Thursday, November 30, 2006

City Of San Gabriel To Demolish Childrens's Park!

A wonderfully imaginative historic children's playground made up of concrete... monsters... is about to be demolished by some killjoy politicians in San Gabriel.


Guess What? Even City Hall Does Not Know How Tall City Hall Is!

After pointing out that height of City Hall was gotten wrong on a local blog two posts ago, imagaine my surprise to discover that City Hall can't even get that story straight:

28 stories tall (450 feet)

PROJECT RESTORE, the public-private organization that restored the building does not seem to know that City Hall is 32 stories tall (it says 28 stories!!)nor that it is not 450 feet tall, but 452 feet tall (but as I check further, other offical sites also say it is 454 feet tall, 460 feet tall and 464 feet tall - so who knows how tall it really is? Clearly, no one at City Hall!)- or that while the height limit was lifted in 1957, it was not until after 1960 that any building was actually allowed to be built higher than City Hall, though that last one is a bit of a semantic quibble.

FishbowlLA Looks At Us Looking At The LA Times!

For a couple weeks FishBowlLA has been publishing the results of their recent highly unscientific survey of LA Times readers, most, but not all of whom, are members of the local digital media mafia. The above link goes to the latest list of results. But even more interesting than the results, are the variety of people they queried. Clink on all the above link (and below ones too)and you get an interesting profile of (mostly) on-line LA.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

LA Times Suggestion #1 - Hire Someone To Read The Paper Before It Gets Published! PLUS - Todd Everett Wins The Irony Of The Day Award!!

The below piece by Todd Everett is an perfect example of why the LA Times needs to hire someone who actually reads the entire paper - very day - before it gets published.

On Sunday, November 26, "Calendar" ran a piece, freelanced by Michael Ordoña, on the upcoming film "Turistas," and problems shooting in a remote location, on a low budget:

Roughing it set the right tone for a film that depicts a tourist's worst nightmare: Its photogenic young protagonists get lost in the jungle, where they are drugged and robbed. And then things get bad. [John] Stockwell, director of surf-and-sand movies "Blue Crush" and "Into the Blue," says a rattling experience on a Peruvian surfing trip motivated him to take on the project.

"I had been robbed by a group of 13-year-old, glue-sniffing kids and gotten shot at," he says in the safety of the Regent Beverly Wilshire hotel. "I went to the cops, and they basically told us, 'If you give us $300, we'll let you kill these kids.' And I thought, if that kind of [stuff] is possible.... I came home and read the script and it resonated."

Today, November 29, Jay A. Fernandez, in his "Scriptland" columm, writes about the upcoming film "Turistas"...and, uh, problems shooting in a remote location, on a low budget. Well, it's not exactly the same:

Ross wrote "Turistas," which will launch the new youth-targeted genre division Fox Atomic, after hearing a public radio piece about a rampant myth in Central and South America that Americans and Europeans kidnap native kids to harvest their organs on an international black market. There have been several incidents of violence in this context, in which tourists have been beaten up, stabbed or set on fire by fearful locals. An early scene sets up this dynamic when one of the backpackers takes a photograph of a child and the villagers turn hostile.

As I've asked before: if Times editors don't read their own paper, why should they expect us to?

There must be one person with a wide range of general knowledge who can read the paper's stories as the get churned out all afternoon and evening to spot the obvious errors, typos and continuity problems such as the one above.

Now as for the irony of the day award. Perhaps if Mr. Everett read his own blog, he might have spotted the error in the satement that appears on the ide of his blog:

Have you ever been to City Hall? It's 37 stories tall, filled with people spending your money. -- Doug McIntyre

And City Hall, of course, is only 32 stories tall....even though a few sources over the years have mistakenly said 28 stories, which is the height of the tower on top of the 4 story base, and I have even seen it called 27 stories tall by sources saying that the observation room is on that floor.

But 37 stories? Nope, never heard that one before.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bizarre Pre-Dated G-Mail SPAM Explosion!

Sometime this afternoon my G-mail SPAM list went from dead zero (after I had cleared it out) to almost... 500... while I was out of the office for less than an hour. And when I went to check and delete them - they were all from October 29th - November 6th - over three weeks ago.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Los Angeles Times Supports Fledging Los Angeles Cultural Organization!

One of the most infuriating policies of the Los Angeles Times is their policy to ignore new art galleries and certain other cultural institutions until they have been around for an arbitrary, predetermined period of time.

With art galleries it is a full year.

The rules are that no matter how great - or wonderful - or earth shattering - the shows are - until the gallery has been open for one year - the Times will not deign to review any show in that gallery. Now I know there must have been some exceptions over the years, but it has always struck me as odd that during the time period when any new institution could use some exposure, the Times has a policy to not review anything that organization does which has nothing to do with the quality of the programming of the gallery.

So imagine my amazement when the Sunday editorial pages of the LA Times not only welcome the appearance of a new classical ballet company, but even urge the citizens of this fair city to support this new endeavor!

My God - the LA Times asking for civic support for a fledgling civic organization? Just who do they think they are? A hometown LA paper?

The bizarre irony is that it may take editors and publishers from cities that take actual pride in themselves to create a paper that truly speaks for Los Angeles.

Another try for L.A. ballet
Los Angeles Ballet is the latest company to attempt success against long odds. We wish it well.

November 26, 2006

OF COURSE WE'RE rooting for the new Los Angeles Ballet, which will debut Dec. 2 at the Wilshire Theatre with a production of (what else?) the "Nutcracker." Still, it's hard to ignore the historical odds against ballet in the L.A. area. The company may begin with the graceful arabesques of Clara, but we have to brace ourselves for the thud of "Swan Lake's" Odette dumped to the floor during the pas de deux by a feckless Siegfried we call "the public."

Locally based ballet has been tutu scarce in Southern California. This remains the only U.S. megalopolis without a top-tier classical company, despite well-ranked ballet schools that churn out world-class dancers. There have been at least five attempts to launch a premier company in the last decade, and all of them flopped — in one case, owing large sums of money to its dancers.

L.A. Ballet — it even rhymes! — seems like a natural for a dynamic metropolitan area with such a love of arts new and old (including an otherwise lively dance scene). It's always been puzzling that we haven't supported a world-ranked company. But the survival of an elite and expensive art form is tricky anywhere. Chicago's renowned 50-year-old Joffrey Ballet, whose part-time residence in L.A. during the 1980s didn't work out either, has been on the verge of closing more than once. Even superstar Ethan Stiefel couldn't bring in the big bucks when he spent a tour as artistic director of Ballet Pacifica, a small, Irvine-based company he had hoped to take regional.

Now two notable ballet dancers, Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, are putting their best slippers forward as artistic directors. Their L.A. Ballet will be affiliated with the respected Westside School of Ballet and make its permanent home at the Malibu Performing Arts Center. In a canny move, its version of "Nutcracker" will be performed at three venues around the county, hoping to draw viewers by chopping their commutes.

None of the locations are within L.A.'s city limits, but there's time to build toward that. The main issue is whether Southern California will provide enough cash and audience to sustain this latest effort. Perhaps some of the major centers of money in town, such as Hollywood, will see the value in supporting the performing arts. It would help if L.A. Ballet delivers the goods, and if ballet fans buy tickets. Then, perhaps, L.A. will be ready for a major jeté forward in the arts.

But don't expect to see this cowboy at any of their performances. After a lot of effort, I finally developed an appreciation for opera but my taste in dance never developed beyond Fred and Ginger. And only if Ginger was wearing the tights.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Excellent New York Times Article On LA Palm Trees - Other Than The Factual Errors... Of Course!

I'll begin with the errors, then add further commentary at the end of the quotes. To begin with, crape myrtles are not native trees of California; they are from Australia and Asia and are as much shrubs as they are trees.

