive collection of Hollywood collectibles and scripts from the below website...

.... but - for awhile - at least - the store itself is no more.

There are, however, still more books stored in warehouses and talks will resume shortly on possibility of using them as a basis for a vintage bookstore in the Historic Core of Downtown.

Stay tuned.

On the better news front, Arnold Herr Booksellers which lost its lease on Fairfax, has signed a new lease - also on Fairfax - and will not be closing as was previously feared.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Bizarre Review Of New Getty Villa In New York Times!

First of all, appropriate thanks and sacrificial offerings should be tendered to all the pertinent Gods now that Christopher Hawthorne writes for the LA Times after Nicolai Ouroussoff shipped himself off to New York and the pages of the NYT where he is a much better fit. And in this post I shall be reviewing NOT the new Getty Museum (which I have not seen), but the NYT's review of that building and the internal inconsistencies contained within that review; a review of the LAT's review of the building will follow tomorrow.

OK - now that all the proper deities have been correctly assuaged, here are some assorted bits and pieces of Nicki's review of the Getty Villa's addition that are somewhat rearranged for maximum rhetorical impact:

The complex, designed by Machado & Silvetti Associates of Boston, is genuinely an exquisite work of architecture. Reconfigured as an elaborate architectural narrative, it approaches the historical past with the scholarly attention normally reserved for real ancient ruins.... Obviously a high architectural I.Q. is operating here...

His main point seems to be that the new addition is exquisite, scholarly, sophisticated. He then says... this is horrible, horrible news.

The gaudy beauty of the old Getty was its underlying message: the vision of a dying oilman thumbing his nose at the pretensions of the East Coast art establishment. By comparison, the newly expanded villa strives for Old World respectability. And in wrapping the old villa in the aura of good taste, it comes close to embalming it.

He then (seemingly) says he would only approve of this project if it were a whole lot more gaudy and a whole lot more tacky - and with none of that always dreaded... aura of good taste!

And if anyone out there really truly, honestly believes he really means that - please clap your hands!

All finished? OK. Well, thank God this ain't a production of Peter Pan or poor ole Tinker Bell would be goner.

Nicki's message of the day seems to be that beauty is fine, in its place - but if it's in LA - it better be some god damned gaudy beauty!

As the city matures and its civic leaders strive to project the sophistication of older, more established counterparts, that sense of cultural independence has begun to fade. And this threatens to tamp down the spirit that made Los Angeles one of the nation's most original architectural inventions.

Hmmm... the concept that LA has any real sophistication, well, actually, no, scratch that - real sophistication is not option. Make that... LA even 'projecting'... any sophistication... is - quite clearly, in his eyes - a very bad (and also, very impossible) concept.

Nothing condescending here!


... J. Paul Getty scorned (hiring star contemporary architects), and that bound his villa, in an odd way, to the visions of early Modernists like Rudolf Schindler and Richard Neutra. Each of them embraced the uniquely American notion that all fantasies are possible here, and that we are free to tear up our roots and reinvent ourselves when we see fit.

'Odd' doesn't even begin to describe that paragraph. Building classically styled buildings is uniquely American? It constitutes tearing up one's roots? Has he ever noticed what actually gets built in this country - or ever heard of Prince Charles?

By comparison, the new Getty Villa, for all its refinement, is an expression of a culture more interested in validation than freedom. The fun is gone.

OK, after that stunning paraphrase of the lyrics to the Beach Boys' classic - Fun, Fun, Fun - for his next number, Nicki (radically) redefines the word... credibility... by changing horses in mid-stream - while blindfolded and with both hands tied behind his back - as he now (seemingly) attacks the new architects for not modifying the old villa!

Opened in 1974, the original Malibu villa is a re-creation of the Roman Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, which is thought to have been a seafront retreat for Julius Caesar's father-in-law. The builders took considerable liberties: the villa's second floor, for example, was not original, and the underground parking was more suburban than Roman in inspiration.

Rather than correct those details, the architects chose to treat the villa as a precious historic bauble.

Ooooh. There goes my headache again. Nicki's now saying they should have corrected those liberties? Nicki now thinks keeping the 'k' in kitsch is now a bad thing?

Where're those g-damn pills?

I need them... NOW!

So, after power gulping down two pills from my ever handy (albeit, rapidly vanishing) Excedrin stash, I climb into my deep-diving suit - put its settings on deep you know what - and attempt to fathom that logic.

But - wait! News flash! Suddenly - in the very next sentence - the sophistication of the addition is now suddenly a good thing!

The high point of the addition is a new entry sequence that begins at the concrete parking structure and then winds its way up along a ridge along one side of the villa before descending to a 450-seat outdoor Roman theater. The path, part of an elaborate system of retaining walls that protects the villa from the surrounding hills, allows you to admire the villa from various angles.

The museum's interior has also been carefully tweaked. A skylight has been punched through the roof of the atrium lobby, opening it up to the sun. A bronze staircase now sweeps up to the second floor. Windows have been added in some of the galleries to bring in natural light. And the outer peristyle garden, once the main entry point for the museum, has been restored to its original splendor, so visitors can once again take a contemplative stroll along its reflecting pool.

Well, so maybe sophistication really isn't all that bad a thing!! Even if we hapless citizens of LA are only capable of ... projecting it!

Historical references pile up along the way. The horizontal strata of stone and concrete evoke an excavation site; the heavy travertine blocks suggest the more abstract travertine panels at the Getty Center.

The exquisite line of a bronze rail that draws the eye up along the entry pavilion's staircase is inspired by Carlo Scarpa's postwar renovations of old Italian palazzos.

Keeps getting better and better!

But after a while, the references become exhausting. The idiosyncratic old villa was a West Coast counterpart to Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Barnes Foundation near Philadelphia - deeply eccentric visions all. The new Getty is more like a clever academic exercise.

Wait a second... everything quoted so far has been about how well each historic reference works. So how can it now become... exhausting? How can excellent architecture - and there is not a single aspect of the architecture he has yet found disfavor with - make the entire Getty project a clever academic exercise - when he does not identify even one detail that is an academic exercise, clever or otherwise?

As for the 'exhausting' part - how many people compile their own personal mental check lists of historic and cultural reference points as they walk about the grounds of a museum?

Scarpa? Check! Excavation site? Check! Travertine from the identical quarry as the Getty Center? Check!

But guess what! Nicki's right! I am now exhausted!

And just wait until The Gutter's plagiarism attack squad gets their paws on M & S's stealing from Scapra's moldering body!

So now we - finally, nearing the article's end - almost at the very end - get to the very few items he does have specific and actually quantified problems with.

And guess what?

None of them has anything to do with sophistication or historical references. Not one!

In fact - Nicki's problems are with with everything that is not sophisticated and historically accurate! His only stated problems seem to be with the scale of the project:

This sense is compounded by the scale of the addition. A restaurant with outdoor seating under a modern take on a classical canopy looms above the villa to the north. Just beyond, additional structures are scattered over the side of the hill: a fountain court, a 250-seat indoor theater and office buildings.

I might add the 'This sense' refers back to the historic reference points in the previous paragraphs. But exactly how well done historical reference points are 'compounded' by office buildings and a restaurant... is a massive Spruce Goose-sized flight of rhetorical fancy he - mercifully - does not even attempt to get off the ground. He just ... continues...

Like the main Getty complex in Brentwood, the ensemble feels like a corporate retreat, set at a slight remove from the city and the car culture that is at its heart. Its sense of complacency weighs on you.

So... a rural Roman villa might work better sitting on... Pico Boulevard? Maybe combined with a drive through restaurant (complete with drive-though vomitorium) so it can better become a part of our car culture?

Exactly how a complex he attacks for being too archaeologically correct and too sophisticated, now suddenly become too much of a corporate retreat? How can he say this compound looks like a 'corporate retreat' when another critic (who coincidentally also writes for the New York Times) calls the exact same compound, "an exquisite work of architecture." Particularly when the word 'exquisite' means... painfully beautiful, delicate, elegant, refined, dainty... and all the other usual words I know I would never use to describe a corporate retreat.

Oh - but, wait a second - that's what Nicki said!

The complex, designed by Machado & Silvetti Associates of Boston, is genuinely an exquisite work of architecture.

Right at the start of this article! I guess he was just too exhausted from contemplating all those historically correct architectural references he loved so much to remember what he had said in the third paragraph!

But what a prince of a guy! Two totally opposing viewpoints for the price of just one article! And then there's that extra added bonus! His revelation of the Getty Center's biggest secret - that invisible but heavy sense of complacency that weighs down on all who visit it.

And he is just so correct on this!

