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Counting Down

JM, Cracked Actor, Sunset & Vine, 12.18.08

I can't wait to ditch this year for a better one. Just can't wait.

Has there ever been a worse year? Dick Clark owes us all an extra one.

Chop chop

JM, Stumped, 12.30.08

Where was once a seventy-five year old tree in Riverside Park, there is a fresh stump and a cordon advising danger. I know nothing about the circumstances of its removal, but it must have been recent, over the holidays while nobody was looking.

The stump looks healthy, even typical of a tree in midlife. Rec and Parks, of course, advised nothing to the City at large regarding the removal---even in the era of "transparency." As a matter of fact, the Rec and Parks blog's last entry is November 21 as of this posting.

Even Forest Lawn, when it is obliged to remove old trees, lets the public know. The City lets the people know with police tape.


JM, fracturedself portrait / virgil & santa monica, 12.29.08

as ever, click to enlarge

Readable in today's Times

If you're in a donut shop today and chance on a former fishwrap of record, there are some intriguing things in it.

Unfortunately, they're not clickable through the home page of the website. Nor are they for the most part by anyone who actually works for the hometown paper. But here they are:

Moose population in Minnesota declines dramatically, because of climate change complexities.

F. Scott Fitzgerald on screen and tv.

The Brian Williams Tie Report is a quirky blog about nothing but. (here's a link to

Those are good. But I was disappointed in the idea that David Ulin thought that David Ulin should review the new book on Lennon in a city and indeed a country full of Lennon experts. Ulin sees a conventional dichotomy between Lennon and McCartney that I think was far more complicated than the review owns up to.

Rigging the Dow

Don't forget when looking at the Dow at year-end that it is really far worse than they could ever let it be.

In recent years, the proprietors rip precipitiously declining stocks out of the Dow so often that not only is the Dow a joke, but the WSJ is too.

They used to take the turkeys out long before their heads get cut off: remember Westinghouse? But in the past year, as wikipedia confirms, it's like they've simply been speculating with the Index itself. "Altria Group and Honeywell were replaced by Chevron and Bank of America on February 19, 2008. On September 22, 2008, Kraft Foods replaced American International Group in the index."

Above, a chart for Kraft, AIG, and the Dow 30 since the week Kraft replaced AIG. Note how much further AIG would have dragged the Dow down had it been allowed to stay in longer. You could do the same kind of chart for Altira and Honeywell.

This is why those rosy "six-straight-decades-of-returns!" claims your broker makes are so phoney as to be criminal. We'll see if Obama's SEC cuts your Series 7 and the indices themselves a little less slack than previous administrations have; I hope so.


JM, Xmas Fillers, 12.26.08

Bingo! Lisa Exit won the big Xmas weekend Scrabble game last night by emptying her rack to start the game, with FILLERS (blank for the "S"). You know that's good for fifty extra was lights out after that, but we played it out anyway.

Google "Fillers" are some good results:

  • Injectable fillers can plump thin lips, enhance shallow contours, soften facial creases and ...
  • Dermal fillers...
  • Injectable cosmetic wrinkle fillers are soft tissue fillers approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help fill in facial wrinkles...

Lisa Exit does not even like joining in any reindeer Xmas games. She crimped her nose at playing a second. But congrats to her for leaving us in the dust right from the starting gate and running wire to wire.

No Man's Land

Richardson / Gielgud / Pinter

"Listen. You know what it's like when you're in a room with the light on and then suddenly the light goes out? I'll show you. It's like this."

--from No Man's Land (1974) Harold Pinter, 1930-2008.


JM, Hope, 12.22.08

Merry Xmas!

JM, Shakespeare Wreath, 12.08.08

Again and as usual, I am clocking out early and I will clock back in late. To you and yours, a very merry holiday from your obliged and humble servants Debbie Lopez and me, and thanks for making street-hassle fun for all from Los Feliz to Porter Ranch.

Merry to Rodger and merry to Don Quixote and merry to Ron and merry to Ed Padgett and merry to Joe Barrett and merry to the westside Minutemen anyway and merry to the pols who peek in and merry to the lobbyists' paralegals who are ordered to check in and merry to the people who surf in on lye.times3 and merry to Tony as in drinking and the publicists as in drinking and merry to Mary and merry to whomever obsesses over her and merry to Solomon and Michael and merry to all who hassle LA with gusto, verve, cell snaps and coffee and tweets and flackage.

Sexy Sixties Shake

Even if you don't watch Mad Men, you can cop a feel for the sultriness of the sixties in this commercial featuring the Communicatrix mom (!) The head shake at the beginning is worth your clickthrough alone. That's one of many things we miss about the decade.

There's an Alberto commercial at the YouTube site too.

You always hate to link to a blogger like Colleen because you just know you're going to lose a quarter of your audience to someone like that. Still, read her anyway. Just come back some time.