Second, date palm speciment trees are not imported to this country from anywhere else, much less the Middle East. The date palms being bought by Las Vegas come from the date palm fruit orchards in the Coachella Valley down by Palm Springs.

Third, the writer has clearly confused date palms - which were very rarely planted in Los Angeles and almost never along the streets, with Canary palms which are one of the three species of (see below comments for correction that was made here) palms most often planted along Los Angeles streets. They are also not imported from the Middle East - or anywhere else - and they are native to the Canary Islands.

November 26, 2006
Los Angeles Journal
City Says Its Urban Jungle Has Little Room for Palms

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 25 — The palm tree, like so much here, rose to fame largely because of vanity and image control, then met its downfall when the money ran out.

The Los Angeles City Council, fed up with the cost of caring for the trees, with their errant fronds that plunge perilously each winter, and with the fact that they provide little shade, have declared them the enemy of the urban forest and wish that most would disappear.

The city plans to plant a million trees of other types over the next several years so that, as palms die off, most will be replaced with sycamores, crape myrtles and other trees indigenous to Southern California. (Exceptions will be the palms growing in places that tourists, if not residents, demand to see palmy, like Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards.)


Palms are hard to care for, so hard that the city has a line in its tree-trimming budget just for them. Last year, it was approximately $385,000, but proper care dictates an expense of about $630,000 per year, said Nazario Sauceda, the assistant director of the bureau of street services in the city’s Department of Public Works.

Many of the trees planted in the 1950s are getting toward the end of their lives, Mr. Lai said. Some are 80 to 100 feet high and 70 years old, and these are not self-cleaning palms,which means they need maintenance to remove old fronds.

Last year, the city removed nearly 8,000 cubic yards of dried palm fronds from the public right of way, Mr. Sauceda said.

Date palms, which make a bit less of a mess, have become prohibitively expensive to import, mostly from the Middle East, because Las Vegas has snapped them all up. And with only 18 percent of the city shaded (the national average is 28 percent), Los Angeles wants trees that shelter people from the sun.

Unfortunately, this is just one more important decision that was arrived at without any outreach to the citizens of Los Angeles or the neighborhood councils and it is just one more example of the city doing far more harm than good in trying to solve a perceived problem. It is also just one more step towards politically correct botanical conformity that ignores both the diversity of this city and its cultural and physical history.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Los Angeles DEAD LAST In Attracting The Young And Educated! In Fact, LA Is LOSING Them!!

In a now almost week old story that has been totally ignored by the local media - and local politicians - not only is Los Angeles no longer attracting young college graduates, but we are now one of only two cities that is losing that demographic. The other one is... Philadelphia. And we are losing our young college graduates at a far faster rate than Philadelphia.

Evidently... W.C. Fields... isn't the only one who would rather be in... Philadelphia, or any place but LA.

The chart at the end of the below story tells the tale of why Los Angeles's quality job creation rate is far lower than that of almost ever major city in the country, another story that the LA media and LA politicians ignore as the city passes law after law designed to drive business out of Los Angeles.

The only possible silver lining is that these statistics stop the year before the loft boom started that might start to halt the rate of our loss of jobs that require a college education. Lofts alone, however, will not do the job; a true urban culture needs to be also created and, alas, both the government agencies and the private sector organizations that should be working on this, have been largely ineffective.

And even that will not be enough because until the city takes job creation serious and reverses its current anti-business climate, no real change is going to be possible.

Atlanta Leads the Nation in Attracting Most Coveted Demographic in the Country
Monday November 20, 3:02 pm ET
'Young and Restless' Study Shows Atlanta is the Place to be for Highly Educated 25- to 34-year-olds
Focus Groups Cite Airport, Affordability, Diversity and Opportunity (Visit this site for full press kit)

ATLANTA, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Atlanta leads the nation in attracting highly educated 25- to 34-year-olds, the most coveted demographic in the country. They are known as the "Young and Restless."

(Logo: )

"Atlanta is winning the war for talent," said Sam A. Williams, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. "The 'Young and Restless' are the most sought-after talent in the country. Cities want them for their economic future. Companies want their knowledge and talent. And Atlanta is leading the nation in attracting them."

These are the findings of a study conducted by Portland, Ore., economist Joe Cortright of Impresa Consulting and released today by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. The study showed that from 1990 to 2000, metro Atlanta increased its young adult population 46 percent, which is faster than any of the top 25 most populous metropolitan areas in the country.

At a time when this age group was declining by 9 percent nationally, the number of young adults increased 20 percent in Atlanta. All other of the top 50 metropolitan areas, besides San Francisco, had smaller increases or outright declines in their 25- to 34-year-old population from 1990 to 2000. And the competition for young, talented labor is getting fiercer as baby boomers retire and the workforce shrinks.

"Cities across the country recognize that their ability to attract this well-educated, hard-working young age group is critical to their future success," said Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.

Atlanta has also been a mecca for young, highly educated African-American adults. While the African-American young adult population declined nationally in the 1990s by about 6 percent, Atlanta saw a 36 percent surge.

While much larger cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago still have greater absolute numbers of college-educated 25- to 34-year-olds, Atlanta has disproportionately outpaced all of them in rapidly growing its percentage of these up-and-comers.

For instance, from 1990 to 2000, New York City -- with a "Young and Restless" population nearly five times the size of Atlanta -- only grew its "Young and Restless" population by about 35,000, while Atlanta grew its number by more than 80,000.

"While the nation's talented, young workforce is shrinking, Atlanta's share is growing faster than anywhere in the country," said economist Joe Cortright. "Companies looking for a talented workforce can't find a hotter spot than Atlanta."

Most "Young and Restless" relocate to Atlanta from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Miami or Washington, D.C. The largest single contributor of 25- to 34-year-olds to Atlanta is New York, accounting for 7 percent of Atlanta's in- migration. Washington-Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago each account for about 3 percent.

"Macquarium Intelligent Communications owes much of its success as an interactive strategy and design consultancy to the fact that Atlanta is such an appealing city," said Art Hopkins, president of Macquarium, a web development and consulting firm. "Macquarium was built by talented young people with an entrepreneurial spirit, and continues to attract the best and the brightest young professionals from all over the country. We know that being in Atlanta has tipped the scales in our favor."

Focus groups cited Atlanta's competitive advantageous as affordable housing, cultural opportunities, jobs and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

"Atlanta offers the most of everything that I look for in a city," said Kate Demange, a member of the Young and Restless group and a Macquarium employee. "The weather is great, the city is green and beautiful, I can do outdoor activities year round, it has direct flights to major cities in the U.S. and Europe, a good job market, and the cost of living is lower."

While educated people in their early 20s move around, those in their mid 20s and early 30s are settling down, pursuing careers and starting families. The likelihood of moving to another state or metro area declines sharply in the early 30s. So attracting people in the 25- to 34-year-old group offers metros the best chance of building a stable base of human capital that fuels a region's economic future.

A diverse and educated workforce adds to Atlanta's appeal, Williams added, noting that the region's 45 colleges and universities educate more than 200,000 students a year. Georgia Tech alone turns out the largest number of engineers of any university in the country, and Atlanta ranks fifth in the nation for the fastest growth rate of college-educated young adults, greatly exceeding the national trend.

In addition to being plentiful, young adults in Atlanta are better educated, on average, than those in other metropolitan areas -- 36 percent versus 30 percent with four-year college degrees. The number of 25- to 34- year-olds with a four-year degree increased 46 percent in Atlanta over the past decade, more than four times faster than the nation as a whole.

The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce (MACOC) -- with our 4,000 member companies that collectively employ more than 700,000 workers -- is a catalyst for a vibrant metro region. The Metro Atlanta Chamber focuses on the issues that matter most to the business community: improving quality of life, promoting economic growth and making Atlanta a brand name that means opportunity.

