Saturday, August 30, 2008

Single Funniest Line Of The Campaign!

Hell, this may be the single funniest thing anyone says about anything all year. But - warning - if you have never lived in a small town and you have never been directly involved in small town politics - you will never understand, much less appreciate this line.

Pollster John Zogby: "Palin is not to be underestimated. Her real strength is that she is authentic, a real mom, an outdoors person, a small town mayor (hey, she has dealt with a small town city council - that alone could be preparation for staring down Vladimir Putin, right?)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why Downtown Los Angeles Is Exactly Like Buffalo!

Well, maybe not... exactly... alike (Buffalo being only second to Detroit in poverty and second to almost no place when it comes to snow), but there is one feature we do share - and one way in which we both differ from New York City. And that is because in Downtown Los Angeles - unlike in Manhattan - any boy can grow up to be.... Newell Nussbaumer!

Newell Nussbaumer has never lived in New York City. He has not, in fact, lived anywhere for any significant amount of time outside of Buffalo. But if I’d met him out of context, I’d have assumed he lived in San Diego and spent his nights sleeping on his surfboard on the beach. Nussbaumer, who’s 40, arrives at my hotel on Saturday morning wearing blue-tinted sunglasses, his blond hair pulled back in a short ponytail. He’s riding a tandem bicycle with his girlfriend, Amelia Schineller, on the back. Nussbaumer is the publisher of Buffalo Rising, a free monthly magazine and Website he started in 2003, mostly because he realized that there wasn’t a single media outlet in the city that ever said anything upbeat about Buffalo.

As we head out on our scheduled bike tour—Nussbaumer, Schineller, their friend Tim, and a couple named Jason and Sara—it quickly becomes apparent that, in his capacity as media mogul and tireless advocate and general dude-about-town, Nussbaumer’s become a kind of unofficial mayor of Buffalo. Every few blocks we pass someone who waves and shouts, “Hey, Newell!” or “What’s up, Newell!” Suddenly, a thought occurs to me: If I lived in a place like Buffalo, I could be Newell Nussbaumer, too.

And that’s before we arrive at Newell Beach.

It’s not officially called Newell Beach. That’s just what his girlfriend calls it. (The term makes him squirm, actually.) But as we park our bikes and look over this small, 150-foot patch of sand, where the boulders and deadwood and debris have been cleared away, right there on the rocky shore of Lake Erie, it’s quite clear that, were it not for Nussbaumer, this beach would not exist. Because Nussbaumer got it in his head one day that the good people of Buffalo deserved a beach. So he went to City Hall, met with the appropriate councilman, and convinced that guy, too.

“You see all kinds of people here now,” Nussbaumer says. “I met a guy from the inner city who brought his daughter down here, and she was building a sand castle. He said to me, ‘She’s never in her life been to a beach before.’ ”

And here’s the thing: You can bike around Buffalo and point to a lot of things and say, “Newell Nussbaumer did that.” That week he’d been to City Hall with a group of cycling advocates and had persuaded the city to convert some of its old parking meters to bike stands, which is part of his grand scheme to make Buffalo the most bike-friendly city in North America. (Current title holder: Portland, Oregon.) Later, at the offices of Buffalo Rising, Nussbaumer explains how most of his staff are unpaid interns, who work for free not because they’re hoping to scrabble their way up some media ladder (in Buffalo, that ladder has no rungs) but because, as he says, “they know they’re helping to create this city where they want to live.” I think of the many valiant unpaid interns I’ve known in New York, and while most of them were working hard to create their own lives, not one of them (or at least not the sane ones) imagined they were helping to create New York City.

The moral of this story is that just like in Buffalo - in Downtown Los Angeles - an indidivual can still make a difference.

Why Our Taxes Are So High!

The above linked article lists just the newest way Los Angeles County social workers have found to steal from the taxpayers. And they have found so many ways to steal from the public - it's a wonder they ever do any actual work.

My only question is - what's worse? The brazen corruption in local and state government that none of our elected officials is willing to do anything about - or the fact that the below article excerpt does not mention how many (if any) of these hundreds - yes - hundreds of criminals when you add up all different schemes discovered in just one year year - are being sent to jail - or even being fired.

The answer, likely, though - is zero on both counts. But don't worry. They'll eventually get theirs. Yes, they will all be getting their life long pensions and free medical coverage as their rewards for stealing from the public.

Hundreds of L.A. County social workers either liars or really bad drivers, audit suggests
By Troy Anderson, Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 08/26/2008 11:36:40 PM PDT


360 of 690 claims between July 2005 and November 2007 were for single-vehicle accidents based solely on employees' own statements that they were work-related.

80 employees filed about 170 claims - an average of two or more per employee.

One employee submitted four claims in a year, all single-vehicle accidents, totaling about $6,000.

One employee filed two claims totaling $5,800 for damage that occurred on days the employee's timecard indicated she was not at work.

In yet another stinging audit of Los Angeles County's Department of Children and Family Services, a new investigation has found that hundreds of social workers in the past two years racked up $1.1 million in vehicle-damage claims that included a host of questionable payouts, officials said Tuesday.

Auditors said one social worker sought reimbursement for vehicle damage while off-duty, others forged supervisors' signatures on claims and dozens of claims for windshield damage were paid out at an average cost of $950 when the usual cost is about $265.

In one case, auditors said, a social worker claimed a vehicle was totaled and filed a claim exceeding $10,000 - more than the vehicle's fair market value - even though a police report described the accident as a minor "fender bender."

And overall, auditors said a widespread lack of management oversight and controls in reimbursing the county's 3,000 social workers for work-related vehicle damages from July 2005 to November 2007 resulted in nearly 700 claims.

"We took a sample and discovered 80 employees had filed approximately 170 claims," said acting Auditor-Controller Wendy Watanabe. "That's an average of two or more claims per employee. That seems very excessive.

"And more than half of the claims were single-vehicle accidents. ... Many involved windshield damage, which appeared to be excessive. That just seems very high."

`Lax in oversight'

DCFS Director Trish Ploehn acknowledged the problems and said the department has strengthened management controls over the claims process.

"The review found we were lax in our fiscal oversight and authorized a number of reimbursements without ensuring the required procedures were followed," Ploehn wrote in a letter to her managers.

"This failure to follow procedure negatively impacts our integrity as a fiscally responsible agency. This is especially troublesome at a time when we are expecting reductions in our county and department budget."

The audit follows a spate of similar inquiries that have found systemic problems in the department. In August 2007, auditors found that the DCFS misspent millions of dollars on unnecessary and overpriced supplies and violated county spending limits.

The next month, auditors found that social workers pocketed at least $100,000 in unwarranted overtime and bonus pay. And last November, an audit found that social workers spent tens of thousands of dollars on meals and entertainment, including tickets to the musical "Wicked."

Auditors launched a review of the agency's damage claims after a routine review of vehicle claims found that the number of DCFS claims was proportionally higher than other county departments.

Of 690 accident claims, 360 were for single-vehicle accidents, many involving windshield and tire damage or driver error, like running over parking lot spikes and backing into poles.

Auditors also found that 80 social workers filed 170 accident claims.