Beyond Scientology

JM, I don't believe in Buddha/Gita/Yoga/Elvis/Zimmerman, 12.22.08

I swear to God. I didn't even have to adjust the contrast. What's the street a block north of Target in Hollywood? With the bullshit mini traffic circle? That's where this is. I just parked right at it and clicked.

I remember the sign in the window says, "DON'T LEAVE ADS HERE." Good idea.

C'mon, Solomon!

JM, L. Ron Hubbard's Winter Wonderland, 12.22.08

This has got to be as good as any one of the 80 FAKE WEEZAR WINTER WONDERLANDS, doncha think?

Your Mayor, trolling for a budget mandate

Hey, kids, at last, here's your big chance to put yet another opaque layer of anonymity between you and your government:
To ensure that the needs of your neighborhoods are voiced, my office has created a budget survey to help guide the development of the City budget. This survey asks you to make very tough choices regarding real decisions that I will need to make. This year, the City of Los Angeles will be challenged by many issues, including the uncertain impact of the turbulent national economy, likely revenue shortfalls, and increased service demands.
Does Szabo really think this is Internet marketing? Or better than just buying 25,000 names from Mike Trujillo?

And isn't it a little embarrassing to do a City of LA poll--with Survey Monkey? Especially when it doesn't load in Mozilla?

I don't know which is more embarrassing, in fact: the poll itself, or the fact that KABC linked to it in earnest.

Tamal 101 from LA Eastside

ripped from LA Eastside

I hear you. It's beginning to look a lot utterly punk'd Xmas. But one of the best consolation prizes are to have tamals on hand acquired from somewhere along Tamal Row.

El Chavo does the Row and more up, bigtime, at LA Eastside.

Even if you're obliged to deal with you meddling spinster sister-in-law who wants it all to spill out into the street where she can fulfill her innermost fantasy by dishing on you boulevard dragqueen style at last---in short, even if your family is just like mine---these pups will warm your heart.

Our own favs are from La Moscata on Whittier. If you need more than a dozen, from anywhere, it's a good idea to place an order ahead of time.

I found LOST

JM, LOST in Silver Lake, 12.20.08

This is a good book/zine: LOST. Money shots of tagger and street art, ten years in the making. $20 for the compendium, two of which you see here. I spotted it at the Silver Lake Arts Fair at Citibank on Glendale. LOST is a treasure trove of Los Angeles graffiti mural art. About twenty street taggers are represented in it.

More info here at editor eyeone's site.

Our New Eveyn Mulwray

The problem with urban planning issues is that you can't read a second paragraph about them without wondering if you should have another cigarette. When actual urban planners write them, you will wonder this even if you don't smoke.

Local folks who poke a little around urban planning issue made a great ruckus about Jane Usher leaving the Planning Commission. "See---there!" they've exclaimed, pointing to her smoking popgun as though it mattered.

The irony is, Jane Usher herself never really mattered, so in her departure, she will certainly matter even less.

As one voice in a tragic Greek chorus that has been been screaming the same things Usher has been screaming ever since developer doormat Gail Goldberg came to our City, I'd like to remind people that six months ago Zev Yaroslavsky, a purportedly powerful County Supervisor, raised some of the same issues Ms. Usher raised in her letter---and it didn't matter, did it, now?

It's like the end of Chinatown. Faye Dunaway screams "He owns the police" about her daddy, a few minutes before she finally gets mowed down by the surrogates of the forces he indeed owns. Shout away! Noah Cross O'Melveney Latham still owns the police, and he'll probably get custody of your first-born too now that you're off the scene.

LAUSD, PTA Moms and our new Hobo Schools

What with all the Holiday Fanfare to attend to, I'm only now catching up with life outside of Planet Doll and came upon this opinion piece published earlier this week in the Lost Angeles Times from Sandra Tsing Loh:

LAUSD needs a pit bull PTA mom [LAT]

In these last few minutes before the inevitable happens and Ramon C. Cortines is named David L. Brewer's successor as superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, here is a modest proposal: How about a PTA mother for the job?

PTA moms are the very opposite of the $500,000-golden-parachute bureaucrats Brewer has come to represent. PTA moms draw no salary. We work nights, weekends, holidays. We bring our kids' schools new resources every day -- whatever we can load into our minivans. (Binders, colored pencils, toilet paper, snacks, basketball hoops and musical instruments are but some of the items I've seen moms deliver.)

We know not just how to make a dollar stretch but how to make no dollars stretch. (Look how handy we are with scrip, Chuck E. Cheese fundraisers, Vons give-back-to-school cards.) So thrifty are we, it shocks us when our snickerdoodle-baking world meets the LAUSD money-hosing world.
The piece made sense until I read the next paragraph. Ms. Loh goes on a diatribe about rude school office workers and how they should be fired for not paying enough attention to her when she comes into the office:

While we're at it, let's also right-size the budget by firing any LAUSD front office worker who is rude (do you, like me, suddenly see huge, huge savings?).

