LA Observed archive
for December 2004

If you don't find what you want here, check another month or search below.

Susan Sontag dies at 71 *

Sontag died today [Tuesday] of leukemia at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The L.A. Times online obituary by her good friend, Book Editor Steve Wasserman, calls Sontag...

Holiday notes *

Posting will be light through New Year's Day. But I will probably add a few notes here during the coming week, with the freshest at the bottom. See you all...

Debate coverage

Last night's debate featured some spirited back and forth sniping between the candidates, mostly directed at (or by) Jim Hahn. Talking to reporters afterward, the mayor defended his administration against...

Pitching an LAT editor

Mediabistro.com is trying out a new column on how PR people should pitch various media. It's done Q-and-A style, with the questions posed by Laura Galloway of Galloway Media Group...

L.A. fireblog

The Los Angeles Fire Department's media relations staff has started a blog with releases on incidents in the city. It went up yesterday and reports on four structure fires. There's...

Media writer at LAT

The Times has named Jim Rainey a national media writer. He recently covered the presidential campaign and has reported in the past on L.A. city politics. His beat is separate...

Campaign notes

Around the race for mayor: • We know what Richard Alarcon will talk about at tonight's debate. The state Senator filed papers yesterday pushing a ballot measure to ban city contractors...

Dodgers deal now real not *

AP says the Dodgers and two other teams, the Yankees and Diamondbacks, have okayed and submitted the trade that has been rumored since last week. The Dodgers would give up...

Anschutz thinks national

L.A.'s most important Denver-based player, Philip Anschutz, has filed trademark applications to reserve "The Examiner" as the name of newspapers in 69 cities. The Denver Post (via Romenesko) only mentions...

Bad journalism of 2004

Times media critic David Shaw on Sunday ran his list of the year's worst journalism moments. His top 10 include Dan Rather's use of fake memos for a "60 Minutes"...

Monday notes

Edited since first posted LAist has found a sure-fire way to get more City Hall readership, at least for the day. The blog has posted a Q-and-A with Rick Orlov,...

Getty's #1 (and #6 and #9)

One of my favorite lists in the L.A. Business Journal is the annual rank of most valuable private property in Los Angeles County. My favorite fact in this week's report...

Grading the websites

LAVoice.org has competition for its series keeping tabs on the web presence of the five top candidates for mayor. In the Downtown News, Jon Regardie submits their websites to expert...

Online moves

Both the L.A. Business Journal and LA Weekly are getting ready to unveil newsier websites. In the new issue, the Journal announces that over the next two weeks it will...

New left winger on the rolls

Luc Robitaille has been a favorite of Kings fans since he arrived from Quebec as a teenager they all said couldn't skate. Lucky (his nickname) is now hockey's all-time scorer...

Police line up for Hahn too

Adding to Mayor Hahn's labor sweep this week, the Police Protective League officially threw its endorsement his way today. No surprise there, since the LAPD rank-and-file are happy with the...

Bad day for the Blue

I suppose there have been worse overall news days for the Dodgers, but December 16 has to rank up there. Morning brought the report that outfielder Milton Bradley began serving...

Helping New Yorkers feel at home

Franklin Avenue puts out the word that KCAL Channel 9 will adopt a New York television tradition by airing a crackling fireplace on Christmas morning. From 6 to 9 a.m.,...

L.A. for foodies

The Food Section, the New York-based website Gourmet calls "the consummate gastronomic blog," is devoting a week to Los Angeles culinary spots. Guest editor Kristin Franklin, a recent L.A. arrival,...

Labor day **

The county Federation of Labor hears from the candidates for mayor today and then votes on an endorsement, Rick Orlov says in the Daily News. Last time, the umbrella group...

Reaction on Gary Webb *

The LA Weekly's Marc Cooper was quite disturbed by the Times coverage of the death of Gary Webb, the Sacramento reporter who shot himself last week. He's been writing about...

May 14, 2006

That's the opening date for the hugely expanded Griffith Observatory. The landmark in Griffith Park has been closed for renovation since January 2002, but until now there had been no...

The Bratton boomlet

The New York Daily News' Rush & Molloy say that the prospects of LAPD chief Bill Bratton being appointed Homeland Security chief by President Bush are weakened by his association...

Love that local angle

Author Penny Rudolph lives in Albuquerque but she is setting her newest murder mystery Thicker Than Blood here. Her website describes it: In this latter-day Chinatown, recovering alcoholic Rachel Chavez...