Top Metro Areas & Change in Raw Number of
Young & Restless*.

Metro 1990 2000 Change

New York 1,107,128 1,141,990 34,862

Los Angeles 616,689 590,745 (25,944)

Chicago 428,445 486,669 58,224

San Francisco 390,613 474,707 84,094

Washington 446,706 473,201 26,495

Boston 372,300 375,403 3,103

Philadelphia 278,047 274,893 (3,154)

Atlanta 176,366 257,837 81,471

Dallas 231,782 252,437 20,655

Detroit 195,284 227,319 32,035

Although metro Atlanta ranks eight in the overall number of 25- to 34- year-olds, it experienced a 46 percent increase in this age cohort, where many of its competitors saw outright declines or small percent increases. No other of the top 10 metro areas in the country saw this kind of increase. *Metro areas ranked by total Y&R population.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Hot Dog! Weeneez Opens Saturday Morning 10 AM!!

After almost a full year of delays and dealing with endless bureaucrats and city and county agencies, the gourmet hot dog - and tamale - dinery... WEENEEZ... is - finally - opening tomorrow morning, Saturday November 25th, 2006, along with the RedDot Gallery at 500 S. Spring in the heart of Gallery Row. The adjacent RedDot Bistro with a larger menu, and eventually beer and wine, will open in December.

The initial hours of 10 AM to 8 PM seven days a week will be a welcome addition to Sunday dining and early evening eating at 5th and Spring where both are currently short in supply. And, hopefully, when the Los Angeles Theatre Center re-opens in the spring next door and as more residential buildings open in the area, evening hours will be able to be further extended.

This is a homecoming of sorts for co-owner, Julie Rico, who started her Julie Rico Art Gallery back in 1989 on Los Angeles Street on the second floor of a new demolished building near the Cathedral. She later followed the exodus of downtown art galleries to Santa Monica in the early 1990's, but made a decision to return downtown, along with partner Sid Carter, after a having a temporary gallery show during the festivities that christened Gallery Row.

More about her history in the art world can be found on her website -, along with the complete menu for Weeneez. Also on the website is information on the inaugural show of the RedDot Gallery, "James Brown, Friends and Flowers", featuring the work of Youn Woo Chaa.

Welcome back Julie!

OJ Book Goes For $8,300 On E-Bay!

IF I DID IT - O.J. Simpson's Confession Book

Book has been banned from stores - AUTHENTIC w/pics
Item number: 250053281298
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Winning bid:US $8,300.00

Monday, November 20, 2006

Gregory Rodriguez Takes On Mike Davis - BUT -- Gets One Of His Facts Wrong Big Time!

Gregory Rodriguez did his usual superb job this last Sunday - in fact I was meaning to comment on his last two weeks columns, too - until he got to his paragraph on Mike Davis. Below is his column until he made the fatal flaw:

Gregory Rodriguez: What's left of L.A.'s left?
L.A.'s once-reliable intellectual left has faltered even as its political cohorts consolidate local power.

November 19, 2006

IT WAS A LITTLE like Pravda running an expose on Lenin's sex life, or the Wall Street Journal editorializing on the fetishes of conservative economist Friedrich Hayek. Three weeks ago, the L.A. Weekly, once the most reliably left-wing publication in the city, published a cover story all but alleging that the late union chief Miguel Contreras died in a brothel in South L.A.

But the story itself wasn't as shocking as the fact that it was published at all in Los Angeles, let alone in the Weekly. Its publication was a sign not only that things have changed at the alternative paper but that this city's intellectual climate has shifted.

For most of the last generation, L.A.'s public intellectual life has been dominated by editors, thinkers and writers who ran the ideological gamut from A to B — from committed liberal to strident leftist. But in the last few years, as the Labor Left has consolidated its control over City Hall, it has simultaneously lost its firm grip on the small class of writers and thinkers who narrate L.A.'s civic life for the broader public.

Remember the early 1990s, after the city had self-destructed and a Republican mayor presided? Back then, Marxist apocalypticist Mike Davis ruled the intellectual roost and attained cult-like status. It's not that everyone agreed with Davis' dark millenarian vision, but few challenged him publicly in part because his zealous followers bullied dissenters. Anyone to the right of Friedrich Engels was labeled a fascist and risked personal attacks. The despair in the wake of the riots had made left-wing noir all the rage, and, as historian Kevin Starr once quipped, for a brief moment in L.A., pessimism passed for deep thought.

The mid-1990s brought a resurgence of a more traditional — and constructive — brand of intellectual leftism. Mostly through the voice of its former executive editor and chief political columnist, Harold Meyerson, the L.A. Weekly became the house organ for an emerging Latino-labor-left political coalition. The paper simultaneously narrated and championed a series of political milestones — the election of Antonio Villaraigosa and Gil Cedillo to the state Assembly in 1994 and 1998, respectively, and the elevation of Contreras to head of the L.A. County Federation of Labor in 1996.

And it wasn't alone. Although not as strident, The Times' editorial page was also sympathetic to the rise of labor — and was generally perceived as socially and fiscally liberal.

If the Davis crew endorsed cultish devotion to one individual, the rest of the intellectual left steamrolled dissent through its momentum and an aura of inevitability. The few naysaying opposition voices, such as Jill Stewart, then a columnist at the now defunct New Times L.A., and economics writer Joel Kotkin were written off as contemptuous right-wing renegades. And indeed, they were angry, indignant and downright screechy voices that tried to poke holes in the common wisdom. Yet only in L.A. could these disgruntled Democrats be considered right-wingers.

Then, depending on how you see it, in 1999 Davis was either run out of town by an overzealous fact-checker who questioned his credibility (especially in his book "City of Quartz") or he just naturally morphed into his rightful place as a global writer with a consequently waning influence in L.A.

Well, other than leaving out the name of the overzealous fact-checker - which was, moi - and the fact that I wasn't being overzealous - it was just that after seeing 1,000 lies and errors lying out in the open, ripe for the picking in Mike Davis' books - who couldn't resist looking for the less obvious ones - there is one major factual error Gregory makes.

While City of Quartz certainly has its share of fiction - starting with the opening scene that is logistically impossible to have happened - Ecology of Fear is the book I stated had far more errors and blatant lies (and not City of Quartz) - proven by the amazing numbers of footnotes that say the exact opposite of the 'facts' they supposedly footnoted.

And the main reason for that - in my opinion - is the long rumored claim that Davis' graduate students actually wrote much of City of Quartz for him might be true.

Now I first heard that story just before City of Quartz came out while I was doing research on other matters at the stacks in UCLA. The rumor was even - briefly - made public until the book became a hit and everyone suddenly shut up about it.

Then when I hit the stacks again at UCLA back in 1998, I ran into a number of his former colleagues – including some fellow Marxists - who even gave me the names of those who supposedly wrote some of the chapters. One chapter was ... supposedly... written by one person who when the book came out, was stunned when he saw that it was almost verbatim to what he had written, except for changes like where Davis added machine guns to LAPD helicopters.

But this is all second hand information and I can not prove any of it – nor am I all that interested in that aspect of Davis. The important thing is that he is more a writer of fiction than fact so how he got that way I find less important. However, how he would completely… make up… an entire interview in the LA WEEKLY with Lewis McAdams – as he did – I find absolutely… fascinating. How could he not realize he would be caught?

Still – there is one piece of information that makes me wonders how much other people might write his books. The dramatic changes in tone and style among books is a little suspicious, but very possible and it’s nowhere near a smoking gun. But there is possibly one reverberating revolver in Ecology of Fear.

In his chapter on Bunker Hill he gets an absolutely… staggering… number of simple historic facts wrong – and he then supports those facts with a footnote to an essay in an obscure collection of essays titled, OUT OF SITE, which I just happened have to have owned at the time. I then pulled it off the shelf and discovered that the writer he was quoting as his source was… Mike Davis.