In this, the 21st century, even fast-food employees greet customers with "Hello! Welcome to McDonald's, may I help you?" Walk into most LAUSD schools and you're treated like a felon -- or more likely, ignored by the sour office drone who refuses to look up from her typing. Get to know us -- we are parents, we are taxpayers, we are your bosses. And if you're at a loss for words, try this: "Hello! May I help you?" If you're lucky, you won't soon have to add: "Welcome to McDonald's!"

Ha. Try dealing with crazy, nutty, demanding diva-parents all day, Sandra. (Special shout-out to Carmen, Maureen, Tiana and Lucia at Beckford)

Finally, she goes on to nominate Sarah Palin for the job of LAUSD Superintendant. Girlfriend, I know you're kidding, but --- that's not even funny. I thought we were all never to utter that name again.

Ugh. There's nothing fun or funny about LAUSD anymore; just sad and scary times for parents who send their kids to our now hobo-style LAUSD schools with no money and apparently, no salvation in sight.

Happy Winter Break, LAUSD! See you in three weeks.

The Loneliest Mayor

The Mayor discovered Twitter two weeks ago, now he's reinventing LA through Facebook, looking for a thousand pals by year's end.

Try it. Be B(FB)FF with the Mayor.

Another Mayoral lapse in the making

Community organizer Ron Kaye says he's being dragged into court by a Mayoral goon squad including Stephen Kaufman regarding the wording of a ballot measure argument, of all things. This has got to be reciprocity for the Hayes/Hernandez's efforts to overturn the Term Limits initiative, which Kaye reported very attentively to City Hall's embarrassment, don't ya think?

The hypocrisy of the Mayor's office challenging ANY ballot initiative argument is, of course, of a solar dimension at this point, after the Mayor and Council Prez Eric Garcetti have dished the people a series of entirely disingenuously-worded props meant to bait voters into voting for the opposite of what they wish to vote for, as was the case with Prop R and more recently with the local phone tax, Prop S. The Mayor's office and Garcetti also tried to sell a campaign rally on behalf of Prop H, an affordable housing bond, as a "Mayoral summit" on affordable housing in 2006.

In proposition campaign battles, the Mayor uses his Office of Counsel quite capriciously, in a way that flirts with legal questions; Kaufman in particular seems to blur the ethical boundaries between political force and campaign activity quite a bit. The Mayor's office has a proven track record in campaign ethics lapses; these generally elicit wrist-slaps however, and are quickly forgotten.

And Janice taps her foot...

No, the Obama administration won't tap Jane Harman from our local talent. They'll tap Hilda Solis instead.

Those with big eyes for blue-dog Dem Harman's House seat (the local doghouse seat?) are sure to be disappointed.

Morning Eye Opener

Everyone in the local blogosphere seems to be too busy with the holidays to presume like they usually do that you can't find your own news stories. So I'll step in this morning.

LA City Council bravely announced a ban on retailing .50 millimeter rounds here in LA. So you'll have to go to Hawthorne to get them. Solomon has an hilarious pic representing what a .50 mm round really is. It's just .25 short of the fabled French 75 from World War I.

I guess it was a good thing that Prop A failed, because we can't even follow the money for the gang programs we already have on the books, the Weekly says.

I'm surprised I haven't seen a Fall of the House of Usher headline yet. Has there been one I missed?

RonKayeLA has another story on just how kleptocratic our provincial burg can be. It costs far more to smoke in a park than to pull the wrong fish from the wrong creek.

And the City is only getting more kleptocratic still, with $74 million more in tax and cut. The Mayor has a ridiculous quote: "All the cranes you see out there, all the construction that is going on is a direct result of this being a safer city." No, they are a direct result of Gail Goldberg's willingness to serve as a human doormat to the developers that own the Mayor.

If you read Nikki, you know that they're going to strike. SAG, that is.

The Daily News thinks Cortines is a good idea. I disagree. You may read why soon. But also, wasn't Cortines around when the District was at its most expansive?

There, that took all of five minutes. Now please, some hard up for publicity press club, won't you give me an award?

Pastor Rick

Rick Warren in the end is a preacher who believes that the earth and even the universe is controlled by an anthropomorphic power Who took some time out to write 66 highly disjunct historic, poetic, prophetic, narrative, and occasionally epistolatory tracts between 3,500 and 1,900 years ago. Generally all this scribbling occurred within an area about the size of the San Joaquin Valley, though one far more arid, far less populated, and far more susceptible to plagues and disruptive invaders.

Rick Warren also believes that we should OBEY the things we find in those 66 odd tracts, even down to the letter, even after many other good and often even better tracts by Spinoza, Darwin, Freud, Marx, Engles, Locke, and Jefferson have appeared, as well as the disturbing developments of nuclear power, asbestos contaminations, and thousands of very nasty episodes of religious conflict through history.