Catfight at Channel 7 *

On her blog, radio personality and voice actor April Winchell has posted an MP3 file of an on-air tiff (audio she wants you to listen to it from her blog,...

Change of heart?

The link to the Third Floor View blog from inside the L.A. Times goes this morning to a "not found" error page. There's no indication whether the blogger is giving...

Return of 'The Body Politic'

Joe Scott wrote a notes column called "The Body Politic" that ran on page two of the Herald Examiner during the 1980s. It was a must-read for politics junkies. Before...

Moore rolls the dice

Second-tier mayoral candidate Walter Moore is so determined to play with the big boys that he is loaning his campaign $100,000. The attorney told the Daily News he hopes the...

26 miles across the sea

KPCC's Kitty Felde is taking Talk of the City over to Catalina today for a live broadcast. One of the topics will be the coming roundup of 100 island buffalo...

Attention tech flacks

The Times business section has a new editor on the tech pod. To: The Staff From: Rick Wartzman, Business Editor Aaron Curtiss, Senior Technology Editor Ashley Dunn, Science Editor We...

Cripes, no more media party

Political and media hands have been lamenting the demise of the annual holiday party thrown in Hancock Park by the Times' Janet Clayton and her husband Michael Johnson. For many...

Just a couple of average guys

The Zócalo lecture series is asking the question on January 27: "Does the American Middle Class have a Future?" Given the topic, the speakers are a surprise. The question wil...

Blogging the Times

That new L.A. Times newsroom anony-blogger who made it known that he or she would begin writing on Monday didn't wait. After my post on Thursday, a list of upcoming...

Weekend notes

Updated through the weekend, newest at the bottom • Mayor Jim Hahn and councilman Bernard Parks both opened their 2005 campaign headquarters on Saturday. Hahn's (photo provided by his campaign) is...

Sirhan sues to save Ambassador

I missed this last week, and according to Google so did all the local media. Preservation magazine reports online that Sen. Robert Kennedy's murderer, Sirhan B. Sirhan, has sued the...

Maxwell McCrohon, last HerEx editor

The editor-in-chief in 1989 when the Herald Examiner folded died this week of cancer at age 76. His career included stints as managing editor of Chicago Today and the Chicago...

Gretchen has a girl

I've mentioned before the strange fascination that some L.A. Observed visitors have with TV news women, in general, and especially with Gretchen Carr, the former CBS 2 News anchor. The...

LAX cops taser 78-year-old

David Goldstein at CBS 2 apparently had the story last night (it's in the Daily Breeze today). A 78-year-old Lancaster man walked into the LAX police station last Saturday to...

Bad investment

Forbes calls this story "Flack Attack." The piece by Los Angeles bureau chief Seth Lubove details a legal dispute over $6 million in investments that Michael Sitrick of crisis PR...

Dan Gillmor leaves Mercury

Upstate in San Jose, the Mercury's longtime technology writer, Dan Gillmor, is leaving the paper to start up a "citizen journalism" venture. Here's the Mercury's announcement and Gillmor's short-on-details blog...

The gift that keeps giving

Mayor Hahn's connection with Fleishman-Hillard continues to cost him. Today, it's headlines about candidate Antonio Villaraigosa asking the city Ethics Commission to look into the mayor's role in the public...

Another LAT blogger

This could get interesting (or not, depending...). An anonymous L.A. Times staffer (I presume) has set up a Blogspot account and posted this place-holder: View From the 3rd Floor Once...

Return fire in Beverly Hills

They may not describe it as war, but the Beverly Hills papers are at the least having a public spat. After being called out by its rival the Courier, the...

New state politics editor at LAT

Assistant Managing Editor Janet Clayton tinkered with the Metro lineup down at the Times today, naming a new editor to oversee state government coverage. It's Linda Rogers, who has done...

The mayor's race explained *

Robert Greene nails it in the LA Weekly: It is high opera, a classic tale of ambition, betrayal, revenge and perhaps even a little lust and greed. It has to...

Blame for Killer King *

The Times' five-day series on the bad situation at King/Drew Medical Center wraps up with a story by Mitchell Landsberg pointing the finger at African American community politics and reluctance...

Commissioner trouble

For the second day in a row, the papers run stories about bad reaction to Mayor Hahn's political plays with city commissions. This time it's about his appointment last month...