"For example, one employee submitted four claims in one year, all single-vehicle accidents, totaling approximately $6,000," auditors wrote.

Another social worker received more than $600 in rental car expenses for 23 days, which appeared excessive, auditors wrote.

"The employee's vehicle required minor bumper repairs for $1,100, which included eight hours of labor," auditors wrote.

Meanwhile, the DCFS also paid 28 of 58 employee claims reviewed without all of the required documents and approvals. On five of these claims, the required documents were not approved by the employees' supervisors.

"For example, an employee approved her own field itinerary by signing her supervisor's name and putting her initials next to the signature," auditors wrote.

"Another claim had three different signatures for the division chief, but the division chief only signed one of the forms."

In response to the audit, Watanabe said the DCFS now requires senior managers to approve any work-related vehicle damage claims.

And to help reduce the costs for windshield damage, Ploehn said, the DCFS has contracted with a company that comes to DCFS offices to fix windshields.

"I had told my administrative staff that I wanted a 100 percent audit of every process we've got to make sure we are using our money wisely, particularly in light of the potential budget cuts," she said.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What's $60 Million To A LA Times Copy Editor?

The headline reads - 40 million awarded to Mattel by Jury. But the AP article reads - 100 million awarded by jury to Mattel. And at the moment it is the lead front page story on the website and has been for over 90 minutes. Doesn't anyone at the LA Times read their own website?

Jury awards Mattel Inc. $40 million in Bratz lawsuit
From the Associated Press
4:37 PM PDT, August 26, 2008
RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- A federal jury awarded Mattel Inc. $100 million in damages today in a federal copyright lawsuit that pitted the house of Barbie against MGA Entertainment Inc., the maker of the saucy Bratz dolls.

MGA and its chief executive officer, Isaac Larian, were told to pay a total of $90 million in three causes of action related to Mattel's employment contract with designer Carter Bryant, who developed the Bratz concept.

The jury also ordered MGA, Larian and subsidiary MGA Hong Kong to pay a total of $10 million for copyright infringement.

MGA contends the three awards related to the contract were duplicative and said it plans to ask a judge to set total damages at no more than $40 million.

In a victory for MGA, the jury did not award any punitive damages and found that neither Larian nor MGA acted willfully when they employed Bryant, a finding that could have dramatically increased the damages.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Los Angeles Times Once Again Proves It Knows Nothing About Los Angeles!

The above linked story about the renovation of the historic Westlake Theatre on Alvarado shows the LA Times continuing lack of even a cursory first hand knowledge of our city.

For those who do not know the Westlake area, it was a fashionable Victorian neighborhood in the 1880's and the 1890's with some larger homes being built into the World War I era (mainly craftsman, Tudor, colonial, etc.) and a few very larger homes - but mainly apartments - being built in the 1920's by which time the elite of LA had mainly not only moved themselves to the West by the time the theater had opened, but they had sometimes even picked up their homes from the now unfashionable neighborhood and moved them to Hancock Park and Windsor Square where the elite had now moved.

And by the 1930's - the pre-WW II era, the neighborhood no longer had any new single family homes being built in it, the new apartments were middle class - at best - and the area had begun its long decline.

As for architecture, the homes were almost all wooden with a few that were purely stucco - and a very few of those were of early Mission or Moorish Design. Very rarely were any of them of the later Spanish revival style of the 1920's and 1930's.

Now read the parts of the article below that describe the neighborhood and its architecture:
Renovation of historic theater evokes hope and grumbling
The 1920s Westlake Theatre is being reborn for performances, but some vendors who use the building as a swap meet wonder where they will relocate.
By Esmeralda Bermudez, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 23, 2008

This was the place where, decades earlier, Charlie Chaplin delighted audiences and Los Angeles' elite, the residents of the district's Spanish-style mansions and high-rise homes, gathered to relax with an evening of theater.

The surrounding community has been transformed dramatically since the theater opened 82 years ago across from MacArthur Park on South Alvarado Street.

Before World War II, it was one of Los Angeles' more fashionable districts, home to some in the movie industry.

Not huge glaring errors - other than the non-existent neighborhoods filled with non-existent Spanish-styled mansions - but still a rather complete lack of real understanding of every single aspect of the social and architectural history of the area; a lack of local understanding that one now expects - and gets - from the Los Angeles Times.

Monday, August 18, 2008

LA Times Article On Eddy Hartenstein Speech!

Not a lot new in the below article - other than to say he is a native of the Southland for the first time, but nothing more specific on that other than to say his childhood was spent in Alhambra. And for those of you who currently write for the Times, Alhambra (not to be confused with Windsor Square or East Los Angeles) is an incorporated city located just east and north of Downtown Los Angeles....

New Los Angeles Times Publisher Eddy Hartenstein asserts independence
The Southland native says he will have more latitude from Tribune bosses in Chicago.
By Michael A. Hiltzik and Martin Zimmerman
Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

10:46 PM PDT, August 18, 2008

The Los Angeles Times' new publisher, Eddy Hartenstein, said Monday that the newspaper would operate with greater autonomy from its corporate parent in Chicago as it tried to reverse steep declines in circulation and revenue while overcoming the trauma of recent staff cuts.

Hartenstein, 57, who is credited with building satellite television leader DirecTV, was named publisher and chief executive Monday. He is the newspaper's fourth publisher since it was acquired in 2000 by Chicago-based Tribune Co., but the first with Southern California roots to hold the job since Otis Chandler, whose family controlled the paper for more than a century, resigned the post in 1980.

Raised in Alhambra, Hartenstein said he expected his familiarity with the community and with the paper -- which he said he began reading at the age of 11 -- to be a major plus.

"To be publisher here in L.A., you need a local, and I am a local," he told an overflow crowd of Times employees at an afternoon meeting. "I'm a 213 kind of guy, not a 312 kind of guy," he declared, referring to the area codes for downtown Los Angeles and Chicago.

The Times has struggled with rapidly changing economic, demographic and cultural conditions that have produced declining revenue and circulation for newspapers across the country.

But it has also struggled to adjust to out-of-town ownership that some critics say has been insensitive to or unaware of the peculiarities of the local market. The resulting tensions continued after Tribune was taken private in December under the leadership of Chicago entrepreneur Sam Zell.

Hartenstein signaled that he would have greater latitude than his predecessor, longtime Tribune executive David Hiller, to run the newspaper his own way. In the conversations with Zell that preceded his appointment, he said, Zell "satisfied me that I was going to be able to do this the way I saw fit."

He said his top priority was increasing revenue rather than cutting costs -- an elusive goal that has been oft-expressed by Tribune executives. Hartenstein said he would step up efforts to improve ad sales. He offered few specifics on his plans, other than to say he would "talk to any existing, new or prospective advertiser."

He also suggested that his experience at DirecTV would help him break fresh ground in presenting new content to readers of The Times and viewers of its website,, while building their audiences.

"All of the folks I know in the content business are always looking for other avenues, other venues, other combinations, other cooperative agreements," he said. "I'm open to any and all ideas that increase our viewership and increase the number and range of demographics we can pull in." Those ideas include increasing ties between The Times and KTLA-TV Channel 5, the Tribune-owned station in L.A.

