Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Forget The Style Book - What The LA Times Needs is a Map Book!

Every major magazine, publisher or newspaper has its own style book or uses a standardized style book to settle questions of punctuation and grammar. As for issues of civic geography, though - Los Angeles Times reporters are clearly on their own. Reading the names they 'creatively' append to the neighborhoods of this city, it is clear many of them need GPS to find their own homes.

Cluttered conditions hindered firefighters, L.A. authorities say.
By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
January 22, 2008
City firefighters discovered a man's body after extinguishing a fire early Monday morning at a Westlake home with "extreme pack-rat conditions," officials said.

The blaze in the 500 block of North Westmoreland Avenue was reported shortly after 1 a.m., said d'Lisa Davies, a Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman.

Now I grew up on Westmoreland - 312 S. Westmoreland - eight blocks south of that location - and at that time my neighborhood was called Mid-Wilshire. It was considered well west of the Westlake District which was largely east of the former Westlake, now McArthur Park. Today, the neighborhood seems to be increasingly part of the ever expanding Koreatown, though the new Thomes Guide now calls it Mid-Wilshire.

The subject property, though, is not only eight blocks further - it is even north of the Hollywood Freeway, an area no one living there back then, much less now would ever dream of calling being the Westlake District.

But just to make certain the city had not somehow designated that area as 'Westlake' - I checked out the fire station that serves that address on the city's website. It turns out to be just blocks from the fire (the Number 6 Station) and is called - Angeleno Heights - even though it is located at 326 N. Virgil which is not particularly near Angeleno Heights, though the old station might have been in that area. All other city agencies call the area either Hollywood/Wilshire or Rampart.

So even the City of LA knows better to call that area Westlake.

So here's my solution.

Granted what any one neighborhood is - or should - be called is a bit problematic (which is why CURBED LA sometimes runs 'name that nabe contests'). So this is even more reason why the LA Times - with community input - should put together a map with the most accepted name - or names - of each neighborhood so clueless reporters don't have to look at a Thomas Guide and make wild ass guesses.

Because this happens way too often and said reporters all too often end up looking like... assess.

1 comment:

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...


Thanks for the post, and your always enjoyable blog.

Though some apparently label the locale otherwise (both in and outside our agency!), I would typically call Fire Station 6's District as primarily a combination of Mid-Town (not Mid-City!) and Angeleno (or was that Angelino?) Heights, but there is certainly some room for better understanding of the areas that don't properly fit those monikers.

I was regretfully not on duty that day to deal with the matter. While I think the task of formally mapping boundaries for City of Los Angeles neighborhoods best handled through *some* type of municipal effort or at least oversight, I long for the day when anyone can help me in one of the most frustrating tasks I must deal with at least fifty times daily.

Brady, please keep up your always invigorating work!

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department