That Rick Warren is going to give the invocation at the Obama coronation I find as disturbing as any liberal does. But in the end I'm obliged to shrug. Indeed, I find it no more disturbing than daily American life itself, the relentlessly religious element of which, with its emphasis on division rather than reconciliation, is simply embarrassing, and even perhaps civilization-inhibiting.

There are reformed Jesuits who talk of the resurrection "apparition stories"; there are reformed Jews who enjoy clambakes; there are liberal Protestants who tinker with Latin American politics in a way that diminishes the role of religion itself. These have all evolved from taking those old, disjunct, oft-conflicted tracts too literally, and they are indeed now the majority of the land, but...

Our nation, unlike England and Mexico, our two greatest cultural forebears, has never banned any mainstream religion wholesale, as both of two greatest cultural forebears, England and Mexico, did with for example Catholicism, the former for about 300 years. Our nation, on balance, still has not endured as much religious trauma as have the places our forebears have fled.

It may yet. Or, like so much else of the globe's trauma, we may get lucky and skip the gene with this one too. But somehow, the only nation that sent a man to the moon needs to find a way sometime to shake its text-based Appallachian morality for a cosmopolitan, contemplative one. It is probably not on the agenda of this presidency, but it was on the agenda of Thomas Jefferson's, and it would be a welcome agenda to resume some time in the near future.

LA Candidates on Twitter

Tony Villar: starts Twitter account, hands it over to aides with even less spare time.

Zuma Dogg: Runs over 140 character count every time.

Rick Caruso: was going to sign up for Twitter, backed away at last minute.

Zev Yaroslavsky: blocked Twitter development 25 years ago, now says it's essential.

Walter Moore: says he has 76 followers on Twitter, really has 18.

qu'ils mangent de la brioche

Almost neglected to take a foul-spirited holiday swipe at luxzine Angeleno for failing the bulk of local art and artists so comprehensively: they seem to be impressed enough with power in the local art world that they need to chronicle it. Never mind, say, content.

Power formerly was what artists and writers spoke truth to. But times are tough, even for luxury magazines; you're now supposed to curtsy before it.

Tony Pierce gets indulgent

ripped from busblog
Tony Pierce celebrates one year at the LA Times with an indulgent smear on the fact at busblog.

He's most proud of the fact that he beat his old blog LAist in traffic and that six former LAist bloggers now work for the Times (the two latest above).

He's also spoken to Annenberg three times.

I used to know Tony, but I really haven't heard from him over this past year, so I can't say I knew much about what he's doing. But it's good of him to let people know.

@ the Wedge

JM, The Wedge, Newport, facing east, 11.23.08

Turner over Hyperion

JM, Atwater Sunrise, 12.16.08

as ever, click to enlarge

Moore's website still claims Shaw family has enough signatures

Mayoral candidate Walter Moore has remained silent about the bizarre path of Jamiel's Law since the City Clerk judged that it failed by an enormous margin to qualify for City's March ballot. But as of last night, Moore's website unrepentantly maintained that Jamiel's Law had acquired 76,000 signatures.

In 2008, Moore also wrote Jamiel’s Law, and by December 5, 2008, over 76,000 people had signed petitions to put it on the ballot.

The City Clerk maintains the proponents of Jamiel's Law only submitted 18,000 signatures, falling over 50,000 short of the proponent's claims. Michael Higby, who has availed his blog MayorSam to the Shaw family throughout the past six months to promote Jamiel's Law, said last night that both the Shaw family and the City Clerk should answer further questions about the discrepancy.

Moore is the author of Jamiel's Law, which would revoke Special Order 40, a police order that aspires to prevent the use of racial profiling against criminal suspects.

El Coyote @ brink of failure?

Steve Lopez at the former fishwrap of record tried to engender some sympathy yesterday for the Mormon El Coyote manager who gave $100 to the yes on 8 effort.

But Stephanie at Urbzen isn't buying, and she is quite eloquent about why: "She may never come around on the gay marriage issue, but, with the restaurant once owned by her mother at the brink of collapse, at least now she knows what it feels like to have the most important thing in your life taken away."

Not the Balkans, but...

Another Times "analysis" that flies very wide of the goalposts.
As the state faces fiscal crisis and partisan gridlock, some wonder if this nation-state is so oversized, Balkanized and polarized that it is destined for dysfunction no matter who is in charge.
Even ten years ago, the word "Balkanized" was the most overworked one in politics. If you think California is too "Balkanized" then you probably think Filipinos and Cambodians have political power, when they don't have a tenth of the power of, say, CNIGA.

[Yes, this "analysis" of political power included no mention of Indian tribes, even though their commercials dominate every state election cycle.]

Ask any political consultant what might be "wrong" with California, and they will tell you that the state is not too Balkanized, but, ironically, far too homogenous. Latinos in legislature only occasionally work for Latino interests, and African Americans largely do not. See ceaseless examples, notably Bass, Willie Brown, MR-T...there are occasional largesses to their constituencies, but certainly not power blocs that swing issues specific to race or even class.