"I think our society and our technologies and our habits have changed dramatically," he said in an interview in his office before the staff meeting. But that does not eliminate the need for vigorous journalism. "You can have all the fancy appliances that you want, but it is still the discovery, the pursuit, and the active chronicling and reporting of the story that will always need the human touch."

In his meeting with the staff, which has been pared in two rounds of early retirements and layoffs this year, Hartenstein said he had no plans for further cuts, and no directives from Tribune management to contemplate them or to reach a staffing target. "I don't think we can cost-cut our way through this."

Nor did he believe that Zell would cavalierly impose cuts in violation of his agreement to give Hartenstein broad discretion to run the newspaper. He noted that Zell, knowing his experience and independent streak, approached him to come out of retirement to run The Times. "If he's hired me to do this, he's not going to come in here and micromanage me."

"I don't need this job," he added. If Zell were to renege on his word, he said, "I'm gone."

That said, some of the financial pressures facing The Times are beyond Hartenstein's control. Zell's privatization plan increased Tribune's debt burden to a daunting $12 billion. As the largest of Tribune's operating units, The Times has been expected to contribute the largest share of the cash flow needed to service that debt -- part of the impetus for this year's staff cuts. Hartenstein said he and Zell agreed that any discussion of financial targets would take place in six months.

Hartenstein said he was committed to maintaining the global reach of The Times' news gathering, part of what makes it what he called "a world-class newspaper."

"You cannot accurately reflect where we stand in the world without covering the world," he said. "That's as important an aspect of doing the job as covering local news."

Staff members who attended the afternoon meeting said they were impressed with Hartenstein's local roots and "reverence" for the paper. His media background and familiarity with several reporters' work also didn't hurt.

But others said they were waiting to see Hartenstein prove himself.

"I would love to love this guy, but we've learned the hard way before not to invest our hearts in new leadership," said Geoff Mohan, an environment editor. Mohan said he was troubled by Hartenstein's comment about leaving the paper if Zell reneged on promises to let him be an independent executive.

"The test for every good fighter is whether he can take a punch," Mohan said. "I'm tired of good people standing up for what's right, and then reaching the breaking point and walking away."


Times staff writer Tiffany Hsu contributed to this report.

Early Report On Inaugural Speech By Eddy Hartenstein To The Troops!

Below are portions Kevin's post over at LA OSERVED quoting an email from a LA Times employee:
Just got out of a meeting with Eddy.... He says all the right things--but so did the previous publishers. He seems genuine, bright and has poise. He's a local and is familiar with the paper; a dedicated reader (and yes, it's apparent he reads the sports section, unlike some I could mention). When people asked questions, he recognized their bylines--very heartening to the staff.

He emphasized that he hadn't been recruited for the job; that he was happily retired and was introduced to Zell through a mutual acquaintance. He and Zell had lunch and that was that. About a month ago Zell called and asked: "How'd you like to run the L.A. Times?" He also emphasized that he doesn't need this job and left the strong impression that he expects Sam Zell to be a man of his word about freedom to run The Times and if Sam doesn't keep his word, Hartenstein will be gone. Hartenstein and Zell are supposed to talk in roughly six months about how things are going....

People asked about his lack of experience with newspapers. He said he has lots of experience with DirecTV in getting and retaining subscribers.

He says he's a "213" guy, not a "312" guy. Also much laughter.

Biz is doing the real story, these are just a few random notes.

More at above link.

Los Angeles Times Still Doesn't Know The Difference Between Windsor Square And Koreatown!

Despite the combined efforts of a staff writer, an editor and a copy editor - the LA Times story with a headline claiming that 400 S. Western was in Windsor Square and the body of the article saying that it was near Windsor Square, even after a post by me, four different emails to the paper and a published comment on the LAT blog - the best the paper can do is change the headline to saying that the 400 block of South Western is just near as opposed to actually being in Windsor Square. Still not mentioned in either article is the name of the community that the 400 block of South Western is in - Koreatown.

Hopefully, new publisher Eddy Hartenstein can fit some copy editing into his duties since he - at least - grew up in LA and just might know something about this city.

Eddy Hartenstein Inspects His Troops At 3 PM!

Today's LAT's Staff memo from FISHBOWLLA:

New L.A. Times Publisher Eddy Hartenstein sent the staff the following good morning:

Good day,

As an avid reader of The Times for more than 45 years, I never dreamed that I would awake one morning to find my name at the top of the masthead. I am honored to have the opportunity to lead this venerable institution, humbled to be in the building where journalists ply their noble craft, and sober to the difficult economic realities of the newspaper business.

You will find that I manage by walking around, try to listen more than speak, make decisions quickly after hearing all sides, and am not afraid to reverse course if we happen to stumble into the cauldron of unintended consequences.

We need to continue to be many things to many people, with the utmost urgency, and without ever sacrificing our integrity. I took this job because I firmly believe that we, the women and men of the Los Angeles Times, can show the rest of the world how the Fourth Estate can not only survive, but thrive in the 21st century. Whether our journalism is delivered electronically, on, in the printed paper, or through some other medium, a vibrant newsroom is essential to our mission.

Please join me for an all-hands meeting this afternoon at 3 p.m. in the Chandler Auditorium.

LAPD Power Grab Threatens Both Film Production In LA Plus Safety In The Streets!

Nikki Finke has just exposed one of the worst ideas ever to hit this city. Taking active duty cops off the streets and having them baby sit film shoots. So not only will fewer cops be on the streets, but red tape, scheduling problems and higher costs will only further accelerate the film and TV industries fleeing LA for other states. Additionally, if being forced to hire active duty police officers to work film sets works out anything like being forced to hire active duty firemen to monitor fire safety at events, this will quickly devolve into a feather bedding boondoggle.

LAPD keeps complaining its officers are overworked. And the Los Angeles public keeps complaining there aren't enough officers on the streets. So why in the world is the Los Angeles City Council even contemplating the LAPD making a grab to take back jurisdiction over L.A. television and movie location sets by replacing movie cops with off-duty active police? As one location manager advocating the status quo system that's worked well for decades told me, the LAPD wants this added responsibility "regardless of their ability to adequately man or administer the volume of work that the retired officers provide".

The movie cops are retired LAPD officers in charge of traffic and crowd control on TV and film locations. They see themselves as professionals and have even formed the Motion Picture Officers Association, with 150 or so members who have the required LAPD-issued permits to assist movie and TV productions. Interestingly, the Hollywood studios who employ the movie cops don't want changes. The MPAA points out that retired officers aren't subject to the same overtime limits as active duty police, so staying on schedule and on budget may prove impossible if TV and film sets are brought under LAPD control. Last year, the MPAA and LAPD agreed to start assigning a sergeant to oversee film sets and make spot checks to ensure permit compliance. But the LAPD is arguing that the rules regarding filming permits are still not being enforced toughly enough by the retirees.

