Thursday, July 21, 2016

New Yorker Makes (Up) History! Yes, New Yorker Magazine - Likely, Totally Prints a Completely Made Up Fictional Story About Los Angeles History!

Here is a A Split-Screen Tour of Los Angeles, Seventy Years Ago and Today

Now, this a really great piece split screen film showing the new and the old Bunker Hill on the same screen, but the text that comes with it - is an, unforseen disaster  

        And I realize.  the writer likenyonlu just needed a short inseentroduction with a little excitement in it and while rummaging through - his or her mind - a number of possibilities came up.  Unfortunately, none of them had any relation to the  truth. And these are the 'incorrect statements'.
Bunker Hill, an area of roughly five square blocks in downtown Los Angeles, holds a place in city lore similar to that of the water wars or the construction of Dodger Stadium: beginning in 1959, it was the subject of a massive urban-renewal project, in which “improvement” was generally defined by the people who stood to profit from it, as well as their backers at City Hall, at the expense of anyone standing in their way.
The Bunker Hill Redevelopment Project was adopted in 1959 and somehow lasted an astonishing fifty-three years. 

       The unnamed, and still - totally annymois - writer/directer then states that  Bunker Hill 's 1960's razing and then . total redevelopment was actually a secret plot - by all the evil  developers -  who were eager to get the city to condemn and bulldoze the entire hill so they could extract immense amounts money for themselves.  And that they were ruthlessly doing this at the expense of anyone who got in their way! 
        Now in the over 50 years I've been personally involved - in one way or the  with Bunker Hil, first as a private citizen then as elected member (and I was opposed to the CotherRA project; my years were spent trying to save its Victorian houses), I have never  - once  -  heard or read anyone suggest anything remotely like that conspiracy theory. 

       The very simple reason for that is that - nothing - even resembling a giant giant land swindle ever happened.   And besides the fact it never happening, there  urban legends about it happening. Which is surprising since Bunker Hill has had more lies  and tall tales told about it than any other project in DTLA’s history.
          Now one of the ways to disprove this feleonous claim - other than the, simple fact it never happened – is that for over one hundred years - the City of Los Angeles, following the successful examples set by West Coast cities such as Seattle and Portland, had tried to better connect Downtown with adjacent areas by tearing down Bunker Hill.  That project - from its inception over one hundred years ago - was what used to be called a civic improvement that would benefit the nverall civic good 
         And even back in 1916, almost al of the owners of the buildings on Bunker Hill had realized tharttheir disconnection from the rest of the city was hurting their properties and so started tearing down their own buildings and regrade the hill themselve; the price tag, of 16,000,000 million dollars was too much for either the civic realm -  or the private realm -  to then afford.  
      Every few years, though, some new versions  of the older Bunker Hill projects were being proposed; first  in the 1920’s, and then in 1930's, and finally - in the 1940's and the early 1950's.  But the problems were always the same - the huge cost of the project - and the lack of any demand for the land.
So the huge1950's plan was just another revision of what had been, for many decades, a blockagethis time it had federal money to get the project done. And by the early 1960’s, finan new parcels were being created and they were slowly sold and equally slowly developed; a huge
And the reason the development went slowly was that the Bunker Hill project had always been a civic project designed to achieve certain civic goals.  It had never been a developer pushed project.
And not once in the project's one hundred year history had there had never anyone - much less a developer – eager to get their hands on that property. 
So the New Yorker Magazine should consider,  both remove and, retract that post -  before it validTWA one more lie to the history books.   Assuming, of course whoc I do0a – that the  New Yorker is interested in the truth - and that is something I do believe is true; which they can prove by running an important article - that they had commissioned - from one of their finest reporters - until they realized - he had chosen to tell a truth that was   - rather than tell  

Monday, July 18, 2016

Anyone Know Where I Can Get an Old Felt Cowboy Hat Cleaned - Fast?

Anyone know where I can get a old felt cowboy hat - if not dry cleaned - at least - cleaned in a day or two in or near Downtown LA - or maybe Hollywood. All the local dry cleaners say they have to send it out (which I knew) and that it'd then take at least week just to get an estimate.

And it is the hat in my profile photo.

Friday, July 08, 2016

I Just Watched a Mob Try - Really Hard - to Stomp a Man to Death

It was an act of violence that far surpassed...anything ...I have seen in a lifetime of living in LA or my twenty years in Downtown.  I had just watched a group of not particularly young men and woman stomping on the face, the head and body of a man lying in the street -  5th Street just before it meets Hill - directly across from the entrance to the subway.

I first knew something was happening when I noticed people standing in the street when I was a full block away, but didn't think anything of it, I then had to wait for two signals to change before I was even on that block - and it was only then that I noticed the people were still standing here.  And as I got closer I heard one woman yell out to someone who was standing somewhat in front of her.  She said - "You know this isn't making us look very good." 

And as I got a bit closer, a few of the spectators broke away and I first saw a somewhat older black man lying in the street with several black men and one black woman with their backs to me - kicking his body -  and his head - which was bleeding.  And it was the woman who - at that point in time - was doing most of the yelling and most of the kicking to the head and the face - though they all seemed to be joining in. 