Democrats keep the state running, if as costly and as badly as possible, but Republicans don't even do this much: largely they are self-deputized, whining obstructionists who work hardest on arcane issues within issues, to cling to their 40% as best they can.

There is statewide consensus that Prop 13, which destroyed primary school education in the state, was good, and there is statewide consensus that the notorious proposition process itself, which makes the state legislature even easier to game than its individual reps are, is essential to giving the people a voice. These homogenous points are why the statewide blights of Indian gaming, declining schools, affordable housing schemes, and the prison industrial complex are all runaway freight trains.

With runaway trains on all tracks, California is neither better nor worse off with Schwarzenegger as governor than with Davis---it is simply the same. The Governor, whomever he or she is, must be politically willing to rework Prop 13 or to weaken the proposition system itself to make any real progress.

Atwater is for lovers

JM, Alley mural, Atwater, 12.14.08

as always, click to enlarge

Another microscale investigation by the LA Times

The local former fishwrap of record known as the Los Angeles Times devotes premium space trying to blow the cover off a petty-cash problem at a not-for-profit this morning:
Union-founded nonprofit spent zero on charity work in two years.
That anti-union slant should please union buster Sam Zell. But this is an irresponsible article in two ways.

One is the scale here: a mere $165,000 a year expenditures are in question. (The City of Los Angeles is facing a $30,000,000 a month deficit; and the Times itself, of course, is in a billion dollar bankruptcy, thanks to the irresponsible acquisition of Tribune Co. by one Sam Zell.) And yet the Times is zeroing in on a tangential organization that at the end of the day spends exactly what it takes in: a chunk of change that couldn't keep a land-use attorney's family fed through April.

The other way in which this article is irresponsible is in raising the expectation of meaningful results for this nonprofit each year, rather than long term. We are talking the development of affordable housing. The viability of government- or workforce-assisted affordable housing development remains economically highly debatable, with in the best case some lottery-like results for the few administered over the course of years. But the idea that an organization can develop meaningful affordable housing units without consultants, and make progress every year, all for $165,000, which is below the price of a single unit, is patently ludicrous. Affordable housing development sometimes takes up to a decade before results are realized.

This kind of story is exactly the kind of story that got the Times in the place it is in now. It's Doug Dowie, it's Pellicano, it's an errant parish priest---it's the petty and vindictive LA Times news staff, aiming low at petty cash swindlers because editors have lost the will and the ability and adequate management of the art of political access to investigate truly shady government and truly shady big business practices.

Of all the affordable housing tales to tell around town, this one is the lowest of all hanging fruit. Again, again: shame on the Los Angeles Times.

Street mural

JM, Liquor Store Mural off Virgil, 12.12.08

More info here. Click it to enlarge. The mural has been cut by a third since its original incarnation.

Jamiel's Law petition legitimacy questions arise

Walter Moore needs to explain the discrepancy, because Althea Shaw can't.

Last week, the proponents of Jamiel's Law were celebrating turning in "76,000" signatures to the City Clerk's office, but election officials only count 18,559---over 56,000 short of qualification.

Althea Shaw, who has blogged at MayorSam through the petition drive, wondered if the City deliberately undercounted the signatures; a very severe allegation that could mean jail for election officials. At MayorSam, in fact, she accuses the City of malfeasance:

We turned in five boxes of Petitions. Three boxes were full and two boxes were almost full. We get back five boxes and not one box is full!

That it didn't occur to the petition filers to duplicate the signatures is unusual.

City election officials say things didn't go down the way Althea Shaw claims:
City elections officials said that proponents of Jamiel's Law had turned in 480 petitions by Friday's deadline and that each petition has slots for 110 voter signatures. Many of the signature slots of the petition pages were empty, said Jinny Pak of the City Clerk's office, and elections workers counted only 18,559 signatures.
The law is an attempt to revoke Special Order 40, an LAPD order aimed at reducing racial profiling.

UPDATE: Solomon Wolfson's Notes from LA also has questions about MayorSam and Althea Shaw, and notes that Moore seems to have now distanced himself from the petition drive: "That Walter wasn’t prepared to join the conspiracy watchers apparently irked Althea Shaw enough to earn Walter a thinly-veiled swipe on Mayor Sam: “I also don’t understand why a major supporter of Jamiel’s Law would send out an email blast of defeat before speaking to us.”

UPDATE II: Street-hassle said on April 14: "Yes, I too think that MayorSam is a little too close to Jamiel's Law for comfort. I would rather see SO40 debated on logic and merit than see it personified for the sake of political expediency."

Hope Street-Hassle

JM, Negatively Hope Street, 12.09.08

These bastards, on streets south of the Disney Hall, in effect until 8 p.m. not 6 p.m., are tough to operate at night. If I were downtown and downtrodden, I'd check the base of the meters on Hope every morning---I must have dropped fifty irretrievable cents and there's no light on that street. This is an unadorned foto---it's dark out there.