The changes being advocated by the LAPD are part of its lobbying for a new overall Contract Services Section to give Parker Center control over law enforcement at major events, like sporting and filming. I've looked at the different sides of this issue, and I don't understand why the LAPD wants to fix something that ain't broke, especially when the police have far more serious matters to worry about. But now this issue is heating up before the Los Angeles City Council and the LAPD plans to start moving in the retired officers as soon as October, according to Hal Dejong, the president of the Motion Picture Officers Association. Here's the email DeJong sent to his members and was made available to me:

To All MPOA members
From Hal DeJong

LAPD Chief Jim McDonnell has been in City Council offices shaking hands, finding ways to help with general constituent problems, and promoting his plan for Contract Services Section. He has all but won over the Council members and their staff members at this point. He and Duran have been selling the Council members on what an awful disciplinary problem the retired officers are, with Duran using the things he has been doing to us as evidence to back up those claims. The Council is getting the same impression of the retired officers that the Chief of Police got from Futrell and Rives.

We have to get OUR message to the Council members. They need to know that we are not out of control as LAPD is painting us. We need to, and our friends in the industry need to, let them know the following points:

The film industry values the services of the retired officers. Their experience makes it safe for them to do running shots, stunts on the streets, and significantly contributes to the effectiveness of their production efforts within the City. Many of these activities are specifically planned in Los Angeles because they do not get anywhere near the level of support from off-duty active officers in other jurisdictions. It is not the fault of those officers. They simply lack the experience and know-how that the retired LAPD officers have developed over the years. This industry has a $52 billion per year impact on the economy of the region. Other areas of the country are actively seeking to lure production to their cities and states, building elaborate sound stages and offering incentives to move production there. Yet much of it remains here, in part due to the support they receive from the experienced retired officers who facilitate their production requirements. The LAPD proposal will take away this experience, and substitute the same type of "crime fighter" officers that they get in other jurisdictions, who have little or no concept of how to safely set up for a movie closure .

The LAPD has embarked on a campaign to portray the retired officers as unfit to serve in the uniform of the Los Angeles Police Department. They have assigned a Sergeant to harass the retired officers with petty complaints, documenting numerous alleged infractions of the rules so that they may use those in their case to eliminate the retired officers. The truth is that the vast majority of the retired officers are dedicated, experienced, seasoned officers who truly work to facilitate the delicate balance between the rights and safety of the public and the needs of the film companies.

These retired officers have from 20 to 30 years of experience handling police situations before they retired. They also have years of experience working film locations. Those are different skill sets. The retired officers know from experience where the film sensitive areas are and why they are sensitive. They take steps to mitigate the impact on the location in those situations. A large cadre of active officers rotating through off-duty movie jobs would prevent those officers from acquiring the skill level of the retired officers for a very long time.

These retired officers have earned the respect of the production industry, which has given them de facto authority over enforcement of the film permit provisions, even in the absence of formal statutory authority.

The retired officers are able to respond to the highly dynamic schedules of the film industry without impacting the cost or level of police service in the City.

The current system under which coordinators facilitate the assignment of retired officers to movie jobs provides the necessary level of flexibility to change call times, add or delete officers, even at the last minute. The LAPD proposal would require 4 days notice. The current system often changes call times at wrap the day before.

While police patrol work is demanding and requires an officer to maintain a state of readiness to enter into a gunfight at any moment is his shift, location film work does not require such a high state of readiness. Retired officers are able to work the long hours of production schedules. Active officers would have to limit their movie job hours to avoid conflict with their scheduled LAPD shifts, court appearances, and other obligations.

Because the retired officers are not employed by the City, any lawsuits arising out of their actions would be against the retired officer and/or the studios they are working for. The actions of active officers working on City payroll would subject the City to legal liability for their actions. While the track record of citizen lawsuits against retired officers for their actions is nearly nonexistent, that is not the case for the actions of active LAPD officers.

Because retired officers are not City employees, their injuries are not treated at City expense and the City does not lose the services of an officer while the retired officer recovers from his injuries. An active officer injured on a movie job must be paid his regular salary while he recovers, even though he is unable to work his regular shifts during that time.

The City Council needs to hear the true impact of allowing LAPD to take away the retired officers and substitute active duty officers. The time is now to use any and all contacts you have. If you have access to a City Council member, go in and tell them. If you have friends in the industry who have access to City Council members or the Mayor, encourage them to go in, or at least call in, and promote retaining the retired officers. If you have contacts in the media, present the case to them. Media disclosure of the potential for increased costs to the City for this plan could result in a public backlash against LAPD taking these over.

The LAPD take-over seems to be very much closer than we thought. Lieutenant Ray Garvin has been given the direction to assemble his team within the next two months in preparation for their implementation of contract services. We now believe that the October general meeting of retired officers working movie jobs that Duran has told us he has planned will be the announcement that retired officers will no longer be allowed to work movie jobs in the uniform of the Los Angeles Police Department. We have a very short window of opportunity to try to counter this.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

If You See Only One Art Show This Season - Tonight...

.... join me at the 01 Gallery for a new opening curated by Retna! .... Undisputed Champions, featuring the work of Sam Fuchs and Adam Gray. It is the first official opening at O1's new space on South Hewitt Street in the Barker Block Lofts. The opening will run from 6 pm until 10 pm. So come on down, get some refreshments, listen to some music, and check out the art!

To get a feel for Sam and Adam's work, go to them on the web at

Also, there will be an after party at LaCita Bar in downtown Los Angeles after the opening. They are located at 336 S. Hill St. Go to their web site for directions, etc: Oh, and if you mention the 01 Gallery you get into the bar for FREE!

Contact Information
01 Gallery
530 S. Hewitt St., Suite 141
Los Angeles, CA 90013
phone: 213.689.0101

BOXeight Opens New Gallery Tonight!

BOXeight Studios is celebrating the grand opening of their new, permanent space Downtown with a big ol' party tonight. Head down to check out the inaugural exhibit, featuring Dirk Mai, Peter Eaton Gurnz, Marc Mez, Ben Cope, Urk Denman, Alie Ward, Mike Vensel, Bryden Lando, Casino Nelson Berto H, Soo Yong Kim, Jerry Park/Tara Jean, Marco Rached, and Valou, and live performances from Chester French, Crooked Cowboys & The Fresh Water Indians, and Nite Jewel, along with DJs Keith 2.0 and Cam Francisco.

Why The Los Angeles Times Has No Street Cred!

The headline on the morning version of the LAT website was:
2 found dead in burned building in Windsor Square
Now why would it use the term 'building' when Windsor Square is 100% single family homes. Then came the headline:
2 charred bodies found at Windsor Square fire scene
More than 100 Los Angeles city firefighters worked to control the blaze at a skin-care business on Western Avenue.
Western Avenue is in Windsor Square?? Then the story:
By Jia-Rui Chong, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
11:23 AM PDT, August 16, 2008
Two charred bodies were found early today after a fire in a skin-care business in the Windsor Square area, Los Angeles Fire Department officials said. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.
The fire broke about 2:30 a.m. on the 400 block of South Western Avenue, said department spokeswoman d'Lisa Davies. Authorities were alerted to the blaze by a 911 call from a nearby building, she said. More than 100 firefighters worked for 38 minutes to bring the fire under control.
Now as anyone in this city knows - or should know - 400 S. Western is in the heart of Koreatown. It also used to be called Mid-Wilshire and it has had a couple other names since then. The area between this neighborhood and Windsor Square has also had several names of its own.