I know any time I am at the Getty Center, I can barely drag my poor old cowboy body around so weighted down am I by the place's complacency! And any time I find a wrestler who needs to make weight, I say - get yourself up to the Getty and and walk around!

Just suck up all that heavy complacency - and watch those pounds sweat off!

And, again, yes, I, of course fully (and, alas, increasingly, painfully as I wait for nowhere near instant enough pain relief to kick in) realize that if the new addition had been a whole lot more wonderfully gaudy and tacky - then Nicki would have (of course!) attacked it for being way too gaudy and too tacky!

Seriously - can anyone at all doubt that?

So before I further contemplate any of this, I better take two more two pills... and put in a rush order for an IV unit in my office.

This is because as a final bonus to his readers - besides his stunning Janus-like POV (alas, not MOS, I mean, MOP) on the addition, Sir Oafs-A-Lot also tries to deliver a few misguided arrows haphazardly flung at various LA targets. But I shall leave that for my next post - which shall be coming after my next cycle of self-administered medication. And, also forthcoming, will be my review of the LAT's review by Christopher Hawthorne.

So Stay Tuned!

Same Cowboy Channel!

Same Cowboy Time!

I Wasn't Going To Say Anything - Yet - About The LAT's Envelope Web Section --

... since, first, God knows I already have enough negative things to daily say about the LA Times and there are, after all, only so many hours in a day. Plus the Envelope is also an excellently produced, designed, edited and written site. But for the life of me, I can not figure out who the Envelope is being written for.

Is it supposed to be for Industry people? Well, I have been and am about to rejoin the Industry - but I can not imagine ever visiting this site - more than once. So I have no clue as to what the hell this site is supposed to be about or who it is supposed to be for; thus I was content to watch and wait and see what developed - or did not develop.

However, now that Kevin at LAOBSERVED has declared open season on it... dog pile time!

When the Times chose to stake its biggest website initiative on the dicey notion that Hollywood awards are a year-round obsession of its readers, my main fear was that the paper's urge to hype The Envelope would skew news judgment.

Well, the paper has managed to run a lot of items that fit the niche, and promotion on the main page has been ceaseless. Today the sizable promo box near the top right of the page - super prime news real estate - achieves a new low...

Well, that gives a pretty fair view of... his view.

My biggest problem, though, is that of all the things the LAT can attempt to attempt to futilely retain its few remaining, rapidly fleeing, readers, why this? It seems to me there are a multitude of things that can make the Tribune Company a lot more money than this site ever will. After all - who do you know who will check in several times a day to a site devoted to once a year awarded ... awards?

The only diabolic reasoning my devious little mind can deduce is that the Envelope is actually a nefarious stalking horse for a People Magazine/Us type site designed to suck in the demonstrably desirable demographic (if down market) ad dollars of those magazine's audiences; ergo, the LAT's fiendishly clever branding of the Envelope as an 'awards site' is really just a soon to be shockingly transparent journalistic cod piece for what will shortly become a 24/7 gossip site.

But could anyone at the LA Times actually be wonderfully Machiavellian enough to concoct anything so brilliantly clever?

Of course not!

So it must be something else.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

More Free Food At PE Lofts!

After the grand opening party two weeks ago at PE Lofts at 6th and Main, thirty - count them - 30! - police officers lined Main Street last night to welcome the Mayor and Councilwoman Jan Perry along with a small group of invited guests to another grand opening of the building. The officers turned out to be the recent grads of the police academy who start their tours of duty by walking a beat downtown to break them in.

Now as for the important news. No buffet tables, but lots of excellent finger food and lots of networking; by 4 PM anyone who was too busy to talk on the phone that afternoon just said - I'll see you at the party.

And everyone did.

But with the speed at which downtown is growing - with as many as 50,000 new people projected in the not too distant future, I wonder how long it will retain the small town feeling it still has where everyone knows everyone else.

News Flash! New York Times Makes Daring Case For Photography As Art!!

It's always entertaining to read what clueless headline writers stick on articles, particularly when they clearly have zero knowledge about the subject of the article. Below is the headline of an article published on the front of the NYT's art page on the website

By ALAN RIDING The works on display at Paris Photo, which closes this Sunday, make a daring argument for photography as art.

The article below is still a little late in staking photograph's claim as a fine art, but it is still a far cry from the web page head line:

Photos That Don't Capture Reality, but Change It

PARIS, Nov. 18 - If photography began escaping the shadow of painting a century ago, decades passed before it was widely recognized as an art unto itself. Today proof of its star status can be found in a four-day international fair called Paris Photo, which closes on Sunday. Clearly, the market for art photography is booming.

So here we have photography escaping the shadow of painting a century ago, and that it was some decades later before it was widely recognized as an art unto itself. So the idea that a single art fair - today - many, many decades later - can suddenly make a 'daring' argument for photography as a discrete art is... wonderfully clueless.

And, unfortunately, increasingly common.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Wyatt Earp Dry Gulched By LA Times! Example Of Blatant Dishonesty At Los Angeles Times!

First some background.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a LAT reporter about a particularly egregious story in the paper and how the Times, as usual, refused to correct any of the factual errors. The reporter agreed and sympathized with me, and then he/she added - "at least it's not as bad as the Wyatt Earp piece. "

My guard immediately went up. The very casual way this was imparted meant this reporter thought I already knew about this piece. So, clearly, this was a fiction I needed to protect. I thus tried to equally casually broach the subject, but the reporter, suddenly realizing I did not know anything - immediately shut up.

Later, I talked with another reporter (somewhat connected with the LAT magazine) and casually mentioned the LAT magazine was going to run the Wyatt Earp piece, and that reporter said - "You mean they' re actually going to finally run that?" Any effort to get further information was immediately shut down when that reporter also quickly figured out I knew nothing more about the story.

(hey, Dean - not only are your guys/gals smart - but they're also loyal!)

So what is a poor cowboy to do in a situation like this? Get out a trusty six shooter and dispense some frontier justice? Ride my horse into the lobby of the Times and demand satisfaction? No. In situation like this, there is only one correct course of action.


Two minutes later I found a blogger already complaining of being misquoted - even before the story even had run!

First, I'll let the blogger (publisher of True West Magazine, Bob Boze Bell) speak for himself:

October 28, 2005 The Los Angeles Times’ Sunday Magazine is doing an upcoming feature on Wyatt Earp and a fact checker from the paper named Meryl called me to go over my quotes (Leo Banks of Tucson wrote the piece some time ago and they’re finally getting set to run it on November 13th). The newest twist on fact checking is they won’t tell you the actual quotes. Evidently, people often try to soften or change what they said to protect themselves.

I understand the problem because we have sent articles to people mentioned in our mag, mostly to check for historical accuracy, and they invariably bridle at certain things and try to retract them, it’s only human. So Meryl's job is quite tricky. She said things like, "Did you say something about Wyatt Earp and a jerk?"

And I said, "Well, that depends on the context." I often tell the story of my grandmother in Kingman claiming “Wyatt Earp was the biggest jerk to ever walk the West." But that's her saying it, not me. And Meryl would say, “Well, that’s kind of what you’re quoted as saying,” and I would say, “read me the quote,” and she’d say, “I can’t.” And I’d say, “Then why are we talking?”

OK - he finds out he's been misquoted and he then tells the 'fact' checker that he has been misquoted. He then asks to have his quotes read back to him since it has now been established that the writer has lied about what he had told him and he wants to know how else he might have been misquoted.

But the LA Times fact checker refused to do so. Now Bell admits there are reasons why a fact checker might not read quotes back to interview subjects since they might want to have some second thoughts - but once the writer has been established as a liar - I think a little extra due diligence might be in order. But not at the LA Times, of course.

Cut to last Sunday, the article is published and here is the quote:,1,1063891.story?coll=la-headlines-magazine

True West's Bell, who says there's nothing in Old West history to match Earp mania, finds the hero worship fascinating. He describes Earp as a jerk. "But he was a brave jerk," says Bell.

OK - now let's see what Bell has to say about that:

... I was somewhat irked when I saw the actual quote in the Times that precipitated the irate Email to me.

Here’s the actual quote:“True West's Bell describes Earp as a jerk. ‘But he was a brave jerk, says Bell.’ As someone once said about Wyatt, all the bullet holes were in the front, I'll give him that much."

I have never described Earp as a jerk. I have always maintained that this is my grandmother's take on him. She is the one who claimed Wyatt Earp was a jerk. And...


I am more bugged with the LA Times and their policy of not reading the quote to me prior to publication. True, a fact checker did call me and asked me if I thought Wyatt Earp was a jerk, and my memory of the conversation is, I said, "No, I didn't say that. My grandmother did. Give me the context," and Little Miss Fact Checker declined (see archives of two weeks ago), and after three or four exchanges like this I finally said, "Well, I guess I just have to trust Leo to quote me correctly."