Even stranger though, the facts – if not always the conclusions – in OUT OF SITE – were essentially – correct! So in an essay – written in a rather different voice than Ecology Of Fear, despite having Mike Davis’ name on them – the basic facts are right.

And yet in Ecology Of Fear – quoting an essay he wrote – the facts are… wrong.

Boggles the mind – doesn’t it?

So either he has a terrible memory – or someone other than Mike Davis must have written that essay.

Mayor Takes Heroic Stand On Firefighter Hazing Lawsuit!

The Mayor really stepped up to the plate on this one; my comments at the end of his superb speech:

Kevin Roderick

Mayor Villaraigosa used his veto power for the first time and killed the $2.7 million payout to firefighter Tennie Pierce that was negotiated by City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo and approved 11-1 by the City Council. Pierce had sought compensation for being forced to eat dog food during a hazing prank at his fire station. New evidence raises questions about the deal, the mayor said, adding that he remains disturbed by the hazing rituals at city fire stations. At his press conference Villaraigosa issued an anti-hazing directive.

The mayor's statement after the jump:

Remarks of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa regarding LAFD hazing settlement

“Ladies and gentlemen:

Thank you all for coming today.

We’re here this afternoon to declare unequivocally:

The practice of hazing has NO PLACE in the City of Los Angeles!

We’ve all read the reports*many of us have seen the images*depicting alleged activities in the Los Angeles Fire Department that have placed the City in a position of potential legal liability.

Like most Angelenos, I find these images deeply disturbing and totally unacceptable.

Hazing is reckless, reprehensible, and juvenile.

Any conduct that demeans or that otherwise makes people feel unwelcome in the workplace will not be tolerated. Period.

As City employees, we need to remember that public service is an honor and a privilege.

I know that an overwhelming number of our employees feel that way.

They work hard.

They come to their jobs every day with a full respect for the opportunity they are being given.

Above all, they know that the taxpayers have an unqualified right to expect that our city’s civil servants will conduct themselves at all times as complete professionals.

Today, I have issued an Executive Directive declaring a ZERO TOLERANCE policy against hazing in all City’s departments.

It’s time to end the practice once and for all.

It’s time to break the cycle.

Where necessary, it is time to change the culture.

We are one City workforce, serving one community, and behavior that divides us has no place in the City of Los Angeles.

This Executive Directive will require notification of our zero tolerance policy of every City employee in every Department.

It provides for the immediate investigation and discipline in any alleged case of hazing.

It requires all City departments to report back on past hazing incidents and to recommend tougher guidelines for handling incidents in the future.

I am pleased to say that the Fire Commission will soon be considering a set of improved disciplinary guidelines following on a series of audits by Controller Laura Chick.

These tougher disciplinary guidelines will strengthen accountability standards in 144 different categories of misconduct.

Employees engaging in hazing or horseplay will be subject disciplinary action, including suspension and possible termination.

I want to commend the commission and the stakeholders who participated in fashioning these reforms through many months of hard work and many hours of tough deliberations. I look forward to the Commission approving these guidelines very soon.

And I want to say: We will be enacting similar standards in every City department.

Now, I want to address specifically the City Attorney’s recommended settlement in the case of Tennie Pierce versus the City of Los Angeles.

Like every Angeleno, I am deeply troubled by the allegations raised here.

We cannot tolerate discrimination in any form.

However, new information has come to light since the City Attorney recommended settlement of the case.

I believe that this information merits a reexamination of the matter.

Given the magnitude of the recommended settlement, taxpayers have a right to demand a reconsideration with the full benefit of all the facts.

Today, I announced $15 million in long-needed investments in South Los Angeles today, so when I say every dollar counts, I mean it.

We have a fundamental fiduciary responsibility to ensure the wise use of tax dollars.

Accordingly, I am returning the item with my veto and with a request that the City get back to work on the case.

My veto of this action will permit a reconsideration of settlement in light of all of the evidence surrounding the claims in the lawsuit

I want to stress, however, that the alleged behavior underlying this case must be eliminated in our City workforce.

As this case illustrates, hazing creates a serious risk of legal liability for the City, and it undermines professionalism we expect in the workplace.

That’s why we’re going to take a hard line*AND ADOPT A ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY*with respect to hazing in the City of Los Angeles.”

A great statement and a courageous action.

In close, I know a little about hazing. Back when I was somewhat abruptly introduced to the cowboy life at age 17, I was given a horse that would not remain broke - no matter how times times I thought he had been gentled - and it took me two... painful... months to figure out why.

And after I started getting just getting a touch cocky about my very fledging fighting skills, I got into a bar fight with this 'random stranger' who just happened to be there. But after ten very long minutes of brawling that left both of us barely able to even crawl off the floor, it turned out he just happened to be a ranked (if not particularly all that highly) boxer.

But each of those events - and the many like them - were designed to teach me something and to make me just a little bit tougher - and, possibly, just a little bit smarter, though the smarter part always turned out to be the harder part.

But it was never done to demean or humiliate me like what I saw that firefigher do to his colleagues.

When Does First Copy Of OJ Book Hit E-Bay?

Now that Murdoch has withdrawn both the OJ 'confession' book and the TV shows - when do the first copies leak out to the press - and end up on E-bay? And when do clips from the shows end up on YouTube?

News Corp. kills O.J. book, interview
Mark Lacter • Bio • Email

Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch called it an "ill-considered project." Here's what he said in a statement: "We are sorry for any pain this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown-Simpson." The interview with Simpson was scheduled to air Nov. 27 and Nov. 29, while the book was scheduled to go on sale Nov. 30.

Pynchon Punked!

The New York Times reviewer didn't particularly care for Pynchon's latest.

November 20, 2006
Books of The Times
A Pynchonesque Turn by Pynchon

Thomas Pynchon’s new novel, “Against the Day,” reads like the sort of imitation of a Thomas Pynchon novel that a dogged but ungainly fan of this author’s might have written on quaaludes. It is a humongous, bloated jigsaw puzzle of a story, pretentious without being provocative, elliptical without being illuminating, complicated without being rewardingly complex.

And it doesn't get any better after that...

I guess I'll cross that one off my AMAZON Christmas wish list.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Fascinating Story About Mayor In Daily News Today!

Tony Castro gives a detailed - and very humanizing - look at the Mayor's background. If anyone at the LA Times is reading this - Castro has expertly demonstrated what is meant as local news coverage:

The untold story of the mayor's rise from poverty to power
BY TONY CASTRO, Staff Writer
LA Daily News
Article Last Updated:

Antonio Villaraigosa had promoted his ambitious trade mission to the Far East for almost an hour when he slipped into a monologue about Chinese food and chopsticks.

"It's funny, but I've been addicted to chopsticks since I was a kid. My kids have, too."

Those thin, metal chopsticks were another matter, the mayor said, trading stories of their difficulty with editors and reporters before drifting back to memories of his childhood.

"I've been using chopsticks since I was a kid ..."

He rolled his head slowly and gazed upward as if the ceiling tiles were television monitors showing old home movies of his youth when he caught himself and bit his lip.

"That's not true. I think the first time I went to a Chinese restaurant was when I was 19 ..."

As chroniclers of Antonio Villaraigosa invariably come to discover, sometimes what comes out of the Los Angeles mayor's mouth - particularly when it's about his past - and what ultimately turns out to be true are not always entirely the same.

Now in his second year in office, Villaraigosa, 53, is catching himself in some of those inconsistencies - those embellishments of the past or his tendency to exaggerate or bolster his importance - flaws that can often simply be attributed to a faulty memory or political hyperbole.