But until this moment in time no one has ever claimed that South Western is in Windsor Square - which both headlines do - nor has South Western ever been described as being even in the Windsor Square area. And the only way I can imagine it being called that is if someone picked up a Thomas Guide and looked for the coolest name anywhere near this site and said - well, that works for me!

Now what makes this particular error so embarrassing for the Times is that just two nights ago at a panel discussion on the Times I sat on - the civic tragedy that the reporters and editors of the Times don't even know the streets or the neighborhoods of the city they are supposedly covering was the single most shameful problem at the Times.

And this proves - if anything - we considerably understated the problem.

More On New Publisher Of LA Times!

Eddy Hartenstein may be the perfect publisher for the Los Angeles Times - at least on paper. And I've had some time to check him out though mutual acquaintances since Nikki Finke first floated his name over two weeks ago.

Hartenstein comes from the generation that reads/read newspapers, but he is also an innovator in electronic data delivery. He has an engineering background - which creates the problem solving mind needed to tackle the myriad of issues facing the newspaper industry, but he is also very much a people person according to everyone I've spoken with.

He was also born (I believe, but need to confirm), raised and schooled in Los Angeles.

He is also very, very bright.

L.A. Times names Eddy Hartenstein to publisher's post
The former DirecTV chief must contend with steep declines in circulation and advertising revenues.
By Martin Zimmerman
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

August 16, 2008

Eddy Hartenstein, the former head of satellite television provider DirecTV, will become the new publisher of the Los Angeles Times on Monday.

Hartenstein said Friday that he would fill the post vacated when publisher David Hiller resigned July 14, the same day parent company Tribune Co. began implementing the latest round of staff cutbacks at the paper.

Hartenstein takes over at a time when The Times and most other newspapers are losing readers and advertising revenue at a significant rate. Some observers are even questioning whether the newspaper business as currently constituted can survive.

"I'm not coming into this with blinders on," said Hartenstein, 57. "I realize that the problems are huge and daunting, but I don't believe there's anything that can't be fixed as long as everyone is pulling in the same direction."

An avid reader of The Times since his boyhood in Alhambra, he said, "I love challenges. I love complex issues and problems, and this certainly met all that."

Sam Zell, who has led Tribune since taking the Chicago-based media company private last December, approached the former satellite TV executive about becoming publisher about a month ago, said Hartenstein, who met Zell for the first time last fall.

After mulling it over and doing some research -- which included a 3 1/2 -hour lunch with Times Editor Russ Stanton -- Hartenstein agreed to take the job.

"I wanted to know that I would have the ability . . . to call the shots," said Hartenstein, who said his new boss made no demands concerning future staff cuts. Zell "basically said, 'You're the publisher and CEO. It's yours to run,' and that was pretty much it."

Hartenstein said he also sought assurances that Zell had no intention to simply "dress up the paper for a sale."

"One of the questions I asked Sam was: Are you going to keep this?" Hartenstein said. The answer "was a strong, affirmative 'Yes. This is a keeper.' "

The Times has been particularly hard hit by the current turmoil in the newspaper industry. Its daily circulation has tumbled from a peak of 1.2 million in the early 1990s to about 774,000 this year while advertising revenue has slumped. Traffic to the paper's website, at, has increased sharply in recent years but that has not offset the declines in advertising.

Management turnover has accompanied the circulation decline. Hartenstein will be The Times' fourth publisher since Tribune acquired the paper in 2000. The paper has had four editors since 2005. Hartenstein said he had "no intention of changing the editor of the Los Angeles Times."

His appointment continues Zell's tendency to name former executives from electronic media to positions within Tribune, including Chief Operating Officer Randy Michaels, a former radio executive.

Friends and associates say Hartenstein, regarded by many as the father of the satellite TV industry, combines the analytical thinking of a Caltech-educated engineer -- which he is -- with the people skills needed to lead a complex, consumer-oriented organization, which he also happens to have done.

"He'll meet you once and he won't forget your name, he won't forget what you do -- and he'll care about all of that," said Stanley E. Hubbard, chief executive of Hubbard Media Group in St. Paul, Minn., who has worked with Hartenstein in the past. "It's a very refreshing way for a senior leader to be."

He left a positive impression at the Glendora offices of the National Hot Rod Assn., which was working with an investment group headed by Hartenstein on a $121-million deal to turn the drag racing organization into a mini-NASCAR. The deal abruptly fell apart in February after 18 months of work. With the credit crisis on Wall Street worsening by the day, what had seemed a good deal a year earlier was no longer viable.

"The market conditions were the driving force behind it not happening," said association President Tom Compton, who worked with Hartenstein and his investors. "Those guys are very bright guys. If they couldn't get it done, I'm not sure who could've."

It was a rare setback for Hartenstein, whose career path has been mostly upward. After graduating from Cal Poly Pomona in 1972 with degrees in math and aerospace engineering, he went to work for El Segundo-based Hughes Electronics Corp., a defense contractor and satellite maker that was later acquired by General Motors Corp.

While pursuing a master's in applied mechanics at Caltech in his spare time, Hartenstein was moving up the ladder at Hughes and germinating an idea that would shake up the television industry: using satellites and digital technologies to deliver programming to viewers' homes. Not only would the sound and picture be sharper, satellite TV would make an end run around local cable monopolies, he reasoned.

In the early '90s, Hartenstein persuaded his bosses at GM to finance the venture that would become DirecTV Group Inc. In 1994, DirecTV revolutionized the satellite TV business when it introduced a small receiving dish that could be mounted on a rooftop or apartment balcony, eliminating the need for the wading-pool-sized backyard dishes that had been the standard until then.

The innovation helped win over reluctant consumers and also gave DirecTV a leg up on rivals. Hartenstein, who had been president of DirecTV since its inception and was named chairman and CEO in 2001, distinguished the pioneering medium from its cable competitors by improving customer service and offering innovative packages of sports programming.

By the time he left at the end of 2004, a year after GM sold its stake in DirecTV to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., the company was among the nation's top pay television providers, with 13.9 million subscribers.

Associates say DirecTV's growth illustrates Hartenstein's ability to combine technical innovation with customer-oriented initiatives, shedding when necessary the numbers-driven, pocket-protector persona generally associated with engineers to focus on the commercial aspects of the business.

Other than the failed deal with the drag-racing group, Hartenstein has kept a fairly low profile since leaving DirecTV, serving on the boards of SanDisk Corp., XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., Broadcom Corp. and the City of Hope hospital in Duarte.

Although well known in the industry (he's a member of the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame and received a lifetime achievement Emmy last year), Hartenstein isn't exactly a household name. The Wikipedia page for Alhambra High School doesn't even list him on the roster of notable alums, which includes model Cheryl Tiegs and Hillary Rodham Clinton's mother.

"He doesn't go to the annual gatherings of industry big shots," said Brian Lamb, CEO of C-SPAN and a longtime friend. "He's not a high roller."