In Leo’s defense, I seem to remember him hammering me about the details of the "jerk" comment.

Actually, here’s Leo take on it:"in my notes i do indeed have you saying that about your grandmother ... but it sounded to me as if you agreed, with modifications ... i know your view of earp contains measures of admiration and revulsion ...

Now here we have person quoted saying he had never said Wyatt Earp was a jerk - which the LA Times knew before they published this article. Then we have the writer of the article admitting that he knew Bell was quoting his grandmother. Want to talk about... smoking gun?

The really odd thing is that after Banks admits he lied, he tries to weasel out of it by saying that with his special mind reading powers (OK - so I made up that part of it) he thought Bell thought Earp was a jerk and thus thought it was OK to falsify not only that quote, but also the first part of the second quote. And this is after Bell states that Banks had hammered him about the exact details of that quote. The really odd thing is that Bell is too polite and too much a gentleman - and they know each other - to take public offense about his friend lying about what he had said.

I mention that because in my next post on this subject I will go into the bizarre world of Earp 'scholars' and how Mr Bell's feeling this kind of lying is quite minor does, actually, make some sense in a field where entire books have been written based on non-existent or fictitious diaries, interviews and documents.

And I will also go into more detail on how Mr. Leo Banks has hoodwinked the LA Times into printing what is, at least in part, a work of fiction.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sticky Situation At LA Times! Cacti - Or Cactuses? And When Is A Cactus A Succulent And A Succulent A Cactus?

First, from the LA Times Correction Section:

Simi Valley mall - A photo caption in some editions of the Oct. 24 California section with an article about a mall opening in Simi Valley said workers were planting cactuses at the site. They were planting agaves.

Now to answer the second question, first, a cactus is always a succulent as all cacti are succulents, but a succulent is only a cactus - when it is a cactus and not another kind of succulent. An agave, thus, is always a succulent but never a... cactus. Too bad the Times in their correction did not take this opportunity to education their readers on this commonly made error.

Now as for the plural of cactus; the preferred and more correct word is cacti, though with the rapidly declining standards of the proper usage of the Latin/English terms in the popular (and not so popular, i.e. - the LA Times) press, the word 'cactuses' has reared its ugly head. However, even in these increasingly debased times in which we are forced to live, our Lord-God GOOGLE agrees that cacti if the preferred term by a margin of 3,171,000 to only 174,000 for the term the LA Times so mistakenly uses.

Bob Sipchen's Job Du Jour!

From Kevin at LAOBSERVED:

Bob Sipchen, the editorial architect of the Times' Current section (former Sunday Opinion), is moving back into the newsroom for a role in an as-yet-unannounced new initiative. Sipchen's departure from the second-floor opinion lair is not unexpected. He had thrived under former opinion editor Michael Kinsley, who brought him in from the Outdoors section (which Sipchen also started) to create Current.


Today's memo from Editor Dean Baquet... Does mention Sipchen's Pulitzer for editorial writing - and hints that the new initiative will involve the web and California.

OK, other than the fact poor old Bob just can't seem to hold down a steady job these days, this is good news. As much as I liked Outdoors, not that many people read it (the problem being that if you liked that kind of thing - you would never be caught dead reading the LA Times) and if anyone can even FIND Current buried in the Sunday Times, they are probably too tired by then to read it.

But with local coverage of LA being pretty slim pickings and the website being still in the 1.0 version on its good days, not only might Bob do some good in these areas, but he might even finally be working in part of the paper where he might actually get read.

As for the rumor that Bob was shown the door at Current three weeks after a certain unnamed cowboy was allowed to write an opinion piece in Current, that rumor is, of course, totally without merit.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Ovations Awards At Broadway's Orpheum Theater!

Just got back from the Los Angeles version of the Tony Awards - the Ovations - at Broadway's restored Orpheum Theater. It was great to see a gathering of all the theatrical tribes of not only LA, but much of Southern California. It was also just as great to see a vintage Broadway theater celebrating live theater.

Ann Magnuson was our hostess and she was as funny and as hot as ever - even though she had a little trouble distinguishing lie from lay... but we won't go there... and it was particularly nice to hear so many people speak fondly of their feelings for old theaters and even more cool to hear people both on and off stage tell of their memories of the Orpheum itself.

Life time achievement winner Luis Alfaro in particular spoke of the Orpheum being the first theater he was allowed to see a movie by himself in the 1970's and how he watched 'Swiss Family Robinson all day - and well into the night, show after show.

How badly child welfare was neglecting its job back in the 1970's, however, was not brought up.

But - other than that - it was a great night for theater and a great night for our very own Broadway.

In fact, very soon - we might all just discover how great a night last night could turn out to be.

Stay tuned.

Monday, November 14, 2005

LA Times Innocent In Grievous Error - And Takes The High Road About It!

Below is the Error as reported in the LA Times:

Drucker obituary - An obituary for management guru Peter F. Drucker in Saturday's Section A reported incorrect information on his survivors. The article said Drucker's son, Vincent Drucker, lived in San Rafael, Calif. He lives in Dallas. The article also said daughter Cecily Drucker lived in San Francisco. She lives in Mill Valley, Calif. The name of another daughter, Kathleen Spivack of Watertown, Mass., was omitted from the list of survivors. Also, daughter Joan Winstein was identified as Joan Weinstein. Audrey Drucker was incorrectly identified as one of Drucker's daughters.

And the New York Times made the same error - but stated that they had received the information from the Claremont Graduate School, long time employer of Peter Drucker, in understated way, but the LATimess chose to make not mentionn of where the error came from which I though showed considerable sensitivity.


I did first see the error in LAOBSERVED which did not then mention the NYT error, but LAOBSERVED now also makes note of the NYT error and also notes its mention of the error source of the error.

More On Conservator Fraud,0,3305612.story?page=1&coll=la-home-local

The problems of the elderly being defrauded court appointed by criminal conservators has been told many Times in the LA Times over the decades - and nothing has changed. Hopefully, this in depth series will finally get Sacramento to address the problem. But is it is clear that something need to be done immediately. If these articles are an indication of the present situation, most of the conservators in this state need to be put out of business and quite a few judges need to be removed from office.

Until then, though, all awarding of conservatorships should halt - immediately - in the state until even the most basis reforms take place.

It should be impossible for a court to award a conservatorship without family knowledge. It shoudl be impossible for a conservator to nominate himself to become a person's conservator. It should be easy to remove a conservator. Any judge who appoints a conservator without checking them out on the Registry, should be guilty of a felony.

And there are dozens more reforms than need to be considered, but first there needs to be a quick fix to stop any more people with being saddled with corrupt conservators and a way for people to free themselves from those who are stealing from them.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

It's Offical! Fire Steve Lopez As A 'City' Columnist And Hire Him As An Investigative Reporter - And Hire Mark Swed As Our City Columist!,0,5207639.story?coll=cl-calendar

In the above article Mark Swed talks about the director of the St. Lous Symphony and tell me more about the City of St. Louis than Steve Lopez has told me about LA - since he's been here.

It Would Be Nice If The People Who Wrote The Headlines Actually Had Read The Stories...

A Home for 1,082 Penguins - A New Mexico couple have become perhaps the first people to own the complete collection of the Penguin Classics Library. Go to Article

That is on the front page of the New York Times Website today.

Two things ran though my mind. First, I had thought quite a few more than 1,082 Penguins had been issued and, secondly, with so many collectors - collecting them (and entire stores specializing in selling used ones) - and their cheapness being due to the fact the printed so many of each title - how could one couple - just now - be the first to get a complete set?

So... how many strikes before calling this headline a... strike out?


In September, Ms. Gursky received a birthday gift from her husband that earned her the envy of her book-loving friends: the complete collection of the Penguin Classics Library, 1,082 books sold only by for nearly $8,000.


Not since Penguin started the collection in 1946, however, has anyone been able to easily compile or purchase a complete set of the books, which range from ancient Greek poetry to the novels of Thomas Pynchon and include the complete works of Shakespeare, four translations of the "Iliad," 20 volumes each of the works of Henry James and Dickens. (The complete list can be found at by searching for "Penguin Classics Library.")


Despite its daunting scope, the Penguin Classics Complete Collection is not actually complete. Penguin lists some 1,300 titles in its catalog but included only 1,082 in the Amazon collection. "We included every title in stock at sufficient levels to ensure the continued availability of the collection," Mr. McCall explained. "In the final analysis, there were approximately 200 titles that did not make the cut due to limited availability, most often because they were on our schedule to be completely revised."