LA Lotería at City Hall Bridge Gallery

JM, Lotería 13, 12.10.08

First of all, sure it's my foto, but I love it, and the reflection is part of it; click for a slightly larger view. What makes it for me is the palm on the left in the pane bounce, and the recognizable Main Street facade of City Hall. Secondly, this version of what constitutes LA's "eastside" corresponds more closely with Don Quixote's opinion than my own, but there it is anyway. Thirdly, as Eric Garcetti said in Council just this morning, and I concur, "Thirteen is my favorite number"--it was Lawrence Durrell's too. And fourthly, what the hell is this all about? It's about the exhibit "LA Lotería" at City Hall's Bridge Gallery, the first of three installments, where imagined Lotería cards for the City of Los Angeles as rendered by umpteen LA artists in collaboration with the fabled Aardvark Letterpress of MacArthur Park are on display through Christmas Eve. Get a visitor pass and enjoy. In conjunction with the City's Department of Cultural Affairs. Some beautiful work on view.

Moore: Guerra behind stale Mayoral poll

The month-old-plus Mayoral poll flaunted to the blogosphere by Rick Orlov and Kevin Roderick yesterday has upset Mayoral candidate Walter Moore, who says that Mayor's office crone Fernando Guerra, a registered City Lobbyist who runs LMU's Center for the Study of Los Angeles, is behind the old poll's data gathering and release.

UPDATE: The Leavey Center exit poll also found that 46% of Angelenos, including 67% of African Americans responding, feel that Los Angeles is going in the wrong direction.

CalArts at RedCat Wednesday: Vicki Ray

Vicki Ray; photo: Lefteris

Vicki Ray, contemporary pianist with an emphasis on contemporary and an emphasis on pianist, will be at RedCat tomorrow, 8:30 p.m., to interpret several hypermodern works.

You were expecting Winterreise? You can listen to that at home.

See you there.

Daily News now a monthly

Orlov quotes a poll featuring data over a month old on the Mayor's race, showing Walter Moore at 3%. That's certainly not the whisper number on Moore we heard late last week, which was four times higher, and it's far less fresh, and of course it's drawn from the November voters, most of whom won't be seen in the voting booth in March.

Not accidental: LMU repackaging the stale poll data after the Jamiel's Law petitions are filed.

Add Orlov: he notes that the Mayor and Prez Garcetti taking care of developers in Washington.

LA Times/Trib pageviews their way to bankruptcy

JM, Fanciful Image, 12.8.08

Ye canna say we didn't warn ye.

Tribune files for bankruptcy protection

And the best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley.

As creditors queue up for court-approved payment, the filing means that The Tribune Co. will likely now be forced to sell off assets. Zell blames "a perfect storm" of everything but Zell.

It has long been the contention of street-hassle that the Times problems started with the feuds of petty and vindictive news editors in the late 1990s, who used the Times as a spitstone to sharpen grudges that the public didn't care about, rather than as a true journalistic battering ram.

And then that it ceaselessly fired buckshot into its own feet by becoming a transparent organization and leaking competitive information about its own operations to the blogosphere.

And finally, when hoardes of pesky bloggers showed up with their slingshots, the place panicked, surrendered, and finally immolated itself:
"It's like the Times spotted some people outside the moat with slingshots aimed at them, totally panicked, and decided not only to destroy their own castle stone by stone but also specialize in slingshot development."
It's the first time in the paper's century-plus history that it has filed for bankruptcy protection. It is also a very bad day for the City of Los Angeles; the worst since the 1994 earthquake, in fact.

Monica Garcia takes the hit

Monica Garcia emerges this morning in the Daily News as the willful scapegoat in the Mayor's attempt to oust Admiral Brewer from the LAUSD.

The idea of Ms. Garcia, who was in Jose Huizar's court at LAUSD as well as his first campaign run, doing anything at all without the eastside (there, did I use that term right, DQ?) machine's green light is of course patently ludicrous.

But Villaraigosa needs to distance himself from the coming firing of Brewer because of the nebulous status Special Order 40 ballot initiative. One blow to the African American community is endurable, but two is a pattern that could cause trouble.

Master of Cheap Eats hits eastside

JM, Sundaes / Sandwiches, 7.10.08

Many eastsiders will enjoy these gratuitous shots of cheap eats on the east side, including the tote board at Burrito King, the Fred 62 Hot Doggie Dogg, a Cafe Tropical money shot (judiciously cropped to keep anyone from AA out of the foto), and two In-N-Out cheeseburgers by Jean Railla. who also provides some savory commentary.

Railla was in town recently taking some time away from NYC, with husband and two boys in tow. No amateur gastronome, she recently completed a Food Studies Masters at NYU.

For those about to rock

What a great day to be an Angeleno!

First on the list of Awesomeness: The Trojans kicking major Bruin butt on the gridiron.

Next, a major temblor is about to erupt inside the Great Western Forum tonight.

