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LA's Publicists

Every morning I see more and more compelling evidence that LA's frontline civic journalists no longer have the ability even to understand how the City of LA actually works.

Worse still, the political structure of the City has evolved in recent years, while local journalism has only devolved, so there's a widening gap between what really goes on and meaningful coverage of it.

I don't really mean to bag on twentysomething and thirtysomething journalists, often recently arrived from elsewhere, with little or no historic knowledge of LA's political or cultural legacies. Who I really mean to bag on is the people who have put them in their present positions, the fiftysomethings who are handing them beats on the cheap, beats they know nothing about coming from straight out of college, turning young folks educated to be journalists into de facto publicists.

There are things you learn about civic structure and especially institutional structure in your forties (and certainly your fifties) that simply don't interest you much in your thirties. If they do, at best, you stand on tippy-toes to try to peer into these structures when you are younger, and sometimes you do catch glimpses, glimpses that should make you hungrier to learn more about what's going on. But nowhere do we see reportings of even these kinds of glimpses, not from twentysomethings nor from fiftysomethings either.

Nonetheless, I do have to say as well that the general lack of curiosity and even courage of writers covering civic beats is completely astonishing (and it's not restricted to youngsters; you see these same deficits in our local fiftysomething beat writers too). It's like they were taught more to manage their careers than to go after stories. So long as this is true, the foxes will really have the run of the hen house in LA.

Which Way Indeed

I guess it was a big secret that Grand Park, a County venue and not a City one, will be getting between $350,000 and $400,000 for whatever Jay Z and Live Nation and Bud throw together on Labor Day weekend. Who knew? Only the Mayor's office and the Music Center and the principles, and nobody said anything about that before  last night.

Nine Hundred and 99 problems

Noted: maybe by now you've heard about the $15 cans of tall Bud at Made in America events. And maybe that the pre-sale for tix to our own at Grand Park are going for between $125 and $155. Also, our city and our Mayor yesterday served up its DTLA for two choice days to a guy who hawks pebble-lined humidors with 21 cigars in them for $999.

A New Voice in LA

I am not entirely optimistic about the debut of the LA Register to-day, but I will try it anyway for a few weeks. I've been following some of the principle folks on The Twitter, and it seems to me they are going to have to double down on effort to have any impact on City Hall. I also think they've underestimated the role of the local online enviornment in saying what's what.

Our Corporate Phoenix

Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. the City of LA and Jay-Z will announce that LA will host two days of concerts  in the new Grand Park, sponsored by Bud and with some proceeds going to United Way. The festival-styled outdoor concert and some other acts will unfold the final weekend of August, as Sunset Junction used to be held the final weekend of August and already folks downtown are making noise about leaving DTLA that weekend.


Though my 2013 book on LA's decade of decline became fodder for the Mayor's race while remaining eccentric to local media, I am finding that this present one has found some favor in academic circles elsewhere and frankly, I wrote it with academic urbanists most of all in mind. So to-day I was pleasantly surprised to see an urbanist named Roy Christopher include a favored essay from my most recent book LA at Intermission, on bicycling Hyperion Bridge and what may become of it, in his own round up on some recent urban reading. A good recent compendium here by a visiting lecturer at a Chicago school, including my book and some others, urbi et orbi. Christopher tweets "love the book" —I've heard that from profs in three cities now.

Los Feliz's Less Than One Percent

Only 344 people voted in my own Los Feliz Neighborhood Council election yesterday less than one percent of the community's 37,000 residents.  This was despite paid advertising up and down the commercial strips, including on bus benches (?), and also despite the community recently going through a very controversial issue in shoehorning two small baseball diamonds into the Crystal Springs Picnic Area in Griffith Park.

A Corrupt, Vacuous, and Dunce-Driven City

I am very glad I got my book on LA in the Garcetti mayoralty out when I did, because watching this clown prince and his macabre court closely for three more years would be far too annoying to endure.

Promote the Best

I didn't need a blue ribbon panel to note that LA was in decline when I wrote my first book on the subject a year ago, but now that such a commission has issued its notes (and they are merely notes), the NYTimes has gotten around to noting it too. And the report doesn't make a lot of tangible suggestions, so I'll repeat my own: the City's Mayor and local media have to quit indulging crooks and charlatans and start luring and appointing and promoting the best and brightest.

Tolle Lege

I read mostly for pleasure, but also in the hope of accomplishing something: I also read in the hope of changing this City. This is probably not working, but I do it anyway.