Amazon will not say how many sets have been sold so far or who has bought them, citing the need to protect the buyers' privacy. Penguin seems not to know who the buyers are other than Ms. Gursky, who acknowledged her ownership in a review of the collection on Amazon's Web site. Mr. McCall said that Penguin has shipped "one to two sets a week" to Amazon since it began selling the collection in mid-June.

OK... this couple does not own a complete set of Penguin Library; they only have 1,082 of the 1300 in currently in print. Not addressed, are those Penguins no longer in print. Third - the article says AMAZON started selling the series in... June... and that they sell one to two sets a week. Then the article says referenced couple bought their set in... September, three months after other people started buying the admittedly incomplete library. So even when it comes to this abbreviated version of the 'complete' Penguin Library, they were clearly not the first to buy even this truncated version. So when does someone at the New York Times ... notice this?

Downtown's PE (Pacific Electric) Lofts Grand - And I Mean GRAND - Opening Party!

To paraphrase my infamous opening night comment during the 1992 FAR Bizarre art show in old Federal Reserve Building (also soon to open as lofts) - not only was everyone single person you know or have ever known in downtown or in real estate there - but every single person you will ever know or will ever meet in downtown or in real estate development was there.

But by the time I hit the fifth buffet table (one of which alone had four or five kinds of just fish) - even I had to hoist the white flag of surrender. And still lying in wait was the dietary minefield of the dessert room, the seductions of sushi room, and did I yet mention the two walls lined with tables of out of season fruits? In fact, when I first stated to type this last week (the opening was two Saturdays ago), I was munching on a couple of loquats I smuggled out of the party.

But enough about the food - let's talk about what the whole evening was really about.


Well, not exactly strippers - but an amazing group of over 40 burlesque stars - all very cool, very funny - and very, very sexy in a wonderfully wholesome way. And the band wasn't bad, either.

OK, now. We've now hit the first two basic human needs.

Food, sex - so now its time for... real estate.

The above article in the Downtown News explains that the once feared glut of rentals downtown due to so many people buying condos (and most new buildings pre-sell out in one day) - has not happened. In fact, the above mentioned PE lofts is already over 71% leased!

More Great Investigative Reporting At The Los Angeles Times! Guardians Who Do Not Guard!,0,7048390.special?coll=la-home-headlines

At his recent Zocalo appearance, LA Times Editor Dean Baquet said the Times was increasing its investigative reporting and he has already kept his word. The just started series on the abuses committed within the Guardian system (written by Robin Fields, Evelyn Larrubia and Jack Leonard) is a superb and worthy addition to Steve Lopez's series on Homelessness on Skid Row (which was an investigative series and NOT just the five columns that Baquet has deluded himself into thinking), Cara Mia Massa and Steve Winton's - among others - series on the 'dumping' homeless or criminal or indigent physically sick or mentally ill individuals in Downtown and, of course, the never ending criminal abuses at King-Drew Hospital and the Getty Museum.

There is little that needs to be added to the above story, only the hope that the editorial page will chime in at the end with recommendations on should happen to fix this problem - and what actions we as citizens can take to implement these needed actions.

One final note, though.

If the LA Times is at all serious about solving these problems, publisher Jeff Johnson will announce that all past - and all future investigative reports - will NOT vanish behind the pay to view curtain at the Times. Instead, he should announce that they will all forever remain free and accessible and that a separate page on the website will link to all past - and future - investigative reports. A page, I might add, that should be able to generate considerable on-line advertising revenues due to the demographics of the people who would view it and the reports themselves.

Making that information publicly available will be a great a public service; almost as great a public service as keeping everything else at the LA Times hidden behind a pay-per-view wall.

Sorry... just couldn't resist...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Amazing Pieces Of American History Being Returned To US - Hopefully!

At at time when the Getty is being forced to return tens of millions of dollars in art works to Italy and Greece, four flags from the American Revolutionary War are being returned from England to New York for auction:

Stripes, Stars and Dollar Signs

The war veterans who once revered them and followed them - and then lost them - are all long gone. But now, their battle standards, taken by the enemy, have at last returned to American soil after two and a quarter centuries.

The flags are believed to date from the Revolutionary War and to have been seized by a notorious British cavalry officer, Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton.

On Oct. 28, the four flags arrived in New York from the south of
England, where they had been privately hung as wall trophies by Tarleton's descendants.

Their sudden re-emergence, like the awakening of a martial Rip Van Winkle, has caused a stir in military and historical circles, to the intense satisfaction of Sotheby's, the auction house. It hopes to sell the flags next year for a total of $4 million to $10 million.

Such an improbably grand price for four faded pieces of fragile, hand-stitched and hand-painted silk derives from their origin as "sacred and vivid relics of the birth our nation," said David N. Redden, a vice chairman of Sotheby's in Manhattan.

"Flags of such rarity and history have never come up for sale," said Mr. Redden, who has an auction tentatively scheduled for next June 14 - Flag Day.

Now Los Angeles museums have nothing of this emotional impact from our nation's founding. But the odds of anyone in LA buying even one of these unique pieces of American History for our city is, of course, zero. Not only do we not have a museum about the history of our country, or of our state - we are also the only city of any size that does not even have a history of its own history.

Mangling Of English Language At New York Times...On Up Swing Again!

For some time, the ability to correctly use the English language - never one of my strong points, I must admit, has fallen far below even barely literate cowboy standards at the New York Times. But... finally... one example today was so blatant one wonders how a professional writer could have even written it, much less how the many editors who must have read it could not have noticed it:

November 11, 2005

France Faces a Colonial Legacy: What Makes Someone French?


PARIS, Nov. 10 - Semou Diouf, holding a pipe in one hand and a cigarette in the other, stood amid the noisy games of checkers and cards in the dingy ground-floor common room of a crowded tenement building and pondered the question of why he feels French...

OK, so far. And, then...

...The country's colonial legacy has only deepened that alienation. Rachid Arhab, one of the only well-known minority broadcast journalists in France...

And, of course, 'only' means - one. So the phrase 'one of the only' is... well... nonsense.

A correct phrase could be, 'one of the few'... as in, 'The New York Times at one time was one of the few newspapers in which proper English was once used".

Great Christpher Knight Story On Getty In Sunday LA Times!,0,4997111.story?track=widget

Very focused, not the broad overview he will hopefully soon do - but lethally accurate.
Just read for now - my comments, later.

Ok - back from grand opening of the former St. Vibiana Cathedral - with lots of networking on how to get Broadway theater back on Broadway; but more on that later. Meanwhile back at the ranch, I mean, the Getty.... Knight superbly lays out just one of the many cases to be made against the continued reign of Barry Munitz at the Getty:

Christopher KnightTimes Staff Writer November 13, 2005

The board of the J. Paul Getty Trust has formed a special committee to examine the burgeoning controversies that have engulfed the institution, the nation's third-largest private philanthropy, over the course of the last year. One might say it's about time.One might also say it's a day late and a dollar short. (Or $5.2 billion short, given the Getty's vast wealth.) Not only does this plan not pass the smell test, it's an offense to the olfactory system.

To be meaningful, a review committee should be independent and pristine, without a whiff of conflicting interests. Instead, this one seems designed to embrace a hot national trend: cronyism.The Getty troubles trace back to trust President Barry Munitz — to serious questions about his management of the city's most important art institution and the troubling possibility of misuse of Getty funds.

Yet all three trustees named to serve with the board's chairman and vice chairman on the new committee have close personal and business ties to Munitz.Worse, two of them connect to the chief executive through the same business relationship that launched the controversies in the first place.


Munitz has served on the corporate boards of two companies founded by Broad — AIG SunAmerica and KB Home. The special Getty trustee committee now assigned to review his actions includes AIG SunAmerica's chief executive, Jay Wintrob, a Broad protégé.

A second committee member, Luis Nogales, sits with Munitz on AIG SunAmerica's board and on the board of KB Home. Rounding out the friendly trio is Lloyd Cotsen, who heads a local family foundation. Munitz sits on that foundation's board.

Can anyone reasonably expect an independent review from this group? The severely compromised committee is a symptom of the Getty's deep-rooted problem, not its solution.Remarkably, the coziness doesn't end there.

The board has also retained a well-regarded outside attorney, Ronald L. Olson, to assist in the inquiry into the trust's practices, launched last summer by the state attorney general's office. But, like Munitz directing his staff to create an outward show of distance from the land sale to Broad, the board has fabricated an appearance of diligent impartiality.

The "outside attorney" represents the company headed by the spouse of the special committee's vice chair, Louise Bryson. By now you will not be stunned to learn that his elite law firm has also worked for KB Home.