Hoy to become free

Tribune has a new idea for Hoy, the Spanish-language daily that was caught cooking the circulation numbers—and that here in L.A. isn't doing too well, cooked or not, up against...

It's war, I tell ya

The Beverly Hills Courier splashes a front page story this week attacking the city's decision to pay a higher rate for legal advertising in the rival Beverly Hills Weekly, with...

Wednesday notes *

* Updated with newest posts at the bottom • The February issue of Hustler will carry the story by Michael Collins and Mark Cromer that liberal critics of Rep. David Dreier...

More on Blume and Weekly *

* Updated with link to story and cover of Blume and Kaplan Tomorrow's Pasadena Weekly will go into detail on the firing of LA Weekly reporter Howard Blume—described as the...

Ouroussoff raves on Caltrans *

Former L.A. Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff finally shares his view of the Caltrans headquarters downtown with his New York Times readers. In a review today, he calls the Thom...

Final stop

Soccer great Mia Hamm ends her long career on the U.S. national team tonight in Carson. She first played for the U.S. when she was 15 and now, at 32,...

Hahn wins more friends *

Jim Hahn's administration at City Hall has a rep for removing commissioners without any thanks for their volunteer time (only the Public Works commissioners get a salary). Sometimes the firing...

Writers Guild changes tune

The WGA board voted unanimously Monday night to let Written By go ahead and publish a roundtable discussion of guild politics—but only after a committee of non-editors removes "personally defamatory"...

WoHi is the new Westwood

The website LA.com has been based on Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood, somewhat close to the trendy shops, clubs and restaurants that its writers frequent. But this week, they and their...

Cost-cutting hurts in so many ways *

The L.A. Times newsroom has been struck by a plague that could be considered an unintended consequence of all the belt trimming down on Spring Street. This email to Assistant...

Blog-media crossover

Regular readers of New York's Gawker and its L.A. spinoff Defamer may have noticed a certain fascination with gossip about teenager Lindsay Lohan on both blogs (and with her nipples...

You won't read it in Written By

The Writers Guild board is under fire for playing thin-skinned publisher and yanking a roundtable discussion of guild politics from Written By, the organization's magazine. Variety's Dave McNary reports that...

Trib trial begins

Testimony began yesterday in the U.S. Tax Court case between the Tribune Co. and the IRS, which wants $915 million in back taxes and interest. It's a problem Tribune inherited...

LAX almost the worst

Of 76 airports in the world, it takes longest to get through the ticket counter lines at LAX—and only Denver and Dulles have longer security lines. The Daily News story...

Next frontier

Science writer Robert Lee Hotz reports on the front page of today's LAT: Harnessing the electrical echoes of thought, researchers have developed a way for people to control a computer...

Marlboro Man

L.A. Times photojournalist Luis Sinco talks at Digital Journalist about his photograph of Marine Lance Cpl. James Miller, taken during a battle in Fallujah. He calls it Thousand Mile Stare,...

Brett Ratner's Vlife

Variety editor Peter Bart turned this month's issue of Vlife (not online) over to guest editor Brett Ratner, director of After the Sunset. Ratner took full advantage, getting stories on...

Reich: Times too far left

Today's political notes columns are light on City Hall items, but Rick Orlov does mention the new blog by Ken Reich, the former Times political writer, that we reported on...

Surfing the art theft detail

A story by Troy Anderson in today's Daily News surveys the city-owned artwork that has gone missing—and led me to fritter away half an hour clicking around in the art...

Missing a local story

With the rainy, cool autumn, people in Los Angeles have been noticing—and complaining about—ant swarms invading homes and apartments. Today's Times picks up on the buzz, sort of. The story...

He's number one

Sunday's L.A. Times Book Review rolled out its dignified selection of the "best books of 2004," a fiction list of two dozen works including the latest by Philip Roth, E.L....

Joel Stein's first column *

Michael Kinsley's latest East Coast addition to the Times pundit lineup runs today at the bottom of the Sunday Opinion cover, without introduction or bio blurb, under the label "Laptop...

Noted on the weekend *

* Updated all weekend, newest posts at the bottom • A new (to me) blog of L.A. street photography: The Streets are Alive, by Nitsa of Streets of Los Angeles, where...

NPR makes it official

The good news for Renee Montagne is that, as of today, she is no longer the interim co-host of NPR's Morning Edition. She and Steve Inskeep were announced Saturday as...