Childhood tale

Ironically, a window to understanding why Villaraigosa tries so hard may be in the very Horatio Alger-like tale the mayor himself has often told about his childhood: Abandoned by his alcoholic, abusive father while he was in kindergarten, raised by a mother he describes as "a woman of indomitable spirit who never stopped believing in me," and further traumatized when his father sired another son as part of another family and christened him with the same name he had given Villaraigosa at birth - Antonio Ramon Villar Jr.

In that rocky upbringing, some experts say, lies the seed for the drive, ambition and, yes, even the indulgent bravado behind the self-reinvented Villaraigosa, as well as many others in public life.

"The typical politician," Beverly Hills psychiatrist Carole Lieberman said, "is someone who is unconsciously trying to compensate for feeling powerless as a child.

"Even after being successful, this feeling of smallness and inadequacy from when they were children stays with them. They remain insecure and don't know if people would vote for them if they knew how powerless or small they still believe themselves to be, so they fabricate stories about themselves to make themselves seem more heroic."

It may explain why Villaraigosa, more than any Los Angeles mayor since the late Tom Bradley, has so thoroughly enveloped himself in the trappings of the office.

Celeb photo ops

He moved from his home in Mount Washington to stately Getty House, the official mayoral residence just outside Hancock Park. He seeks photo ops with the famous and the powerful: Hollywood celebrities at the Academy Awards, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mexican President Vicente Fox, former Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

When Blair was in Los Angeles for a visit to UCLA in August, Villaraigosa boasted that London's Guardian newspaper had called him "the Latino Tony Blair."

"He knows that real leadership is about challenging your friends and allies," Villaraigosa said, "and from this distant perspective in sunny L.A., that's always been the genius of Tony Blair's record of public service."

In Villaraigosa's mind, experts say, the greater, the more heroic the person rubbing elbows with him, the greater, the more heroic the "Latino Tony Blair." It's all part of sustaining an image of perfection and personal invincibility and attempting to project that impression to others, as well.

But recently the patina has rubbed off some of the stories that Villaraigosa himself says have made him "the poster child of the American dream."

Weary of story

In June, The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles reported that retired Sherman Oaks teacher Herman Katz had grown "weary" of the yarn Villaraigosa has often told of how Katz dramatically turned his life around while the teenage Villar was struggling at Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights - almost making it seem as if Katz had become his surrogate father, paving his course to eventual political stardom.

It wasn't that Katz hadn't taken an interest in young Villar. But the way Villaraigosa had built up the relationship - introducing him during his inaugural spectacle in 2005 in glowing, almost familial terms - may have made it seem more than it was.

"It wasn't a `this-kid-could-be-mayor-one-

day' type of thing," Katz told The Journal. "It just so happened that this was at a time when he needed somebody who showed a little interest, who would give him the encouragement, and that's what it really was.

"This story is important because it shows people how important an educator can be when you don't even realize it. You never know how you're going to affect a kid."

In fairness to the mayor, experts say, everyone is subject to what W. Keith Campbell, associate professor of psychology at the University of Georgia and a "narcissism expert," calls "memory distortion."

"It's a self-enhancing direction in which people destroy the past to make themselves look better," Campbell said. "I don't know if it's the politician doing it or handlers doing it because they know it creates a good story.

"If you're someone like (U.S. Sen.) John McCain, you have a good story to begin with. As for others, I don't know how much of it is made up and how much is a memory distortion."

And there is much more. Be sure and read the entire article.

It's great reading and I think the overall impact is that it by examining a few personal flaws of the Mayor common to many people at this time, it allows him to correct the record when his personal popularity is so high that a few past misstatements will do him no harm.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

More On Los Angeles Times Unemployment Coverage!

My last post on this subject was about how the LA Times' online edition yesterday put an insanely negative spin on one of the most positive economic stories I can ever recall about the strength of Los Angeles County economy. Fortunately in this morning's print edition, the story was considerably fleshed out and a lot more perspective was given to this amazing story:

Joblessness in California at record low
Unemployment falls to 4.5% in October as the state's labor market mirrors the country's. Growth in tourism and healthcare are credited.
By Lisa Girion
Times Staff Writer

November 18, 2006

California's unemployment rate dropped to a record low of 4.5% in October, the state said Friday, reflecting what experts say is one of the tightest job markets in years.

The jobless rate was down from 4.8% in September and the lowest since the government started tracking it in 1976, the state Employment Development Department said.

The California job picture mirrors a tightening of the labor market nationwide — reflecting a solid economy in the fifth year of an expansion. The healthcare needs of an aging population, along with a continuing boom in tourism, are helping to fuel the state's employment growth.

The improving job market in California extends across a wide range of industry sectors and occupational categories, from low-skilled workers to professionals, experts said.

"Everybody is complaining that they can't find good skilled workers, and I've never seen so many help-wanted signs every place you go," said Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

One Monrovia retailer, who asked not to be named, has filled jobs by word of mouth for decades but said she resorted to placing her first online ad last month. Another employer looking for general help belied exasperation in a recent newspaper classified ad that summed up the labor market:

"I'M GOING CRAZY!!!! More work than staff. No experience necessary."

Later, the article goes into despite the housing construciton slump - which was the focus of the first article, almost every other sector of the econmoy is thriving:

Economists expect the unemployment rate to stay below 5% for some time, repeating the pattern of the late 1990s, when the tech boom led to labor shortages in high-skilled, computer-related jobs. This time, tightness is developing in such sectors as healthcare, skilled manufacturing and trucking, recruiters and economists said.

Outside the slowing housing market, things aren't so bad, they said. "If there weren't a housing slowdown now, you'd have a labor shortage," said John Husing, a Redlands-based economic development advisor.

The decline in construction jobs — down 4,000 in October from a year earlier — has been more than offset by growth in the state's service sector, including tourism, education and healthcare.

"They are all growing for different reasons, but they are all growing," said Keitaro Matsuda, senior economist for Union Bank of California. "They are propelling the California economy forward now."

And Mark Lacter over at the business section of LAOBSERVED, puts this story into an even better perspective on the meaning of this plunge in joblessness in LA County:

L.A. unemployment plunges

That's right, plunges - October joblessness was 4.3 percent, down from 4.8 percent in September and 5 percent from a year earlier. It's certainly the lowest unemployment rate I can ever remember for L.A. County and again reflects an economy that's in very good shape (so much for the fears about a real estate recession). L.A. County added 17,400 jobs for the month, much of the growth coming from government (education jobs were a big part of the gain). The county jobless number came in below the state's 4.5 percent and the U.S. rate of 4.4 percent. The local numbers are especially striking because L.A. is a very large, urban economy that's faced with ills not seen in low unemployment areas like OC. I realize economic number stories seem kind of boring, but this is a big deal.

Friday, November 17, 2006

What Part Of 'Good" In "Good News" Does The LA Times Not Understand? (With UPDATE!)

Breaking news story - California's unemploynment rate hits the lowest numbers in the history of the governemnt tracking. An amazing statistic right? Great news, right? Well, not according to the Los Angeles Times on-line story.

Ignoring the fact that once you get record levels of employment, it is hard to get much better than that and rather than celebrarintg this healthy sign of our economny's strength - the article instead exclusively uses negative words and phrases to describe the dire condition our economy is in.

California's unemployment rate hits record low amid slow job growth
By Lisa Girion
Times Staff Writer

12:09 PM PST, November 17, 2006

California's unemployment rate dipped to a record low of 4.5% in October, the state reported today, but job growth was anemic as the continuing housing slowdown took its toll.

The jobless rate was down from 4.8% in September and the lowest since the government started tracking the number.

Employment growth, however, was subpar — a sign, analysts said, of the ongoing economic slowdown led by a falloff in home construction and sales.