The festering problems at the Getty Trust burst into view in October 2004, following the abrupt resignation of Getty Museum director Deborah Gribbon from one of the most coveted posts in the field. Without elaborating, Gribbon cited sharp philosophical differences with Munitz. Since then the scene has grown increasingly bleak.

How did things get so bad?At the time I noted one root cause: Munitz, since taking the helm in 1998, has done what a corporate chief executive would do. He remade the board in his own image.More than half the 13 board members joined during Munitz's tenure. (Another joined this summer, and in 2006 two more who were appointed before he became chief executive will be replaced.)

Like him, all are wealthy, even though the Getty does not need trustee donations. Reflecting his own art-free background, business and education figures dominate the board. Some are collectors, but there's not a scholar, artist, intellectual or major L.A. art figure in sight. And unlike other arts organization boards, this one is only managing OPM: Other People's Money. Getty trustees have little invested in the institution they oversee.


Subsequent disclosures of Munitz's lavish compensation, travel and other perks — many of them unheard of in the philanthropic field — were equally shocking. Getty money seemed to have changed uses during his tenure, since the annual average spent buying art — the lifeblood of the institution — had simultaneously declined by one-third when adjusted for inflation. The roof promptly fell in.

When that happens to a nonprofit, the exasperated question is always, "Where was the board?" Oversight is the trustees' mandate. But that's the wrong question. In practice, board oversight is faith-based: Enormous confidence is placed in the organization's officers.Boards are composed of successful people, and successful people are busy.

The Getty board is small and meets only quarterly. The chairman, John Biggs, lives on the East Coast. Practically speaking, the board's oversight is limited. Consider Munitz's own example. Part of his argument for his unusually large compensation package is that the Getty is an unusually large institution, with exceptional management complexities.

Yet while running it he has also had time to sit on more than a dozen other corporate and nonprofit boards. How much oversight can be expected from him, as chief executive or trustee?A truer gauge of board supervision comes in trustees' response to a crisis.

The Getty board has flunked that test. For nearly a year it has remained largely silent, obstreperous or stalled. And now this "special committee" fiasco. The board's inaction mirrors Munitz's mishandling of the most recent Getty scandal.

The museum's antiquities curator, Marion True, resigned last month, just ahead of revelations about a personal loan arranged with the help of an art dealer with whom she had done millions of dollars in museum business. Getty lawyers informed trust officials about the deal in 2002 — but nothing happened. Munitz was not in charge when the loan was arranged, but by 2002 he had been chief executive for more than four years. His failure to deal with the ethical breach was a disaster.

The one point I would like to add here is that at the center of every aspect of this debacle is the moral and ethical black hole of the Getty - board chair John Biggs. At single step of the Times' investigation, the buck has stopped at his doorstep and not once has there been any evidence he ever did anything to stop the abuses at the Getty. There also even appears to be some question if kept the rest of the board informed of what was going on.

Finally... Knight's conclusion:

The board must learn the sober lesson of the Marion True debacle: It should dump its embarrassing committee, put Munitz on administrative leave and do the hard work of deciding whether that leave should be permanent.

Needless to say, the hard work is not in realizing that Munitz must go - the hard part is for the board to grow some balls and fire him. And then - equally importantly - the board needs to start firing themselves - starting with the chief co-conspirator - John Biggs.


Realized that everyone might not know the background on this 'independent' review:

My post on it with link to LA Times article announcing it:

Totally clueless LA Times Editorial on subject proving that even they don't read the news pages of the LA Times:,0,3534734.story?coll=la-news-comment-editorials

Creating a review panel is a first step toward addressing those issues. It helps that the members have a good track record outside the Getty when it comes to corporate governance, particularly committee head and board Chairman John Biggs, former chief executive of retirement fund manager TIAA-CREF.

But that's not enough. Their work won't be credible without the involvement of independent experts.To that end, the committee has hired attorney Ronald L. Olson, a legal heavyweight with extensive experience serving on or advising corporate and nonprofit boards.

Although he has indirect links to some of the committee members, Olson has no formal connection to the Getty. Biggs pledged that Olson and his firm will have "a completely free hand."The trustees view much of the controversy around Munitz as unwarranted, yet the committee plans to have Olson review every bit of spending by the CEO. It plans similar scrutiny of the museum's antiquities policies and the art it has acquired.

The committee now needs to stay out of Olson's way. The institution has taken a lot of hits. He's got plenty of ground to cover.

Joel Stein was rummored to have ghost written this editorial, but he refused to take credit. He said that everyone knows he isn't that funny.

Finally, my post on additional dirt on the independent review from Tyler Green:

Curbed LA Gets - Mugged! Left Lying In The ... Gutter!

It's never a pretty sight. Innocent, young college boys... wander into the big city... and end lying in the... gutter... bloodied and bruised...

Well, maybe it's not pretty - but it's sure a lot of fun to watch!

The Mayor and a slew of dignitaries attended the groundbreaking of two new Downtown residential towers and the topping of a third on October 27th, according to a press release from the South Group:

More than 600 people, including the Mayor and City Councilmember Jan Perry, joined the South Group development team in toasting downtown L.A.'s new "South" community. The event featured the topping off of Elleven, and the groundbreaking of Luma and Evo, the South Group's trio of residential towers that are the first new ground-up buildings in downtown L.A. in 20 years.

Now granted our young innocents are quoting a... press release from a... developer, but still...

Now there are, of course, a number of ways to read the phrase ...'first new ground-up buildings in Downtown LA in 20 years'. Fortunately for us range experienced cowboys - every one of them is deliciously wrong!

First, by just saying, buildings - then civic buildings such as Disney Hall built long after 1985 - which was the date 20 years ago - would make that statement wrong. So, OK, let's take pity on these... greenhorns... and exclude those buildings.

Now it could also mean commercial office buildings - except that many of the major high rises downtown were finished in the 1990's - such as the Gas Company, 801 Fig, and many others, so, let's do these poor, hapless dudes a favor and exclude them, too.

OK - then let's say they really meant to say... housing, except... well, just a very few blocks away are several subsidized from the ground up affordable housing buildings that have been recently constructed, one of them just two years old.

OK - let's make it really hard on me and restrict it to - market rate from the ground up housing.

But no! Still wrong!

With easy walking distance of the alleged first new building in 20 years are the City Lights apartments - which have been occupied for some time, and other residential buildings built from 1994 until the present day.

So what about... the first newly built condos?


Just steps away is a condo building in which brand new condo units were built on top of an older building, making them brand new construction.

OK. Now I've got it! Now I know how to make that statement true! They mean this is the first from the ground up market rate residential building in twenty years that is also being built to be sold as condos! That must be it!

But - No!

At Third and San Pedro the Teramachi from the ground up for sale market rate condo project broke ground almost a full year before this building broke ground.

So, of course, the answer is - again - No!

Welcome to the Cowboy's range city boys! And a tip to too trusting Trojans - unless you want to end up back in the ... gutter... again.... don't take any wooden nickels - and don't believe everything you're told in the Big City!

Unless, of course, it's told to you by a Bruin wearing cowboy boots and a cowboy hat!

Eli Broad Continues To Buy For Los Angeles!

While everyone else is either selling their art or donating it to museums outside of Los Angeles -
Eli Broad continues his buying ways.

November 12, 2005
Arts, Briefly

Record-Setting Buyer Identified

The mystery surrounding the buyer of David Smith's monumental sculpture at Sotheby's on Wednesday night is over. Joanne Heyler, director and chief curator of the Broad Art Foundation in Los Angeles, confirmed yesterday that Eli Broad, the Los Angeles financier, had purchased "Cubi XXVIII".

Mr. Broad paid $23.8 million for the elegantly composed steel sculpture, the last work in Smith's most desirable series. It was the highest price paid for any artwork during the last two weeks of Impressionist, modern and contemporary art auctions, and the highest ever paid for a work of contemporary art sold at auction. "He bought the sculpture for his own personal collection," Ms. Heyler said of Mr. Broad in a telephone interview. "

But he realizes that it is a museum-quality piece, and so he intends to lend it to museums." Besides gracing his home in Los Angeles, Ms. Heyler said, the sculpture will be displayed at the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, a new building that will be part of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

This week Mr. Broad also bought a 1961 painting by Cy Twombly, "Untitled (Rome)," for $7.9 million, also at Sotheby's. "That was also for his personal collection," Ms. Heyler said. "But it, too, will go on museum walls." CAROL VOGEL

Friday, November 11, 2005

LA Times Editorial Page Changes.

First the big news from Kevin at LAOBSERVED; besides Robert Scheer being let go - editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez is also fired.