After an eight year absence, perennial hard rock faves AC/DC are Back in Black, and back in town. If you feel the walls shakin' and the earth quakin', don't worry -- it's just Angus Young & Co. rocking it hard and loud. I'll be there tonight; I'm taking my teenage son who has been a hardcore fan since the age of 11. The last time I saw them was back in 1990. My ears haven't been the same since. It was that damn "For Those About To Rock" encore and the cannons that were shot off, I just know it. This time, I'm prepared.

For the rest of you about to rock ... I salute you! Here's a taste:

Dang, check out those flashing light-up devil horn headbands! SO AWESOME! Oh yeah, I am SO gettin' some of those! I wonder how Mr. Mailander would look in flashing red devil horns...?

LA Libraries prepare for hacking

A City of Los Angeles reference librarian confirms for me that the the Los Angeles Public Library system will cut eighty (80) per cent of its periodical subscriptions citywide in upcoming months. They will also put a halt to all book buying through the rest of the fiscal year, June 30, 2009.

The City's budget deficit is cited as the reason behind the slashings. This would cut publications such as The New Yorker, which have experienced such interruptions to subscriptions before, last time in the 1990's. At that time, some individual libraries leaned on their friends groups to avail popular subscriptions.

Washington Sq.

Zelda Fitzgerald, Washington Square, New Yorker, 5.13.96

It's a beautiful day to be a Trojan

What a beautiful day it's turning out to be; the weather couldn't be more gorgeous, and the men of Troy are fired up and ready to go!

Good Luck St. Pete and my mighty Men of Troy.

In the spirit of inquiry

Three stories elsewhere:

+ One that everyone wants to read I first saw in comments on Rodger Jacobs blog: Sucked into the tunnels beneath Las Vegas.
"So, yeah, now we're moving underneath Caesar's Palace. Walking underneath kind of the main property there. This is one of the creepier areas of the storm drain system. Very remote, wet … extremely dark"...
+ Brad Friedman at Bradblog makes a good point: now is an optimal time to ask GM what the hell it did to the EV-1.

+ And did you see that Daily News front page headline this morning? Here's the story elsewhere: Valley Firm vows Doll Fight. Don't know why I can't find it at the site, it was the lead story at the newsstands today. But I read it as a nod to our own DL.

UPDATE: Orlov finds it, channeling the Valley of the Doll meme.

What Walter and Joe did and what Ron's doing

First off, Walter is going to fall short; KPCC has already reported as much. But the drive to overturn Special Order 40 will fall narrowly, not enormously, short, and that is still a victory for Walter Moore. What can be done with such a victory is uncertain, but in a way, he has already accomplished something: with Moore's popularity touching 15% now, Antonio Villaraigosa could not move to Washington without further compromising an already badly compromised City election process.

Also, Special Order 40 is not likely to be overturned under any circumstances, but if the Mayor feels compelled to campaign on its behalf, that alone is a pandora's box that will rocket Moore from 15% to at least 30%, once his more natural Republican base understands the issue more fully. Moore's name may end up in headlines and his face on tv yet.

Secondly, Joe Barrett, a former punkster turned community organizer in midlife, along with Abby Diamond, a sleeker, sturdier jaycee type, have thrown roadblock after roadblock into the path of Home Depot's road to global domination. The zine-like No2HomeDepot website blares today HOME DEPOT DENIED! There are catches, and, as always, the caveat is to dig in for the long haul. But the lovely, prankster-like fusion of bluehairs, local chamber of commerce reps, and Sunland Tujunga's subterranean lesbian community has brought to the community a lot of political firepower, and caused a few otherwise all-powerful local lobbyists fits.

Finally, tomorrow Ron Kaye hosts another community meeting, this one in Hollywood proper. The meeting is devoted to discussing and cultivating a local election "strategy." The overarching concern of Kaye's group seems to be anti-incumbancy. The hope is to sharpen the focus of the movement more, in order to grow it more. To grow it Kaye, who is politically savvy enough to grow a movement, will soon face a choice of whether he wants to speak more to the concerns of disgruntled Republicans or slow-growth Democrats, or finding an issue that blends the two, as Barrett/Diamond have found in big box opposition.

The micro-movements are indeed experiencing victories, as both Moore and Barrett/Diamond have demonstrated today. These victories may still sound insignificant to some local scribes and news eds, notably the ones whose paychecks depend on maintaining their political access by acting as publicists for any local pol who'll take them in for a moment.

But compare these victories to, say, Janice Hahn's narrow defeat with a gang-tax bond, in an election in which voters were not demonstrating any signs of bond fatigue. In Los Angeles in late 2008, after a few years of hard work, the sideshows and the carnivals are now enjoying real political viability, and early 2009 promises to be a quarter in which lots of wrenches are thrown into the local political works.

Breaking Down in America, the Sequel

Local scribe Will Campbell tries today to go from Silver Lake to Newport Beach for official business---without a car.