So the headline and opening graphs about our history setting low employment used the phrases... slow job growth, anemic job growth, coninuing housing slowdown, falloff in construction and sales, ongoing economic slowdown, and sub-par economic growth.

The closest thing to anything positive in the opening parts of the article was that the unemployment rate 'dipped'. And not a single remotely positive word or phrase was used to describe our existing economy anywhere in the article.

It is one thing to quantify good news by explaning current trends, but it is quite another to totally bury the good news in a sea of negativity.


The print story the following morning was considerably more upbeat and detailed.

Is There Flagrant Editorial Bias In Los Angeles Times Obituary Section?

In today's LA Times on-line obituary section, there is an article about Garden Grove trying to land a NFL football team. Is the LAT's on-line editor making a dead-on-arrival statement about this proposal by labeling this as an... obituary notice - or is this just another editorial snafu?

Another city with NFL ideas
Garden Grove, no stranger to ambition, may try for a stadium where a golf course now lies.
By Dave McKibben
Times Staff Writer

November 17, 2006

And now, it's the National Football League live from … Garden Grove?

Orange County's fourth-largest city, a town best known for its annual Strawberry Festival, has never shied from thinking big.

City leaders once toyed with building a Las Vegas-style hotel-casino or a theme park in their struggling downtown. There was a plan to build a replica of London Bridge across a faux river, which later resurfaced as a plan for something called Music City Riverwalk, a music-themed entertainment complex. Middle Eastern investors once proposed an Oasis of Peace, a museum and cultural center dedicated to the late King Hussein of Jordan.

So, Garden Grove officials are now considering a late entry into the sweepstakes for a professional football franchise.

"We've gone out on quite a few limbs before," said City Manager Matt Fertal, "and this would be a pretty far-fetched proposal."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Is Tribune Toast? USA Today, Multiple Private Equity Companies Offer On Tribune Empire!

Gannett - purveyor of such journalistic nightmares such as USA Today - and a number of bottom feeing private equity firms are also making offers on all the Tribune properties. Ironically, the only thing that might save the LA Times from being destroyed by one of these companies is if the Chandlers rethink their demand that the paper be sold.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Gannett Co. Inc. (GCI.N: Quote, Profile, Research), the largest U.S. newspaper company, is pursuing a bid for rival Tribune Co. (TRB.N: Quote, Profile, Research), according to media reports.

Tribune, with a market value of about $8 billion, is trying to sell itself amid weak financial results, an uncertain future and pressure from the Chandler family, a major shareholder.

After putting in a bid for the whole company, Gannett executives visited Tribune's Chicago headquarters to hear management's presentations, the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times -- both Tribune papers -- reported over the weekend.

Gannett's pursuit of Tribune, publisher of USA Today, heats up an already crowded field of suitors, which includes several groups of private equity firms.

Tribune properties also include New York's Newsday and the Chicago Cubs baseball team.

Since opening the bidding process, Tribune has reached out to several media groups, including Gannett, Hearst Corp. and Dean Singleton's MediaNews Group Inc., the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The company also has been in contact with News Corp. (NWS.AX: Quote, Profile, Research)(NWS.N: Quote, Profile, Research), which is interested in Newsday in New York, the Journal said.

MediaNews has had informal discussions with Tribune about some of its properties, such as the Hartford Courant and the Stamford Advocate in Connecticut, but hasn't had any meetings with the company, the Journal said, citing one person familiar with the matter....


One preliminary offer was put in by a private equity group made up of Texas Pacific Group (TPG.UL: Quote, Profile, Research) and Thomas H. Lee Partners (THL.UL: Quote, Profile, Research), one source familiar with the situation has told Reuters.

Another offer was put in by a group consisting of Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners and Apollo Management, a separate source close to the situation has said.

Private equity group Bain Capital also put in a bid and the Carlyle Group (CYL.UL: Quote, Profile, Research) has also looked at Tribune, sources have said.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Another New Bidder For Tribune Company - And Los Angeles Times!

So this new guy is not a newspaper man, thinks he can squeeze more profit out of the Tribune papers than the Tribune can... and he has been accused of accounting fraud.

The Devil we know is looking better and better...

November 13, 2006
Ex-Chairman of Insurer May Bid for Tribune

Maurice R. Greenberg, the former chairman of the insurance giant American International Group, has become the latest wealthy mogul to express interest in the struggling newspaper industry.

Mr. Greenberg, 81, known as Hank, is considering a bid for the Tribune Company, people briefed on his plans said yesterday. Mr. Greenberg, these people said, has been quietly reaching out to investment bankers and lawyers about pursuing an offer.

He has also expressed interest in pursuing other newspapers and newspaper companies, these people said, including The Boston Globe and perhaps even Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

With that, Mr. Greenberg joins several other celebrities who are exploring investments in an industry that has been steadily losing readers and advertisers to the Internet.

Last week, two Los Angeles billionaires, Eli Broad and Ronald W. Burkle, made a surprise bid for all of the Tribune Company, whose assets include 11 newspapers, two dozen television stations and the Chicago Cubs baseball team. David Geffen, the co-founder of DreamWorks, the Hollywood studio, has been exploring the possibility of a bid for The Los Angeles Times. And John F. Welch Jr., the former chief executive of the General Electric Company, has been mulling a bid for The Boston Globe, a unit of The New York Times Company.

Having amassed more than $20 billion, Mr. Greenberg could prove to be a major force in the newspaper industry. People who have spoken with him recently suggest that his interest in the newspaper industry is sincere. "Hank is completely serious. He's looking to make his next big bet," one person who spoke with him said, cautioning that it was still early. "He likes to be a contrarian. He thinks many newspapers have strong brands and are being massively undervalued."

A spokesman for Mr. Greenberg declined to comment.

Beyond Mr. Greenberg's view that newspapers may be undervalued, it is unclear if his interest is simply as an investor or if he wants to take an active role in the editorial direction of newspapers.

Many of Mr. Greenberg's colleagues, including Mr. Broad, Mr. Geffen and Mr. Welch, appear to be interested in purchasing their local papers more for civic reasons than financial ones. Mr. Broad, for example, has told associates that he will be willing to accept lower profit margins to create a paper that benefits the community.

People close to Mr. Greenberg say he has also raised questions about the dual-class share structure of several newspapers, including the Times Company, where family members have control through a special class of stock.

Before Mr. Greenberg was ousted from A.I.G. last year under a cloud of suspicion about accounting issues, he was frequently interviewed in newspapers and on television and seemed to relish attention from the press. But since his troubles arose, he is said to have been frustrated with the way much of the news media has covered his travails and has in large part stayed away from publicity, with the exception of a few strategically timed interviews.

While Mr. Greenberg may pursue the Tribune Company and other papers alone, people close to him said he had also put out feelers about joining other investors. Mr. Greenberg already has a relationship with Mr. Broad, for example, as a result of Mr. Broad's sale of the insurance company SunAmerica to A.I.G. It could not be learned yesterday whether the two men had been in contact.

Mr. Greenberg has been looking for a next act since he was ousted from A.I.G. last year over questions about whether the company masked underwriting losses and faltering reserves with various sham transactions, including one with General Re, a unit of Berkshire Hathaway.

The New York attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, has filed a civil suit against Mr. Greenberg, accusing him of accounting tricks to hide problems at the company. Mr. Greenberg has denied the accusations. Mr. Spitzer recently dropped several of the civil charges in the suit.

Friday, November 10, 2006

LA Times Ever Popular Correcting the Corrections Feature Returns! And Still Can't Get It Right!

First, the first correction:

Disappearing cafeterias: An article in Friday's California section about the dwindling number of cafeterias in the Southland said that Gorky's Cafeteria was in Hollywood. It was in downtown Los Angeles.