The editorial cartoonist that liberals love to hate, Michael Ramirez, is not part of the new Times op-ed lineup announced today by Editor of the Editorial Pages Andrés Martinez. You might consider it the flip side of the earlier news about Robert Scheer, the longtime columnist who conservatives love to hate

Now Scheer, I can understand. I always love to read an intelligent defense of ideas I do not hold, but Scheer - besides his inability to get his facts straight - blusters rather than reasons his way though his arguments. Plenty of fire, but too little light.

But Ramirez surprises me. He is a brilliant cartoonist. And while I do not always agree with his viewpoints - particularly on abortion (and it would not surprise me if that was part of the reason for his removal) - he always made me think about any issue he addressed and many of his images still remain in my mind. Both fire and light were always present. So while I can understand the stated decision to not have just one editorial cartoonist - which does make sense, to completely lose a talent such as his... is inexplicable.

Kevin Roderick may be right in saying that firing Ramirez is to make the firing of Scheer more palatable to the left. That done, lets look at the new line-up of columnists. And after I looked through this very often distinguished list, my first response was... why bother?

I say this because with subscribers rapidly vanishing from the Times and the paper being under increasing attack for not having an LA voice (or even making an effort to reach out out to the community) - this line-up completely baffles me. This list simply does not even attempt to address or acknowledge why the paper has lost touch with its readers - much less attempt to do anything about it.

I will go through them one by one.

1. Gregory Rodriguez - Great! I get to start with an easy one. He is a wonderful addition to the line-up. He's got the LA thing down, the Latino thing down, and he's bright and a pretty good writer to boot. Does cover a somewhat specific aspect of LA, though, rather than a whole picture columnist, but in his case - that 's fine. A perfect Sunday columnist.

2. Also on Sunday, New Republic Senior Editor, Jon Chait - Washington wonk. And that's the problem. A solid writer who knows how to support his views but... I can already read him in a lot of places. I don't need the LA Times to do that and I do not ever recall reading anything by him that I wasn't also reading someplace else. For Sunday - why now a new, unique voice? Someone who is not saying the same thing in the same way that everyone is saying?

3. Niall Ferguson - now this is a tough one. I am a huge fan. He is brilliant historian and he says things no one else is saying. He will be a must read of mine. So to me - a grand slam. But about the average reader of the LA Times? Will they care about what he has to say about Realpolitick? I think he might be a better fit on Sunday with other columnists so that people can gradually discover him when they read the Sunday paper.

4. Joel Stein. Now on Tuesday - and you thought Monday was the worst day of the week. Actually, about a month ago - Joel did a brilliant column and I may even get around to posting that still only half-spell checked post. But even if he was a consistently entertaining writer, the LA Times' conceit of having people not from LA writing about LA is an experiment that has proven disastrous - and my prediction is - will continue to be disastrous, with only very rare exceptions.

5. Max Boot, Wednesday - Ex-Wall Street Journal writer, always worth reading, but... there are several others whom I would rather read who deliver the same views. I don't see why it is necessary to go back east to get someone with his viewpoint.

6. Erin Aubry Kaplan - Really like her as a writer, has a very specific LA viewpoint and is in many ways an excellent choice. Again, my main problem with this line-up is that there is no one who is really covering LA as a whole. It would be great to have a half-dozen Erin Aubry Kaplan's to cover different facets of the LA experience - but why can't we also have a few writers who actually look at all of LA as a city?

7. Jonah Goldberg - Again excellent writer and really knows how to sell his positions. And more intune with LA readers than Max Boot, in many ways. Will read his column each week.
But if there are going to be two conservative columnists - why can't one of them be from LA and be able to opine on LA as well as just national issues?

8. Patt Morrison. The only question here is... why here? She is a long time LA writer who should be in every section of the paper - so why tether her to a column? It makes no sense. She needs to be all over the paper and in depth. As it stands, it appears this means there will be a lot less Morrison in the LA Times, which is a bad thing.

UPDATE -- According to LAOBSERVED, Patt Morrison is now only in the LAT once a week so tehr is no change in her status contemplated. LAO also correctly spelled her name with two t's as I shall try to - once again - attempt to remember to do. My original point, though, that there is too little of ... Patt... remains.

9. Rosa Brooks - Friday. Now this one is a total mystery . From day one she has been an embarrassment to the LA Times. The idea that there are not a hundred writers in LA who can not do a better job than whatever it is she is supposed to be doing - is an insult to every writer in this city.

10. Meghan Daum - Saturday - and billed as a local writer since she has lived in LA for... almost two years. They just don't get it - do they?

However, there is one problem. She is absolutely... alas!... brilliant; a great writer with a seductive prose style that makes me not even care where she is from or what it is she is writing about ... I just want to wallow in her words.

Not to mention she's pretty hot looking. Yes, LA will love her. She has a unique voice (and not so bad legs, either) and - hopefully - she might even someday develop a great LA voice.

OK - out of the ten how many of them are new, wonderful uniquely LA voices who will tell us all about the great city we live in?

None, of course.

And that is the problem. Every LA writer getting a weekly column either already writes for the Times or has written for the Times. And - still - no effort is being made to get a more than once a week column that is written about Los Angeles. As usual, Los Angeles remains the very last thing that Los Angeles Times is interested in covering.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Bill Rosendahl Versus Andres Martinez On The LA Times Editorial Page!,1,5611227.story

My first response when reading this editorial was that someone, somewhere... had a very bad morning.

...THE ILLOGIC OF CITY COUNCILMAN Bill Rosendahl's motion before the council's Transportation Committee is breathtaking.

While saying bus-only lanes on Wilshire Boulevard are highly desirable and have "the potential to make transit a viable option - by reducing the time spent commuting," it goes on to propose that the existing bus-only lanes on the route be removed.... where one lane in each direction is now open only to buses during peak hours, complain that the resulting loss of street parking is hurting (local businesses) badly.

Rosendahl's motion says it is unfair for them to suffer while other jurisdictions have refused to extend the bus lanes.... Memo to Rosendahl: You can't persuade other officials to make a political sacrifice by failing to make it yourself....... At its next session Wednesday, the Transportation Committee should flatten Rosendahl's motion like a Prius in the bus lane.

My second thought was that whoever wrote this editorial was also writing their blog at the same time and got confused as to which one they were writing at that moment. Either that or they were cut off by Rosendahl on their way to work...

Now ignoring the specifics of this issue, I would like to make a point about Rosenthdal. He is not your typical politician. He also does not say - or do - typical politician things. And that is a good thing. The one problem is that he can be misunderstood at times with his willingness to throw out ideas in his attempt to start debates - which, as usual - he certainly did on this issue with the crowd that flooded the council committee yesterday.

And, much earlier, when he expressed his concerned about certain aspects of Neighborhood Councils as a candidate, and when he was then appointed as chair of the Education and Neighborhoods Committee, a lot of NC leaders felt that the fox had been let into the hen house. But that feeling soon passed.

Yesterday, for example, the council file motion was brought up (this would allow NC's to place actions before a council committee) and as each speaker asked him to put it on the agenda, he gave a very specific response to what each speaker said. And then his response to the second to last speaker was that he felt this issue should be considered by the commission that was going to be studying Neighborhood Councils. And even NC supporter Janice Hahn had to admit that idea had some merit, even though this would mean a more than two year delay.

But when I countered with the concept of implementing this ordinance now and then using it as one of the yard sticks to judge how well NC's are functioning (and agreeing to sunset the ordinance at the time the commission's recommendations were going to be implemented) - he thought about that and decided that idea was now worth considering now - and he ordered the item to be placed on the agenda.

The point is, he looks at each issue from a very pragmatic viewpoint and does not get stuck into the quagmire of either political correctness or the what's going to be the most politic thing to do or say, either. And when he communicates with other council colleagues or the public, he engages in a true dialogue without fear of saying the 'wrong thing'.

So... Andres - chill out, Dude!

Breakout the old surf board!

And consider one less Coffee Bean stop on your way to work.

Bill's a good guy... so cut him some slack.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

LA Times Dueling Circulation Figures - Explained?

For those of you who have a life and have not followed the moving target of how many fewer newspapers the LA Times is selling this year than last year - and what percentage that drop has been... dropping... a recap!

1. Article appeared in Editor and Publisher saying that the LA Times had average circulation over a six month period of 843,432 and that was a decline of 6.5% from the previous year's six month average circulation. Another article in the same paper gave the same circulation figure, but said there was a decline of 3.79% and that 33,184 fewer papers had been sold on average than in the last year

2. Then other articles came out also saying the figure was 843,432, and also saying that the rate of decline was now 3.8%.

3. E & P correction after I talked to reporter:

* An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the Los Angeles Times' daily circulation decline to be 6.5%. The higher number arose from an erroneous comparison of earlier Monday-Saturday numbers to the paper's current Monday-Friday figure. The correct weekday circulation decline is 3.7%.