He is tweeting on twitter as he goes---and it doesn't seem to be going well:

Guess who's on the wrong fucking train?!!!

Here is where Freud was right: the basis of all humor is pain.

Breaking Down in America

JM, Breaking Down in America, Atwater, 12.04.08

Not just Nebraska plates...thirty-day Nebraska plates.

From Breaking Down in America:
I’ve always wondered about those cars you see advertised for only a few hundred bucks. So I bought one. Now I’m gonna drive that bitch as hard as I can across the country. If (when?) it breaks I’ll just buy another beater and move on. This is a road trip that for once comes without the fear of breaking down. Instead there’s the expectation that something will go wrong. Constantly. I guess you could call it a metaphor for life. Breaking Down in America is the unfolding story of this road trip and the cars, the people and the places involved.

Vehicle spotted at Starbucks parking lot, Atwater.

Do not redevelop

JM, Sidewalk, Tsunami, Sunset Junction, Silver Lake, 12.03.08

Power tools away

I walked through LA Live! earlier today, and I think that cw is wrong about the place. It's not as simulated an urban environment as most other high profile lifestyle zones. What concerns me is what always concerns me; that it won't attract real artists or real people. But that has become true with everything that's built new; artists can't afford to live anywhere new, so real redevelopment of a community always happens despite the efforts of a city, rather than because of them. Never mind about the architecture, which is imposing; it is also irrelevant. It's bright, shiny, and new, which is what it is meant to be, and it needs to retain it in perpetuity to work, so the jury will be out on that for a long time.

There are, I found, power tools and long cords buzzing and humming in nearly every storefront, so I wouldn't count on a true launch everywhere today or tomorrow. The stage built for something Grammy looks like it works in the space, and the hospitality tent is a good fit too; it will contend with other such venues for other such nights. But LA Live is a hundred times better than the nostalgia-driven simulated urbanism of Armenia at Brand, and with the dozens of spigots I observed in a small handful of bars, it seems destined to offer at least one or two reliable watering holes after the break-in period.

The McCourt consolation prizes

The subject is the Dodgers bizarre negotiating tactic of building youth fields around SoCal instead of risking signing great players to win a pennant.

On that subject, did anyone hear Jamie McCourt talking to Patt Morrison yesterday on KPCC, defending the idea? McCourt has a lot of subtle chutzpah, and she passes it off in gracious way (I noted she wasn't quite so egalitarian, though, as to offer to take calls directly from hoi polloi.)

McCourt invoked the name of Sandy Koufax as an exemplar of what a man can mean to a town. In that, she had a lot of nerve. She's obviously never read Koufax's biography, because Sandy went toe-to-toe with Dodger brass over salary three times, all before the era of free agency, and the kid from Brooklyn got just about everything he asked for all three times, though the struggles were Herculean and the O'Malley machine relentless. He was baseball's highest-paid bonus baby when he signed, and then he negotiated brilliantly against the Dodger front office in 1963 and again in 1965, when he and Don Drysdale both held out for more cash.

Increasingly, the tactic to give the people their lesser fields of dreams (rather than trimming the price of parking to, say, a mere $14 a car) sounds like an either-or: we're not signing Manram, so here's your consolation prize: parks that can be built with dollars spread out over the course of this young century, if need be, in a part of the country that already has a surfeit of green diamonds, and has a far higher need for soccer pitches anyway, especially in LA's own San Fernando Valley.

Most people I know are similarly outraged at the McCourts other notable consolation prize, to the churches of LA: the moving of the Marathon to an unrunnable weekend in late May, which will guarantee more cardiac arrests both in training and on race day.

Even among the religious, LA's Islamic, Jewish, Saturday-night Catholic communities especially didn't have a problem with Sunday morning. But the hardcore Sunday Morning Christians, especially that guy in the old Angeles Temple have been squawking for years about their one Sunday in which roads are blocked, and the McCourt's made the move to satisfy the few.

Beyond we heretical chronic churchskippers, there are also people in their fifties, sixties, seventies and even older who run marathons, and who will be severely challenged by the ten-degree temperature shift all through training and on race day. All thanks to the McCourts, who said nothing to these but "Let them eat smog."

La Maison, Rocked

JM, Karen's Ballroom, 12.1.08

The French House in Beverly Hills was the hottest spot north of Havana last night, with deejay Charlie Sputnik and performer Sébastien Tellier rocking the maison after usual BH residential street hours. We spotted the KCRW front line Chris Douridas and Jason Bentley in the house for Sputnik and the man who has been referred to as "France's sexual ambassador to the US", Tellier. There can be no question: it's a very new French house under consul général de France à Los Angeles David Martinon and his wife Karen, installed this summer.

Tellier brings his sexual space garage tech disco nostalgia pop irony (included in the mix last night was Barry Manilow's Copacabana, which might have scuffed the Consul General's floor a bit), to Music Box @ Fonda tomorrow night.