Looking for Mr. Right

KCRW tried another conservative on today's Left, Right & Center: Michael Murphy, Republican media consultant for John McCain and others and adviser to Gov. Schwarzenegger. His agency for speaking engagements...

Bruce Cook tribute *

When the author and former Daily News book editor Bruce Cook died last year, a number of fans posted comments here on the blog. His wife Judith Aller also came...

Jody Jacobs, society editor was 82

The Times' society editor for 14 years (1971-1985) chronicled the days when the Chandler family reigned over Hancock Park and the prominent names in Los Angeles society included the Reagans...

We love our SUV's

One in eight drivers in California and the U.S. has a sport utility vehicle, the Census Bureau says. In California there are 2.75 million, an increase of 39% from 1997....

New weekly coming

Its website says that Our Weekly will launch in January "dedicated to the African American communities in Los Angeles." Based on Western Avenue in South L.A., it will circulate free...

Backstage at the debate *

If nothing else, last night's televised debate removed any doubts that the mayor's race is going to be a rancorous, negative and highly personal clash. The challengers pounced on Jim...

California Journal suspends

The California Journal is halting publication in January—at least temporarily—after 35 years. A non-profit board has tried to build an endowment to keep the monthly journal of state politics and...

Statue to the stars

Eric Spiegelman at Cinemocracy treks to the wilderness of Beverly Hills—"or, as I usually refer to it, across the street"—to check out the odd monument to film celebrities that rises...

Gray Davis lands

The recalled ex-governor has joined the Los Angeles law firm of Loeb and Loeb. An AP story says Davis had been a lawyer before, briefly, after getting his law degree...

Debate Day

The candidates for mayor come together tonight at the Musuem of Tolerance (and on KNBC and KWHY at 7 p.m.) and hope that somebody—anybody—cares at this early point in the...

Blume on Sunday

Given recent events in the LA Weekly newsroom, this is interesting: fired Weekly writer Howard Blume will sit in for regular Deadline L.A. host Barbara Osborn this Sunday on KPFK...

New Times blog

Ken Reich reported for the L.A. Times for 39 years until last spring, when he was allowed to retire after bullying a newsroom aide. Now he has started a blog...

KTLA picks a weatherman

Beth Sweeney won the popular vote (10,399 to 8568), but at the conclusion of The Audition channel 5's Supreme Court of judges tapped Ross King as the new weatherman on...

Gifting in L.A. private schools

In this week's New Yorker, Los Angeles-based staff writer Caitlin Flanagan ponders the ritual of giving presents to teachers for the holidays. Her vantage point is upper-income L.A. private schools,...

Hertzberg: Break up LAUSD

Candidate Bob Hertzberg is out today with another online-only ad, vowing that his first priority as mayor would be to splinter the Los Angeles Unified School district into smaller pieces....

Comics condom

In today's Zits comic strip in the Times, the character named Pierce asks to borrow a pencil, then rips open a condom package with his teeth and rolls the latex...

Victorian-era blog on eBay

Xeni Jardin posts at Boing Boing that the old-fashioned paper blog is a "handwritten journal attributed to a woman who lived in Boston in 1878. It's filled with talk of...

Caruso steps up *

Police commisioner and developer of The Grove Rick Caruso says he'll bankroll a drive to put Mayor Hahn's sales tax hike for more cops on the May ballot if the...

Imagine the beer prices *

Artifacts from Tutankhamen's reign are returning to LACMA for the first time since drawing big crowds in the 1970s—but it could cost you $30 to see King Tut's stuff. Prices...

A pair of hearts each

Talker story of the day: The Orange County couple who both got heart transplants at Cedars-Sinai, seven years apart....
LAO_TyrusWong104 copy.jpgTake My Picture Gary Leonard is a regular weekly feature of LA Observed. See Gary's archive.
Fauna observed
owl-in-yucca-vdt.jpgGreat horned owl perched in a yucca. Veronique de Turenne
Australian Ballet and more
swan-lake-dp.jpg
The Australian Ballet's recent visit reviewed, plus Mahler's Fifth by Dudamel and the LA Phil. Donna Perlmutter
Streetscape: East Hollywood
beverlys-appliances-smblvd.jpgBeverly's Appliances, Santa Monica Boulevard
Al Satterwhite's photos of Muhammad Ali
ali-satterwhite-secret.jpgDavid Davis talks with the photographer about shooting a key chapter in Ali's career and a Kickstarter campaign to put out a book. Interview