6. So now Editor & Publisher agrees in both articles that the WEEKDAY figures are - Los Angeles Times 843,432 -33,184 -3.79% or -3.7%.

7. Next LA Times Press release by Publisher:
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 7, 2005 For the six months ended Sept. 30, 2005, the Los Angeles Times reported a six-day Monday-Saturday average circulation of 869,819, a decline of 3.6 percent from the prior year.

8. LA Times News article published same day as press release:

The most recent circulation declines at the Mercury News, the Herald and the Inquirer came to a cumulative 3.7%. Among bigger papers, the Los Angeles Times' average weekday circulation fell 3.8% to 843,432 .

Ok - Now we're getting somewhere. It may be a deep, bottomless pit, filled with disgusting and slimmy creatures, but at least now there is beginning to be a there... there.

E & P and the LA Times News Department agrees that the WEEKDAY six month average is...843,432, i.e. Monday - Friday. The Publisher of the LA Times states that the Monday - Saturday average is....869, 919.

So now we know why this figure differs.

And in last September the LA Times gave a figure of 902,164 for its average Monday - Saturday six month circulation figure.

But that still leaves one question. Actually two. Since we are dealing with a duck (week day, i.e., Mon-Fri) and a mongoose (daily i.e., Mon-Sat) how come both the duck... and the mongoose have almost the rate of decline of... 3.7%? Well, actually... we have the figures of 3.6% for the six day week given by the LAT's press release but for the five day week we have... 3.8%, 3.79% and 3.7%. Close, but not exactly the same.

Secondly, if you subtract the LAT Mon- Sat numbers from last year to this year you get - a little over 32,000.

But... in the E & P site, a little over 33,000 is given as the numbers of readers lost when they are using the Mon-Fri number of 843,432 as the current circulation number.

Again, very close, but not exactly the same. So is it possible that the number of subscriptions lost in the past year and the percentage declines of each time period are almost... identical? That would, of course, mean that the LA Times is like the famous 'On-Horse Shay' - each part decaying at an equal rate so that one day - it will all just fall apart.

Coincidence? Check in tomorrow.

I Give Up! It's Down The Rabbit Hole Time!! The World Has Gone Mad!!!


After a phone call with Jennifer Saba - the following correction is now on Editor and Publisher:

* An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the Los Angeles Times' daily circulation decline to be 6.5%. The higher number arose from an erroneous comparison of earlier Monday-Saturday numbers to the paper's current Monday-Friday figure. The correct weekday circulation decline is 3.7%.

Now this still leave some questions. We now have the new circulation figure number- but what was the old circulation figure for Monday through Saturday? And how can we find a new Monday to Friday figure to see what size that decline in? Has there been any change in the calcuations from past reporting periods?

And why does the LAT's publisher and news desk have two different circulation figures?

Curious bloggers want to know. Below is my original post:

Now I know there has to be SOME explanation for why none of the figures for the LA Times circulation make sense or why everyone seems to have different versions of the same numbers. To give you just one idea how screwed up this all is, here are two links to Editor and Publisher:

New FAS-FAX Report Brings More Circ Declines

By Jennifer Saba Published: November 07, 2005 8:14 AM ET

NEW YORK The March FAS-FAX set off landmines with reports of steep declines at many papers, most prominently some top Tribune Co. properties. The September numbers are not much more encouraging.Here are some specifics from the new FAS-FAX report -- released at 8 a.m. Monday -- compared to September 2004:

The San Francisco Chronicle's daily circ is down 16.5% to 400,906 copies, a huge drop. Sunday circulation fell 13.5% to 467,216. The Los Angeles Times is down about 6.5% to 843,432 daily copies. On Sunday the paper reported a decrease of roughly 3.4% to 1,247,588 copies.

Now the first page says the LA Times has a 6.5% yearly decline. But click on the 20 largest papers link on that same page and....

And it appears, these numbers may be... again, may be... for prior six months - and not the prior year.

Top 20 Papers By Circulation, According to New FAS-FAX By E&P Staff Published: November 07, 2005 11:11 AM ET

NEW YORK The numbers are in, and they're not good. Eighteen out of the top 20 papers reported weekday circulation losses in the most recent FAS-FAX report, including sharp drops at the San Francisco Chronicle (-16.58%) and the Boston Globe (-8.25%). Below are average weekday circulation (Table 1) and Sunday circulation (Table 2) figures of America's 20 biggest newspapers for the six-month period ended Sept. 30, as reported Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.Average Weekday Circulation

septa. 2005 circa

Los Angeles Times 843,432 -33,184 -3.79%

Here the LA Times - suddenly - has gone from a 6.5% drop to 3.79% drop and a loss of only 33,000 subscribers. Neither of which is true. First, every other newspaper on both lists - has the same percentage drop on each page - except for the LA Times. Ergo - these must be the same numbers and time period on each page. But why, then, does the LAT's decline, dramatically decline here and yet no other paper's rate does so?

Clearly, this number - or some number - must be wrong. The other oddity is the 33,000 drop in readers. Odd because - it ain't so if you read the raw numbers that are given! Below are the previous six month numbers of the last two years from that same survey as found on the LA Times website with the exception of one correction they have never made. These are the average six month figures for the following weekday time periods:

March 2005 - September 2005 843,432
September 2004 - March 2005 907,997
March 2004 - September 2004 902,164
September 2003 - March 2004 970,802
(now the Times once claimed 983,727 for that period, but it was later reduced by auditors to the lower figure)

First, clearly, in either the last six months - or in the last one year - the Times lost a hell of a lot more readers than 33,000 readers. In fact, 65,000 in the last six months.

Second, as for as the Time's claim that they were losing readers at half the rate they were in March....,0,5329071.story?coll=la-mediacenter-releases

I'd sure like to see how they calculated that. It seems as if they are taking daily averages in the month of September and measuring them against the month of March - or the six months ending at the March period. Zero real data is supplied, though.

But back in the real world, the percentage decline during the past six month was the highest of the four periods! A very slightly larger number of reader were lost in the first half year shown, but with lower number of current subscribers, the loss is greater now than ever before.

And that is even counting the fact that fewer and fewer of those the Times claims are subscribers - aren't really paying for the paper as I showed in my previous post.

And there is one last little detail. In both the prior two reporting periods, the Times said those declines came partially/largely from their having to remove from their subscription count, bulk sales and third party paid 'subscriptions'.

They no longer make that claim. So the Times is now saying that those, smaller drops, were due to the removal of non-paying customers. They no longer say make that claim, which means these new, larger losses are REAL subscribers walking away from the paper.

Then when you add in the Prudential reports that show that a larger and larger number of the LA Time's 'customers' are non-paying customers - the question thus needs to be asked is - is there anyone out there who is still paying for the LA Times?

Why The LA Times Is Sinking Even Faster Than The Numbers Say!

Not only are fewer and fewer people 'subscribing' to the LA Times, but fewer and fewer of them are actually paying for it:

Prudential Report Finds Big Drop in 'Other Paid' in New FAS-FAX, Lists Big Gainers and Losers

By Jennifer Saba Published: November 08, 2005 4:31 PM ET

NEW YORK While newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle, The Orlando Sentinel, and The Sun of Baltimore reported some of the biggest declines in overall circulation this week, a new report issued Monday by Prudential Equity Research shows these papers are making progress in reducing other-paid circulation.

The research firm analyzed the top 50 newspapers' latest circulation figures released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Across those papers, daily circulation dropped 3.5% and Sunday fell 3.6% for the six months ending September 2005 compared to the same period last year.

On the other hand, other-paid circulation is down 2.8% for the same group of papers. In the March 2005 FAS-FAX, Prudential notes, other-paid circ had increased 10%. "The continued decline in this category suggests newspaper companies are becoming less dependent on other-paid circulation to boost their overall circulation numbers," the report stated.The other-paid circulation category includes hotel, Newspaper-in-Education, employee, and third-party sponsored copies. This type of circulation, the report notes, is widely considered by Prudential and others in the industry to be of lesser quality.

Prudential created a list of the top 50 papers and calculated the percent change in other-paid circulation using September 2005 data compared to September 2004. The top five papers that shed the most circulation in the other-paid category according to Prudential are The Sun in Baltimore, down 68.8%; the Orlando Sentinel, down 57.2%; The Philadelphia Daily News, down 52.2%; the New York Post, down %, and The Boston Globe, down %.

The top five gainers in the other-paid category according to Prudential are: the Los Angeles Times, up 43.9%; the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, up 40.4%, The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., up 30.5%; New York's Daily News, up 29.2%; and the Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise, up 28.7%....