Whether Hartenstein's success at building a business from scratch translates to a declining industry that's under assault from a range of newly sprouted competitors remains to be seen. Those who have worked with him say he's adept at choosing effective lieutenants, which could help compensate for his lack of publishing experience.

"Eddy knows what he knows and he knows what he doesn't know," said Compton of the National Hot Rod Assn.

Efforts to reinvent the traditional daily paper so far have failed to gain traction with subscribers, advertisers or investors. At The Times, in addition to halting the slide in circulation, Hartenstein will need to lure advertisers back to the paper and to the website and shore up a demoralized staff.

Even so, those who know Hartenstein don't expect him to make changes impulsively.

"Eddy's not a guy to panic," said Joe Clayton, former chairman of Sirius Satellite Radio. "When things get difficult, he remains calm. He'll assess the situation, get a consensus and then make an appropriate decision."

Here is Nikki Finke's Original Post Back on July 29th!

Also go to the above link to see the comments on her post.

Rocket Scientist New LA Times Publisher?

EXCLUSIVE: Reliable sources tell me that Eddy Hartenstein, the ex-chief of DirecTV, is under serious consideration to be the new Los Angeles Times publisher, replacing David Hiller who was fired this month. A deal for him isn't done yet but he's first choice on the short list. The 57-year-old rocket scientist (yes, really) is a name well-known to Hollywood since he was the Big Kahuna in the development of modern-day satellite television, serving as DirecTV's CEO, chairman, vice chairman and president from the company's inception in 1990 until 2004 when he left after Rupert Murdoch's News Corp bought the company. OK, so why Hartenstein for LA Times publisher?

I'm told it's because he understands subscription-based product and new media distribution after taking DirecTV from zero to 12.5 million subscribers despite facing very stiff competition from cable. Hiring Hartenstein would seem to be a smart move on the part of Tribune Co owner Sam Zell. But why is Hartenstein jumping on board journalism's equivalent of the Titanic? "He doesn't need a job, he needs an adventure," one source explained to me. "He's looking for the next bounce." Hartenstein also served in senior executive positions at the satellite-based communications provider Hughes Communications and Equatorial Communications Services Company, a provider of telephony and data distribution services. Hartenstein was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2002 and received an Emmy for lifetime achievement from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2007.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

LA Cowboy On Future Of The LA Times Panel Tonight!

It starts at 7 PM at the main Library Downtown and seats are stand-by only - but speakers will be set up in the courtyard for the overflow crowd. Further details at the above link.

Thu, Aug 14, 7 PM
Los Angeles Without the Los Angeles Times?
A Community Forum & Panel Discussion
George Kieffer, Robin M. Kramer, Geneva Overholser,
Kevin Roderick, Joel Sappell,
Brady Westwater and
David Lauter, LA Times Editor
Moderated by Kit Rachlis,
Los Angeles magazine

Sneak Preview of 01's 'Undisputed Champions' Art Show On Tonight's Art Walk!

If you want to see the a preview of the hot new show starring Adam Gray and Sam Fuchs premiering at 01 Gallery this Saturday, get yourself down to the Spring Arts Tower (209 West 5th Street at Spring) any time from noon today until 8:30 PM today. This preview will then take a break for 90 minutes of free Comedy Walk shows; the art show will then resume at 10 until 11 pm. It's not often I get excited by a new artist, but these two recent UCLA graduates have one of the best debut shows I have seen in many seasons.

More on the Saturday opening below:

Saturday August 16th at the 01 Gallery we are having a new opening curated by Retna! Undisputed Champions, featuring the work of Sam Fuchs and Adam Gray, will be the first official opening at our new space on 530 South Hewitt Street Suite 141 in the Barker Block Lofts. The opening will run from 6 pm until 10 pm. So come on down, get some refreshments, listen to some music, and check out the art!

To get a feel for Sam and Adam's work, go to them on the web at

Also, we will be having an after party at LaCita Bar in downtown Los Angeles after the opening. They are located at 336 S. Hill St. Go to their web site for directions, etc: Oh, and if you mention the 01 Gallery you get into the bar for FREE!

See you next Saturday!

Everyone at the 01

Contact Information
01 Gallery
530 S. Hewitt St., Suite 141
Los Angeles, CA 90013
phone: 213.689.0101

Downtown FREE Comedy Walk TONIGHT At Farmer's and Merchant's Bank, LATC and Spring Arts Tower!

* Get your FREE TICKET at or just come to the LATC Theatre.
* Thursday, August 14th, 2008, 8:30pm-10pm

COMEDY WALK is the biggest monthly comedy show in the world. It's like speed-dating with comedians! As seen in The Onion. A Los Angeles Times "Best Bet". A Hollywood Today selection. Featured performers this month include Courtney Ca, Mary Kennedy and Bill Word. Two dozen comedy acts. Six simultaneous 90-minute shows.

COMEDY WALK #8 is at the New LATC Theatre, 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, and nearby venues. Different acts and different venues each month. Another performer every ten minutes on six stages. Print the 1-page PDF program with schedule at

This Month's Venues and Hosts:

Venue #1
Host: James Edward Moorer
Tom Bradley Theatre
The New LATC
514 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
500-seat theater

Venue #2
Host: Corey Blake
Lobby Theater
80-seat cabaret
The New LATC
514 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Venue #3
Host: Milka Munoz
The Farmers Room
Farmers & Merchants Bank
Across from Pete's Cafe
401 S. Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Venue #4
Host: Dennis Neder
The Onion Room
Spring Arts Tower
205 W. 5th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
1,400 sq. ft. SRO

Venue #5
The Chicken Room
Spring Arts Tower
211 W. 5th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
1,000-sq.ft SRO

Venue #6
Host: Gabrielle Pantera
Underground Vault
The New LATC
514 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
600 sq. ft. SRO

This Month's Comedians:

1. Kacey Arnold - The Comedy Union, one of the faces of Big Lots -
2. Aurelio Miguel Bocanegra
3. Courtney Ca - Norma Jean's Downtown Comedy
4. Jason Dudey - Hosts GaysRUs @ Hollywood Improv.
5. Celeste Davis -
6. Brian Farrell -
7. Grace Fraga - Laugh Factory, Comedy Store.
8. Chris Gehrt - The Comedy Store, The Hollywood Improv, The Ice House, Club Aura
9. Sean Green - Comedy Garage.
10. Keith Healy - Ice House
11. Paul Jacek - Las Vegas Riviera Hotel and Casino, Comedy Store, founding member of Gay and Lesbian Night/Sunset La Jolla
12. Gayla Johnson - BET Comic View, The Comedy Store, The Laugh Factory, The Ice House -
13. Mary Kennedy - Comedy Central, USA Network, Spike TV, the Laugh Factory, Bonkerz, Rooster T. Feathers, Rascals, Caroline's NYC, The Comic Strip, Stand Up New York.
14. Stogie Kenyatta - USO comedy tour in Tokyo, Japan and Okinawa
15. Carl Kozlowski - Laugh Factory, The Comedy Store, The Ice House, Comedytime -
16. Bruno Lucia -
17. Stevie Mack - Steviemack@Night airing daily at
18. Lisa Mesa - Laugh Factory, Westside Eclectic, Ha Ha Comedy Club -
19. The Mooney Twins (Daryl and Dwayne) - BET Comic View, Montel Williams -
20. Clarinda Morales
21. Maury Rogow - Entourage, Style Network host, Oceans 13, HaHa, Improv, Comedy Store
22. Alicia Simmons - The Comedy Store, The Comedy Union, The Laugh Factory, The Ice House
23. Alysia Wood - National Lampoon Comedy Radio
24. Jon Wilson - The Ha Ha Cafe, La Jolla Comedy Store, The Tonight Show's Jay Walking segment -
25. Bill Word - National Lampoon Comedy Radio