And it was quickly apparent that most of the people closest to the fight knew the people they were watching as they were calling out to them by their names. So seeing as, I couldn't see anyone calling for help or even looking for help (though that could have happened earlier) - I went around the fight to get to a better reception area just as one of the attackers, who had been kneeling by then not moving body, appeared to be reaching into the victim's pockets and while I couldn't see him very well as he passed behind me, I did see a wad of bills in one of his hands.

And I was still trying to get to 911 with my phone - with busy signal after busy signal - as I could still hear the woman yelling and stomping the man's head I kept on getting so busy signal.  So I finally into Hill Street looking for a police officer - when I spotted a motorcycle officer coming up 5th - but in the far right hand lane where he would not see the body since the attackers at that moment had run off. So I ran down the street- and yelled at the police officer - and pointed towards the now totally motionless body - and just as he was about to pass me - his eyes saw where I was pointing and he made a U-turn. And one other person also tried to wave him down once he saw what I was doing. 

Fortunately, the man came to before the ambulance arrived and he was alive when he was taken away. And I then left -  after briefly telling the officers what I had seen - since there was nothing else I could do.  I barely saw anyone's face through the crowd and even if I had, I have almost total facial blindness and I can barely recognize people I've known for years, and there were plenty of people there who knew who everyone was.

And - as I said earlier- I have never seen anything like this before anywhere in LA.  But in the past year - with the violent crime wave that has engulfed the entire city - and the entire state - ever since the passage of Proposition 47 - I have been seeing a lot of things happening I never thought I'd ever seen happen in this city.  And yet - all the politicians who lied to us about what it would do to our communities - still refuse to repeal it and start over.

And I had just discovered - only minutes before I had left my office - there is far worse proposition that is going to be on the fall ballot.  A proposition that is supposed to reform sentencing guidelines for non-violent criminals. But this proposition will instead - as I just discovered after reading an article the LA Times linked to - unleash a tidal wave of violent criminals into our communities.  

And I'll be posting on that tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Explore Historic Downtown Los Angeles this Sat. July 9th & July 10th 10:30 - 12:30 starting at The Last Bookstore at 5th & Spring.

My Saturday and Sunday Morning tours of Historic Downtown LA are from 10:30 to 12:30 every Saturday and Sunday (Now at only $10 per person)  and they start at THE LAST BOOKSTORE this Saturday July 9thnd & Sunday July 10th at 5th & Spring. 

The Last Bookstore  
presents  2 hour walking tours  of the The Secret Lives of Historic Downtown Los Angeles -  FEATURED In GQ MAGAZINE and Endorsed By - LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE and AMERICAN COWBMAGAZINE,/?

Among the many things you will learn this weekend is that if a friend of Wyatt Earp's had not built the Alexandria Hotel - it would have been impossible for George Gershwin to have written his iconic Rhapsody in Blue.

And all tours start at THE LAST BOOKSTORE in the Spring Arts Tower at 5th and Spring - enter on the 5th street side - and they are now only $10 per person.

And  besides our regular scheduled tours, we will be offering customized tours on different days and different times and from one to three hours including weekdays - depending on your schedule.  With a minimum of four reservations, we will design a tour of any part of Downtown focusing on any subject matter you choose.  These tours can be after work, during lunch breaks - or??

FOR MORE INFORMATION  - contact Brady Westwater at 213-804-8396 - or
All tours begin at THE LAST BOOKSTORE at 453 S. Spring Street in the Spring Arts Tower and will be led by long time Downtown resident Brady Westwater who, besides being involved with the Downtown LA Neighborhood Council, the Historic Downtown BID, Gallery Row, Art Walk, and the BOXeight and the CONCEPT Fashion Weeks, has brought over 150 businesses, artists and non-profit institutions to Downtown.  All tours are only $10 per person.  
Wyatt Earp

If you are a participant in 'Historic Downtown Los Angeles 101' Tour, you will see the first motion picture theater built,  the place where Babe Ruth signed his contract with the Yankees, the hotel where Charlie Chaplin lived when he made his early films (and the place where he made his Los Angeles vaudeville debut in 1910) - plus the homes and haunts of everyone from actor Nicholas Cage, the Black Dahlia, Rudolph Valentino, LA’s version of Jack the Ripper, President Teddy Roosevelt, the Night Stalker, western outlaw Emmet Dalton,  actor Ryan Gosling and more.  And you will also visit where O. J. Simpson bought his knife.

You’ll explore an intersection where all four buildings were often visited by gunfighter/sheriff Wyatt Earp since they were all built or occupied by friends of his from Tombstone during the shoot-out at the OK Corral.  At this intersection you will also discover what John Wayne, a prime minister of Italy, Houdini, Winston Churchill, boxer Jack Dempsey, Greta Garbo, President Woodrow Wilson and multiple Mexican boxing champions all had in common here.