Now the correcting the correction correction:

Disappearing cafeterias: An article in Friday's California section about the dwindling number of cafeterias in the Southland said Gorky's Cafeteria opened in Hollywood in 1983 and closed in the early '90s. A correction to that article that appeared on Monday's A2 said Gorky's was located downtown. The restaurant's first location, in downtown Los Angeles, opened in 1983. Both it and the cafeteria's Hollywood location closed in the early '90s.

NOW... stay tuned for the soon to be coming... corecting the correction correction of the correcting the correction correction:

As anyone who actually went to Gorky's downtown knows, it was NEVER called Gorky's Cafeteria. It was always either just Gorky's or Gorky's Cafe. But I do recall it possibly also being called Gorky's Russian Cafe and I seem to (maybe) recall Gorky's Cafe and Brewery.

But I never recall it ever being called Gorky's Cafeteria.



Checking my 17 - yes, 17! - out-of-date restaurant, shopping and other LA guidebooks from the Gorky's era - I found 17 variants of Gorky's Cafe (mainly just Gorky's or Gorky's Cafe) - and zero mentions of Gorky's Cafeteria.

Also GOOGLING Gorky's Cafeteria finds exactly one hit.

And, yes, it is the LA Times.

(Also, for the record, there were several Gorky's Cafe and Russian Brewery hits.)

Times New Front Page Design!

First response to the new front page of the Los Angeles Times; checked calendar to see if it was April Fool's Day.

Second response - went to local news stand to buy Sunday Times; left when saw out of Sunday Times. Checked second newstand; realized the cheesy paper at the first newstand was the Times.

Third response. My eyes hurt.

Fourth response. Vow to read Times on-line.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Eli Broad And Ron Burkle Offer To Buy Entire Tribune Empire!

The question is, do Broad and Burkle really want the entire package - or is this just a ploy to get the Tribune Companies to sell them the Los Angeles Times?

James Rainey
Times Staff Writer

10:25 AM PST, November 8, 2006

Billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad and prominent investor Ron Burkle submitted a bid today to buy Tribune Co. , which owns the Los Angeles Times, KTLA Channel 5 and the Chicago Cubs.

Details about the offer and the price that the duo would be willing to pay remained unclear, but the Los Angeles-based businessmen have said for months that they wanted a local group to take control of The Times.

"Affiliates of the Broad Investment Company and [Burkle's] Yucaipa Companies have submitted a competitive bid for acquisition of the entire Tribune company," a source familiar with the offer said.

Broad declined to comment and Burkle could not be reached.

The offer comes the day after it was revealed that Times Editor Dean Baquet would leave his post, culminating a long-standing dispute between the editor and the paper's Chicago parent over proposed staff reductions. A month earlier, Times Publisher Jeffrey M. Johnson was forced from his job, also largely related to his defiance of editorial staff cuts proposed by Chicago.

David Geffen, the entertainment mogul who is based in Los Angeles, has also expressed interest in acquiring the Los Angeles Times. He has talked about buying the paper himself rather than as part of a group.

In answer to my above question - buying the entire company does make sense if one wants to start a mini-media empire by using the Tribune as a starting platform. But their offering on the entire company also makes sense if they just want to buy the Times. By offering on the entire package, the people running the Tribune are faced with two options - either cut loose the Times - or lose their jobs.

For a more detailed look at how this might work - look at my post of September 2005:

Los Angeles Times Still Ignoring Los Angeles Election Results!

The results of the three propositions voted on by Los Angeles voters still can not be found on the front page of the Los Angeles Times website.

UPDATE! Finally found story on LA propositions buried in the middle of the California section:,1,1275058.story?coll=la-headlines-california

Did Glenda Parker and Stan Jones Give Democrats Majority In US Senate?

Two unknown minor party conservative candidates - independent Glenda Parker in Virgina and Libertarian Stan Jones in Montanta only received about 36,000 votes between them (as of tonight), but they still each polled two or more times more than the existing winning margins polled by the Democratic candiates for each senate seat. So very likely if they had not been running, both of the Republican candidates would tonight be leading and the Senate might still be in Republican hands when all the votes are counted.

Also, the Green party did not field a candidate in either, which even further influenced the projected results.

But no matter what the eventual outcome of either of these races in the days to come, it makes you realize how much a just single individual with limited resources can still make a difference in our society and how just a comparative handful of voters can dramatically change national policy.

Nine Dead Election Links on LA Times Website!

Is there anything else that needs to be said?



Dead links spring back to life at 1:40 AM. Still no word on three Los Angeles propositions.

LA Times Election Night Website DOA!

Not only does does the Los Angeles Times not have any... Los Angeles... coverage yet - but the links to both the state wide races and the state wide propositions have not worked for sometime.

Slate Corrects - And Yet - NOT Corrects - Witold Rybczynski Architectural Blunders!

Correction, Nov. 2, 2006: This article originally identified the Californian architectural movement represented by Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames, and Craig Ellwood as taking place during the 1960s. It is more accurate to locate it in the 1950s. (Return to the corrected sentence.)
Witold Rybczynski is Slate's architecture critic.

To begin with, while the mention of the correction was made on November 2nd - it took several days after that before the article was actually corrected. Second, only one of the architects - Craig Ellwood - was part of the 1950's movement; the other two did influence that decade, though, but that was due to their work done earlier than the 1950's. Richard Neutra's actual breakthough decade was the ... 1920's.... and his most innovative work was done from 1920's until the 1940's. And Charles and Ray Eames's careers as architects ended in ... 1949. They did not have a single structure of any import built in the 1950's.

Far worse, though, is Rybczynski's uncorrected (and probably unthinking, dashed off with any thought) statement that West Coast cities such as Los Angeles lacked the architectural tradition that cities such as... Boston... had; a statement I can not imagine any creditable architectural historian even saying with a straight face, much less try to defend.

That statement of his is pure, unadultered bullshit and if Rybczynski does not realize this in quiet retrospect and if he still refuses to correct it, he probably should not be writing about architecture.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Why Change Was Needed At The Los Angeles Times

I will adddress later the forced resignation of Dean Baquet who worked hard to make the LA Times a better newspaper and how in many ways, he accomplished that.

But the major unsolved problem of the LA Times is that it simply refuses to be a paper that focuses on... Los Angeles. And that is depressingly clear when one looks at the LA Times website tonight. Long after the Daily News has full front page coverage on the two major propositions facing Los Angeles voters, there is still not a single word - or even a link - to any story covering the results of those Los Angeles races in the Los Angeles Times.

Unfortunately, even after all these months and all the critics telling him that - Dean Baquet never quite got that message.

Monday, November 06, 2006

One Of Those 'Is There ANYTHING The LA Times Didn't Get Wrong In The Article' Corrections!

At least the Los Angeles Times is honest to enough to admit in the below correction that they never bothered to actually talk with the people whom the article was about before they wrote it.

My favorite LA Times experience of this type was when a columnist (who is no longer with the paper) called to fact check a story about me at his editor's insistence since he had never spoken to me. But when I informed him he had all his facts dead wrong - he told me it was too late to do anything about it because the paper was about to go to press, which turned out to be a lie. He then altered one line slightly, but left all the untrue statements in his column. And, of course, no correction was ever made.

My second favorite experience was when a writer called to apologize when an editor (who had never met or talked to me) added an unflattering descriptive word before my name that was not only not what she had written and not her opinion of me, but which also contradicted everything she had written in the article.

November 4, 2006
'Blood Diamond': An article in the Oct. 10 Calendar section about controversy in the diamond industry over the film "Blood Diamond," to be released in mid-December, included references to the De Beers Group. De Beers was not given a reasonable amount of time to respond, contrary to The Times' policy.

The article referred to De Beers as a cartel that controls the majority of the world's diamonds. There are conflicting statistics over the percentages of diamonds mined and sold by various companies, and a De Beers spokesman says it does not mine and market the majority of the world's diamonds.