SPECIAL THANKS to Jose Luis Valenzuela, Mark Friedman, and William Flores of The New LATC, Paul Su of Spring Arts Tower, Tom Gilmore of the Old Bank District and Brady Westwater of the Historic Downtown Los Angeles Business Improvement District (BID). For the City of Los Angeles: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, District 9 Councilwoman Jan Perry. For the Cultural Affairs Department: Executive Director Olga Garay, Assistant General Manager Saul Romo.

A big thank you to the many volunteers who make COMEDY WALK possible as a FREE event!

Executive Producer Robin Rowe, Casting Director Gabrielle Pantera, Associate Producer Hillary Layman, A production of

Downtown + Broadway Streetcar Planning Workshop TODAY!


Sponsored by Councilmember Jose' Huizar, Bringing Back Broadway, CRA/LA
and the IBI Group (The event, including lunch, is free)

Thursday August 14
10am - 2:30pm
* Lunch will be provided mid-day

The New LATC - Los Angeles Theatre Center
514 S. Spring Street
Downtown, Los Angeles 90013

* How a Broadway streetcar will integrate with a new Broadway
streetscape design
* How a Broadway streetcar will connect with other forms of transit
* How to make the most out of commercial paseos and pedestrian walkways
between Broadway and adjacent streets
* Ideas for the design of a streetcar maintenance facility

Downtown residents, city and public agency staff and experts, business
owners, property owners, employees and others who want to see downtown
thrive. All are welcome - the event (including lunch) is free of

Parking is available at Joe's Auto Park, 530 South Spring and other
lots in the area.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What Can You Believe In The LA Times? The Headline - Or The Story?

As is too often the case - the headline of a story in the Los Angeles Times - likely not written by the writer of the story - contradicts what the writer says in the story.

L.A. City Council expected to OK 'inclusionary zoning' today

The mandate would require builders to include units for the poor, thus making Los Angeles eligible for hundreds of millions of dollars in state housing bond funds.

By Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

10:26 AM PDT, August 13, 2008

New condominium projects in neighborhoods such as Brentwood, Studio City and other affluent parts of Los Angeles could be required to include units for very poor people if the City Council approves a new housing plan as expected today.

The commitment to a so-called inclusionary zoning law, which has been a contentious topic in Los Angeles for years, is part of a comprehensive housing plan that the city must adopt to be eligible for hundreds of millions of dollars in state housing bond funds.

The plan calls for the City Council to introduce a proposed law by the end of the year that would mandate developers build units for poor people.

While the first headline says that inclusionary zoning is being approved today - it is not even being voted upon. All that is being voted upon are some very general policies that will lead to some kind of bill regarding inclusionary zoning likely being introduced later this year.

The second headline says that this alleged mandate 'would' require builders to include units for the poor - but the article - correctly - says this 'could' be required. The article also further states:

Others warned the action would set the stage for a fight over the next few months as developers, advocates for the poor and other interested parties hash out the details.

A law will be introduced and it may or may not pass and even if it passes, it may be radically different than what is being currently proposed. No one currently knows. But there are two things everyone - other than the editors of the LA Times - can agree upon. First, there is no law mandating inclusionary zoning being voted upon today. Second, exclusionary zoning is not being 'approved' today.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

LA Times Confused by Difference Between the City Council and the Board of Supervisors!

L.A. City Council tells Delgadillo, Chick to simmer down

The board wants the city attorney and controller to 'cease' their court battle over an administrative audit.

By Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
2:55 PM PDT, August 12, 2008

The Los Angeles City Council today asked City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo and Controller Laura Chick to "cease" their escalating court battle that was triggered when Chick launched an audit of Delgadillo's workers' compensation unit.

Council? Board? Council? None of the above?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Turns Out EVERYONE Had a Gmail Blackout!

From the New York Times:

August 11, 2008, 6:26 pm
A Modern-Day Blackout: Gmail Goes Dark

By Miguel Helft

UPDATED 6:35 p.m. After about 90 minutes, Gmail came back to life for most users.

My colleague Brad Stone recently wrote about the annoyances tied to persistent system outages at popular Web services of technology stalwarts like Amazon, Yahoo and Research in Motion. It’s now Google’s turn, as Gmail, the company’s popular Web e-mail service, has been down for a very large number of users for about an hour or so.

Type “” into and you’ll get confirmation that if you have Gmail problems, you are not alone.

One of the best places to track the outage is Twitter. Users are venting their frustrations about Gmail being down — at a rate of 100 or so messages per minute. As a user who calls himself dashmybuttons said, “it’s like a neighborhood blackout, now everyone’s out in the street trying to assess what went wrong.”

I called a Google spokesman, who said he would check and get back to me. For a company that is trying to pitch its Web applications to business customers, not to mention millions of individual users, this can’t be good news.

For some users, an HTML version of Gmail partially works at

UPDATE: A Google spokesman confirmed the outage and said the company’s engineers were investigating its cause.

Anyone Else having G-Mail Meltdown? (Now working again... finally)


Gmail by Google

Temporary Error (502)

We’re sorry, but your Gmail account is currently experiencing errors. You won’t be able to use your account while these errors last, but don’t worry, your account data and messages are safe. Our engineers are working to resolve this issue.

Please try accessing your account again in a few minutes.

Try Again Sign Out


Gmail workiong again.

©2005 Google - Gmail Home - Privacy Policy - Program Policies - Terms of Use - Google Home

It's September 1939 and Hitler Has Just Invaded Poland...

.... and if the Allied powers knew then what we know now - would they have taken appropriate actions to stop Hitler? And will we today take appropriate actions when another murderous dictator - Putin - attacks another country to unify his 'fatherland'?

And does anyone expect Putin - who already has agents murdering people who dare oppose him both in his country and overseas and who has already ended democracy in Russia to stop at Georgia if the world lets him take over that country?

Not likely.

But as far as what the appropriate measures are - well, I'm sure glad I don't have to make that decision.


One more point; I neglected to mention last night that when Hitler attacked Poland from the west - the Soviet Union and Stalin attacked Poland from the east. History is about to repeat itself with a new Stalin at the helm of a new Soviet Union.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Why Does the MSM Still Refuse to Actually Investigate The Jon Edwards Story?

Now that the main stream media has - finally - covered the story of John Edward's affair (but only after they had no choice), you would think that they would now critically look at Edward's claims in the interview. But no, despite two clearly smoking guns in the interview that strongly suggest Edwards is still lying.