So when it comes to sub-standard (meaning partially or non-paid subscriptions), while most newspapers are cleaning up their act with fewer and fewer of these phantom subscriptions - the LA Times is not only increasing their junk circulation, but they are adding more bogus subscribers than any newspaper in the country. Of course, a spokesperson for the LA Times did try to spin those figures later in the article (see link), but if there was any logic in the arguments, I failed to find it.

But as bad as all that sounds - it's actually even worse. While the above article says that things have gotten far worse since the March report, the below article of last August shows that the March report was far worse than the report before... it!

Posted date: 8/18/2005Times Loses Home Subscribers While Discounted Papers Climb

By JAMES NASHLos Angeles Business Journal Staff

With circulation of the Los Angeles Times tumbling in the past two years, executives of the newspaper have argued that what counts is not quantity but quality - meaning home delivery, which advertisers covet the most.

But an analysis of newspaper circulation by Prudential Equity Group LLC found that the Times lost more than 100,000 paid home-delivery subscribers between March 2004 and March 2005. The drop in home delivery was 18.1 percent - the sharpest decline among the 10 largest U.S. newspapers...

.....The Times, which now has a daily circulation of just over 900,000, saw circulation increases in categories less sought after by advertisers discounted subscriptions, which jumped 9.8 percent, and hotel copies, which increased 1.1 percent, according to Prudential's analysis of Audit Bureau of Circulations data...

Times officials declined to comment on the Prudential report.

So not only was the Times worst perfoming newpaper in the country last March - it is now performing... even worse than that!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Forget Hurting! My Head's Going To Explode Now!

It's bad enough that all the national and local news organizations combined can't figure how many newspapers each major daily paper sells or then agree upon what the rate of percentage in sales decline has taken place the past year at each of these newspapers. It is even more infuriatingly irking that - they are all reporting on... the exact same set of data. I mean, the exact same numerical figures.

But then.... just when you think it can't get any worse - it does! Now... even people who work at the same newspaper... can't get their stories or their facts straight. And that paper just happens to be - of course - the Los Angeles Times!

First, Kevin at LAOBSERVED:

Hours after the ABC (via Editor & Publisher) said that average daily circulation at the Times fell to 843,432, the Times issued a release saying the figure is actually 869,819. The anomaly is not explained.

But that's just the set-up - below is the... punchline:,0,350692.story?coll=la-home-business

Joseph Menn and James Rainey, Times Staff Writers

... Among bigger papers, the Los Angeles Times' average weekday circulation fell 3.8% to 843,432 and the Washington Post's declined 4.1% to 678,779. With its national circulation strategy, the New York Times had the only significant gain in the top 20, adding 0.5% for just over 1.1 million subscribers.

Now since the above figures are in next day's paper - they considerably postdate Publisher Johnson's statement that the 843,432 figure is... wrong. So - what's up? Did someone inhale too strongly at the new MOCA exhibit?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Los Angeles Times Subscribers Continue To Flee Paper In Record Numbers!

UPDATE! After I had a talk with the E & P reporter today - November 9th - the following correction was promptly printed:

* An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the Los Angeles Times' daily circulation decline to be 6.5%. The higher number arose from an erroneous comparison of earlier Monday-Saturday numbers to the paper's current Monday-Friday figure. The correct weekday circulation decline is 3.7%.

Now this correction answers some - but not all - of my questions in the below post:

The circulation news was even worse than expected today for the Tribune Company - and even more so for the LA Times.

Monday's New FAS-FAX Report Brings More Circ Declines

By Jennifer Saba Published: November 07, 2005 8:14 AM ET

NEW YORK The March FAS-FAX set off landmines with reports of steep declines at many papers, most prominently some top Tribune Co. properties. The September numbers are not much more encouraging.Here are some specifics from the new FAS-FAX report -- released at 8 a.m. Monday -- compared to September 2004:

... The Los Angeles Times is down about 6.5% to 843,432 daily copies. On Sunday the paper reported a decrease of roughly 3.4% to 1,247,588 copies.

(The below link has a click through - and then you have to search for the story - sorry - will have better link to AP story later)

The Tribune chain lost more readers than any newpaper chain in the country, and the LA Times lost more readers than any newspaper at the Tribune - or almost anywhere in the country with a few exceptions like the San Francisco Chronicle. And San Francisco's decline was partially due to a one time occurrence:

The San Francisco Chronicle, published by Hearst Corp., posted a 16.4% tumble in circulation as the newspaper slashed back on less profitable, heavily discounted and giveaway circulation subsidized by advertisers.

Nationwide, the decline in newspaper readers is... increasing:

Newspaper Circulation Falls 2.6%,As More Readers Turn to Internet

Associated PressNovember 7, 2005 11:37 a.m.

NEW YORK -- Average weekday circulation at U.S. newspapers fell 2.6% in the six-month period ending in September, the latest sign of trouble in the newspaper business, an industry group reported Monday.

Sunday circulation also fell 3.1% at newspapers reporting to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, according to an analysis of the data by the Newspaper Association of America... In the previous six-month reporting period ending in March, weekday circulation fell 1.9% at U.S. daily newspapers and Sunday circulation fell 2.5%.

And the last report's drop had broken the previous record decline of nine years ago, and this drop now breaks that decline. So what about the other three of the four largest papers in the country?

Circulation at the country's three largest newspapers was relatively stable, but many others showed significant declines.

Gannett Co.'s USA Today, the largest-selling daily, slipped 0.6% from the same period a year ago to 2,296,335; The Wall Street Journal, published by Dow Jones; Co., fell 1.1% to 2,083,660; and the New York Times Co.'s flagship paper rose 0.5% to 1,126,190.

So as rapidly as the rest of the industry is losing readers, of all the major newspapers in the country, the LA Times continues to lose readers faster than any of them.


OK - it's back to who's got the right numbers again. The two linked articles above both show the LAT with a year-to-year 6.5% daily circulation decline and Drudge has, well -- look:

Average weekday circulation of America's 20 biggest newspapers for the six-month period ended Sept. 30, as reported Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. [The percentage changes are from the comparable year-ago period.]

1. USA Today, 2,296,335, down 0.59 percent
2. The Wall Street Journal, 2,083,660, down 1.10 percent
3. The New York Times, 1,126,190, up 0.46 percent
4. Los Angeles Times, 843,432, down 3.79 percent

May be a replay of the whole 'what base numbers are you using' debate? The stated circulation of a year ago - or the adjusted circulation after the 'phony' subscriptions had been removed. Next, someone has to figure out the real numbers of the heavily, heavily discounted subscription subscribers versus the people who actually pay for the paper, subscribers.


The debate (or... debates) is/are on; now Reuters also has the 3.8% decline figure for the LA Times and they have a person who states that this overall circulation decline is NOT the greatest overall decline:

Among the biggest newspapers, Monday through Friday circulation fell 1.1 percent at Dow Jones & Co. Inc'sWall Street Journal and 3.8 percent at the Tribune Co.'s (TRB.N) Los Angeles Times. Circulation at the New York Times Co.'s (NYT.N) namesake paper rose 0.4 percent.


But at the moment the declines appear to be accelerating -- a sign that suggests more consumers are getting their news from the Internet. Circulation fell 1.9 percent in the six months ending March 31 from the prior year.

John Murray, the NAA executive who studies circulation, could not give a final figure for circulation declines over the last 12 months. "But it would be safe to say this is not the worst in 20 years,'' he said on a conference call, pointing out that in 1991 annual circulation fell 2.6 percent.

But wait a second - aren't the other articles saying there HAS just been a 2.6% year circulation drop this year? My head is starting to hurt just thinking about his.

All these MSM sources are reporting on a story about themselves and they are all reporting from the same list of statistics - and yet... even then - they can not get their stories straight.

Meanwhile, they keep asking themselves - why is no one is reading them any more?


Kevin at LAOBSERVED tries to explain it all...

LAT circ down to 843,432

That was the average weekday circulation for the six months that ended September 30, according to Editor and Publisher. The report from the Audit Bureau of Circulation says it reflects a 3.79% drop from the same period last year.... Comparing circ numbers is notoriously difficult, but we do have this: Last September the LAT year-long figure was 902,164. The May 30 six-month level was 907,997.

So this September's average weekday LAT circulation for six months is 843,000 and that is 6.5% less than LAST September's average six month weekday LAT circulation. However, E & P says that by the way they calculate these things (and I assume thay have a valid methodology) - it is actually only a... 3.79% drop.

OK. My question is... since this is a story about newspapers that runs every six months... in newspapers... why can't newspapers figure out how to accurately cover a newspaper story about... newspapers... in newspapers?