You will also see where the first new lofts were opened, the places where Gallery Row and the Art Walk began and where Fashion Week returned to Downtown.  You will see many of the new boutiques, designer showrooms and stores that have recently opened in the area along with getting a sneak preview of what will soon be happening in the area.

Tickets for either tour are only $10 per person - free for children under 8 - and reservations can be made by calling Brady Westwater at 213-804-8396 or emailing  All credit card orders will be processed  at Last Bookstore and cash payments may be made at the start of the tour.   All proceeds will go towards the revitalization and the study of the history of the neighborhood.  
Lastly, future tours will feature specialized areas of interest such as architecture, art of all kinds, shopping and food, single streets, sports (from steer wrestling to luchador wrestlers to a Sumo wrestler), transportation, specific periods of history, the hidden Wild West history of Los Angeles, movie locations, Downtown after hours and many other aspects of the neighborhood. And custom designed can be developed by request  for groups of four or more.
We will also be soon starting weekday and evening tours on what it's like to live in Downtown Los Angeles. You will be introduced to the many of stores, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues (and often their owners, too) - along with being given previews of one of a kind special events - so you can get a feel for what it is like to live in Downtown Los Angeles.

We expect this tour to be popular with not only people considering moving to Downtown and people who work in Downtown and who would like to know what to do after hours in Downtown - but also to recent and even long established Downtown residents who want to know more about their neighborhood.

Why I Am Really Happy Chinese Robots Are Getting Ready to Attack Fourth And Broadway

After spending a few years helping to get The Last Bookstore through its multiple expansions, and then, following that – spending full time  getting my novel The Long Rider, two scripts, my memoirs, ‘The Cowboy Years; a Memoir of Lives Too Short’ and my big book on past, present and future of Downtown Los Angeles (all of which ties back to LA’s fifty plus years of being a pioneering frontier town) at last back on their individual tracks, I’m finally again ready to start spending a few hours every day, getting back into the mix of things in DTLA. 
And during my again resumed daily walks, I’ve run into a few stories which haven’t yet – for one reason or another – found their way into the media mix.  So – from time to time - will post a handful of items – simply to call attention to their existence - and then step back to allow everyone else who tackles such topics – to give them a full treatment. 
First, regarding the robot invasion I had some fun with in a post a few days ago; it is a small part of a much larger development story and, even though some of my sources on this overall story are second or third hand – they were each talking with different people handing different aspects of the project and all the information which I have been separately given confirms everything else I have been told. 
The center of the story is the two story solid concrete parking structure on the southeast corner of 4th and Broadway which had all of its parking closed quite a few months ago.  Most of the stores then closed – and moved – and the remaining stores slowly moved out – one by one -  until there were… just two… jewelry stores left
Now while all this was happening, a few of local pundits felt – or heard –  the project was postponed – or canceled.  But everything I had been watching happening made it clear to me, at least – that only the reason things could be happening in the exact way they had been happening was if the project had to wait until the last tenant was gone before construction could start.  Nothing else made any possible sense.  Then some days ago – one of the last two stores moved – and then closed.  And that then left only… one.  And, finally, by the end of last Friday’s business day – there were… none.
Now to back up a bit. The first project for this site was announced back in early 2013 by pioneering Historic Downtown developer Izek Shomof. At the time he was planning to build 22 story residential high rise and he stated he had paid north of ten million for the site. The following year Izek redesigned the project and it was now going to be a 34 story 450,000-foot-high rise with 750 condos, 750 parking spaces and 7,000 feet of retail.
But the starting date came and went – which is not at all uncommon.  And then I heard a rumor through the grapevine; a rumor that a major Chinese developers had made Izek an offer that absolutely no one could refuse.  And when I called up Izek – he conformed he had not refused it.  But for almost a year, it was still listed everywhere as one of his projects and that’s when I started to read that the project had been delayed or canceled.
Then – around a month or so ago – the controversial fire damaged buildings across the street from this project – located on the northeast corner of 4th and Broadway – suddenly seemed to have people inspecting the site.  And a couple inquiries disclosed a buyer had unexpectedly surface; a buyer who was already very close to making a deal.  And knowing the history of the owner of the site – and having once tried to make a deal with him on another project – I knew any deal would have to be at a price that absolutely no one could possibly resist.
 And the next day – I heard he hadn’t.
Not long after that, a clean-up crew showed up and considerably improved the look of the fire ruined buildings.  And by the time they were finished, they looked a hell of a lot better.  And then there was another new rumor.   The new owners of the property – were the owners of the building site across the street!  They were going to build another tower on that corner – and then connect the two towers with a sky-bridge.
And that brings us up to last Friday and the closing of the last jewelry store in the parking garage. So I finally asked the store’s owner if I had been right – and if the developers had been waiting for him to leave before they could start construction.  And he confirmed I had guessed right.
And that’s when I heard all about the about the coming attack of the robots.
 Since solid concrete is very hard to disassemble – dynamite and wresting cranes are two of the more often used methods when the adjoining building is not residential – the developers decided to instead import an army of robots to tear down the building,
And that’s where things stand at the moment.  But more later…