WOODRUFF: Have you taken a paternity test?

EDWARDS: I have not, I would welcome participating in a paternity test. Be happy to participate in one. I know that it's not possible that this child could be mine because of the timing of events, so I know it's not possible. Happy to take a paternity test, and would love to see it happen.

WOODRUFF: Are you going to do that soon?

EDWARDS: I'm only one side -- I'm only one side of the test, but I'm happy to participate in one.

WOODRUFF: Has Miss Hunter said, she does not want to do this DNA test?

EDWARDS: I don't know what she has said.

Now was anyone surprised when Hunter then announced she would refuse to take a paternity test? Even when she is now claiming that a friend of Edwards is the father? Of course not. Even before she made that statement, Edwards' odd statement about the paternity test make it clear - to me at least - that a deal had already been made for her to refuse to take the test that would prove he is the father.

Second, the truly bizarre language he used to 'deny' the photo of him holding his baby was of him or the baby:
WOODRUFF: And that picture is absolutely you and you are holding that baby.

EDWARDS: The picture in the tabloid. I have no idea what that picture is.

WOODRUFF: But you've seen it right?

EDWARDS: I did see it and I cannot make any sense out of that. When I went to this meeting you've already asked me about, uh, I was not wearing a t-shirt, I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt with the sleeves rolled up. I don't know who that picture -- I don't know if that picture is me, it could well be, it looks like me. I don't know who that baby is, I have no idea what that picture is.

WOODRUFF: But are you saying you don't remember holding that child of Miss Hunter?

EDWARDS: I'm saying you asked me about this photograph, I don't know anything about that photograph, I don't know who that baby is. I don't know if the picture has been altered, manufactured, if it's a picture of me taken some other time, holding another baby -- I have no idea. I was not at this meeting holding a child for my photograph to be taken I can tell you that.

WOODRUFF: You did say you did meet her at a hotel in California.

EDWARDS: She was there, Mr. McGovern was present, and that's where the meeting took place.

WOODRUFF: But you don't remember a baby being there?


And I thought Bill Clinton's definition of 'sex' was convoluted. Here every statement seems to be qualified by saying what he doesn't know and doesn't remember. The only unqualified statement he makes seems to say that he was not at a meeting in order to have a photo taking of him holding a child; again, he appeared to not deny that he was at a meeting holding a child - just that that wasn't the reason why he attended the meeting. Or at least the was the best way I could translate that sentence into English.

Now the latest new information tonight - from a blog, of course (the Huntington Post) is the existence of an email that appears to prove the affair started far earlier than Edwards is now claiming it started. News that none of the MSM, of course, even though they likely had the same information - reported.

Now as for why we should care? Well, what John Edwards does is of little concern to me. But the fact that the traditional media taken the position that the American public needs to be protected from politically incorrect news should be of concern to everyone who believes in a free press in the country.

Someone Still Needs to Buy a Thomas Guide For the Los Angeles Times!

To begin with, East Los Angeles, Lincoln Heights and Boyle Heights are three very different communities. But you would never know this is you ever read the Los Angeles Times.

The latter two are historic 19th Century suburbs of Los Angeles and are in the city of Los Angeles. East Los Angeles, in contrast, is a much later unincorporated neighborhood that - finally - is deservedly hopefully about to become a city of its own. But hardly a week goes by in which the Times can not tell these communities apart. Below is the last time I called them on this....

And Kevin Roderick over at LA Observed has called the Times on this even more recently, too, but his search engine failed to cough up the link to the story.

Another reoccurring error in the Times is what constitutes Bunker Hill and the tendency to call anything within a mile of Bunker Hill as being on... Bunker Hill. The above link is the latest in a long series of errors on this subject.

It states that a house was moved to Carroll Avenue from Bunker Hill in 1978 - long after every single inch of Bunker Hill had been bulldozed out of existence. The house in the article is actually from Court Street west of the Harbor Freeway. Now there are at least three names that come to mind as to what that neighborhood can be called - but until today's LA Times - no one I know has ever tried to claim that stretch of Court Street was on Bunker Hill. But now that the LAT has gotten this 'fact' wrong once - it will - as usual - continue to get this 'fact' wrong until the paper finally expires and no correction will ever be posted on this error.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Mongolian Festival Today At Barnsdall Park!

Today - Saturday - there will be a gathering of Mongolians from all over Southern California for their annual cultural festival. I will be one of the guest speakers at about 1 PM. Details about the event at Barnsdall Park in East Hollywood are at the above link.

Now as for why this fighthing cowboy from the sagebrush West east of the Sierras is at a Mongolian Festival, I will give you three reasons.

First, Mongolians are among the the world's greatest horsemen. Second, wrestling is the national sport of Mongolia. Third - Mongolian women are among the most beautiful women in the world.

Any more questions?

I didn't think so.

(And the food's pretty good, too!)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Read All About LA's Wild West Past! Even Wyatt Earp Said Los Angeles Was Wilder Than Tombstone!

When in testifying in a court case, when asked to compare the degree of lawlessness in frontier Los Angeles - and Tombstone - Wyatt Earp made it clear LA was the hands down winner.

During the 1850's and 1860's (and to a certain extent as late as the 1890's) there were more shoot outs, lynchings, stage robberies, cattle rustling, train robberies and general mayhem in Los Angeles than in any city in the history of the West - and for a far longer period of time than in any other place in Western history.

So why doesn't anyone know of this part of our history? Well, partly because no one know anything about any of LA's history, partly because we are the only city - or town - in this county without a museum dedicated to its own history (though some of us are working to fix that) and partly because no one has even written any books about that part of our history.

Until now.

Recently, "Six Gun Sound: The Early History of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department" was written by Sheriff's deputy Sven Crongeyer and published by a small local publisher with no budget for promotion. As a result, this book is NOT stocked by local bookstores and it has never been reviewed by our local papers.

So no one knows about it.

But as of today - you can buy a copy at Downtown's newest book store - Polyester - just off 5th and Spring in the Spring Arts Tower at 211 W. 5th Street. So go to the above link to a story about new book store run by Bill Eisman - which is open on both Saturday AND Sunday as well as Tuesday through Friday - and Eisman's Todd Browning art gallery, both of which are located next to the new Phyllis Stein Gallery. And visit his website at:

Yogurt Factory To Come To Grand Central Market!

Since no one else seems to have mentioned it - for a couple weeks banner announcing that a Yogurt Factory will open in one of the many, many closed stalls at Grand Central Market. Increasingly, the market part of Grand Central is being phased out for businesses that can pay higher rents such as jewelry stores, restaurants and non-food retail uses. And this has nothing to do with the new Ralphs since most of the fruit and vegetable stalls, the last all baked goods stall and the last stall that sold meat that did not need to be cooked (sliced or fried chicken, turkey etc.) has closed before Ralphs opened. The main reason seems to be the rents being charged as the very small stand that sold ready to eat meats told me they were paying $6,000 a month when all the charges were added up for one of the smallest places and that they had been losing money for a year before they finally gave up.