The article said De Beers was banned from operating in the U.S. for a decade because of antitrust violations, a reference that erroneously combined two 1994 legal challenges: The company was never banned but says its executives chose not to travel to the U.S. after a 1994 indictment charging De Beers and General Electric with industrial diamond price-fixing. De Beers pleaded guilty in 2004 and was sentenced to pay a $10-million criminal fine. Also, De Beers was accused of violating antitrust laws in a group of class-action lawsuits in 1994 that alleged U.S. consumers overpaid for diamonds; it settled those lawsuits for $250 million in 2005 without admitting liability.

The article also said that De Beers executive Jonathan Oppenheimer asked the "Blood Diamond" filmmakers to add a disclaimer stating that the events portrayed were fictional and that, under the Kimberley Process, so-called conflict diamonds now rarely end up on the market. This request came from the World Diamond Council, not from Oppenheimer or De Beers. The article suggested Oppenheimer was head of the De Beers Group when he expressed concerns about the film in September 2005 to diamond dealers and retailers at an industry convention in Cape Town, South Africa. At the time, he was head of a division, De Beers Consolidated Mines; he is currently a member of the company's board of directors.

The article stated that De Beers is exploring for diamonds on land in Botswana that was formerly occupied by the Kalahari Bushmen. That claim is made by Survival International on behalf of the Bushmen, who were relocated by the Botswanan government, which is partnered with De Beers in a diamond company called Debswana. A De Beers spokesman says that while it has explored in the Bushmen's former homeland in the past, it has never mined there and "today has no activity of any sort in the region."

The article also referred to a report released by the U.S. Government Accounting Office. Its name is the Government Accountability Office.

A letter from the De Beers Group providing that company's perspective was published in the Calendar section on Oct. 14 and can be read online at A letter from the World Diamond Council appears in today's Calendar section on Page E15.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Excellent Article On Gene Autry Museum Of The West In Sunday New York Times!

Cowboys and Indians Reconsidered: The Mythic West, Lassoed In by Reality

LOS ANGELES — Breakaway bottles used as props in fake saloon fights, posters for grade-B movies, a Hopalong Cassidy board game, Annie Oakley’s pistols, Gary Cooper’s toupee and a diorama of the O.K. Corral shootout: this is what you might expect to find in a museum founded by America’s Favorite Singing Cowboy, Gene Autry.

And here, at the Museum of the American West (formerly the Autry Museum of Western Heritage) in Griffith Park, nostalgic film buffs and aficionados of cowboy culture will find it all, much of it associated with an entertainer whose reputation was made with a guitar and a saddle, but whose greatest hit was a 1949 rendition of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” that sold more than 30 million copies.

That is why it seemed so bizarre when, in 2003, the Autry Museum, with its $100 million endowment, absorbed the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, with its neglected world-class collection of 250,000 objects associated with once-flourishing tribes. This takeover caused much consternation. It wasn’t just the old cowboy-versus-Indian battle recurring in modern commercial form. It was the triumph of the phony cinematic West over its authentic past, with Hollywood’s stage sets winning out over relics so neglected through the decades that many had been assaulted by mold, mildew and insect infestation.

But something is needed other than these comfortable formulas to account for what the Museum of the American West has already become. In the next few years it has the potential to map out a new form of historical museum in the United States, one that is neither an intoxicated celebration of Western fantasy — turning itself into another stage set in a fictionalized drama — nor romanticized recompense for those who lost out in the conflict, as is now so often the case; sadly, the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington set the standard for a new indulgent, sentimental tone of Indian self-celebration.

The only problem is that this increasingly world class museum is buried in the wilds of Griffith Park (and near impossible to reach by public transportation) instead of being in the heart of the city where it would have some visibility. It is also a musuem that not a single person I know has ever been to - and I have only been to twice myself (and I was almost totally alone in the galleries each time). And now this mistake is about to be compounded by adding onto the complex at the existing site rather than expanding at a location where the public might actually find the museum.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Laurel Canyon Mountain Lion, I Mean... Bobcat - Returns!

Below is the latest comment on my Laurel Canyon Bobcat post:

The Bobcat is back at a new time! Two weeks ago, at 2pm, on a sunny day in Laurel Canyon I was sitting at my living room full length picture window blankly staring at the front yard and a grey with black markings bobcat with lynx like tufts on its ears came sauntering right on up the hill thru the yard directly to my window. Without the glass I could have petted it. It didn't hear or see me for some reason and I could see its yellow eyes processing the natural outdoors, while it was wrapped deeply in thought. I jumped up and went outside and it just walked away slowly down the driveway like it had not a care in the world. Realizing I was out there alone with a bobcat I looked around for a broom behind the car and when I came back it was gone~! Once again, a change in tactics of the cat, or was it a new replacement troop? Not sure. But its a mistake to accept the stereotyped information put out by various Bobcat sites. Look for other's personal experiences as there is more going on. The raw panic that came over me to make sure my pets were safe was really unpleasant. But they were ahead of me, sitting up on the flat roof hidden quietly watching. They too have adjusted their survival tactics, and now I must once again, adjust mine. We are all a bunch of animals still trapped in some ancient dance of predation and survival mistakenly thinking, in an age of suburban, citi-fied modernity that the old ways can't come back, but yes they can. And I won't even go into the four stalking and very mean racoons that come and throw themselves against the window and screen door at 2AM disappearing for a week everytime I chase them away. So now I have a boathorn to really surprise them next time they try and break in. Soon all this enlightened loving nature thing, and aren't these wild animals all so cute will be replaced with us all at each other's necks. Its amazing how one's pets can bring them right into the natural world. They have feelings about this just like I do except the human warrior has a broader and much more varied approach in battling the terror's of nature. They look at me in amazement when I confront nature and push it off one more time. Ultimately, nature never gives up though, and if it can't get us by quick surprise, it gets us in old age. Yes there is beauty there also, so many kinds, but then there is this other side that is incredibly cruel. If people only could really see just what this life actually is, really see, just maybe they would grow up and get it once and for all. For as a nation we live in a time of great external and self-imposed peril, all fruits of bad human judgement. Everyone wants to stand on top of the sand pile, good people and bad people and soon we will be in a world were nuclear proliferation will be in so many immature hands it will kill tens, hundreds, possibly millions of humans and animals and trees and plants and entire ecosystems all because of a series of interlocking bad judgements set in us by a nature that will surely limit our over-population in the only way it knows how. And we are playing right into its hands with each passing day. I know this to be true by the growing intolerance between people, even our own people. Just as native animals cannot break the yoke of predation and survival to control their numbers and keep the genetics of their species maximally tuned for foward evolution the same is happening to us. We don't see this because our species societies change the nature of the way things progress. Its a type of geologic time but in the mammalian paradigm with enriched uranium, plutonium, tritium, and if they could fusable cobalt so they could ignite iron and destroy our entire chemical periodic table. Then nature can start over and entropy can be preserved in an endless cycle of creation and destruction. Then nobody benifits, and all that has been built has been squandered and forgotten as if it never existed--all irrevicably erased. Unless we all take a proactive strong effort to open up the doors of real communication for a very long time, we are cooked. This is nature's way. It knows no other way. But we, humans the only species gifted with a decent chance at establishing real intelligence on our earth need to act now to stop the slide of our technologies into a giant global consuming war machine that will grind us up like veal patties. Robert Oppenheimer knew what he had unleashed on the world, and if he hadn't done it another surely would. And they are lining up from timbucktoo to poughkeepsie to get access to the bomb as its their only ticket to a proud culminating armegeddon. If a bobcat could drop a bomb on a cat it would. Sounds funny, kind of, but its exactly what we are doing.

The first post on this is at: