Weekend notes

Updated through the weekend, newest at the bottom

Hahn headquarters• Mayor Jim Hahn and councilman Bernard Parks both opened their 2005 campaign headquarters on Saturday. Hahn's (photo provided by his campaign) is on Wilshire in the Miracle Mile, Parks' on Martin Luther King in the Crenshaw area. Parks mentioned the mayor and Fleishman-Hillard a whole bunch of times to his group. It's a safe bet Hahn did not reciprocate. (Noted: Fleishman-Hillard defends its work for the DWP in a letter to the editor in Sunday's LAT.)

• Times Book Editor Steve Wasserman wrote his first bylined review in more than two years, saying of Michael Crichton's new State of Fear: "The plot is contrived, the characters one-dimensional, the predicaments predictable....a screed against the received wisdom of Rachel Carson's fear-mongering progeny and the manic exaggeration that he argues has been her most pernicious legacy more than 40 years after the publication of Silent Spring. Whatever his literary aspiration, Crichton's real genius is to have written the first neo-con novel."

• Photos of mayoral candidate Bob Hertzberg, city Controller Laura Chick and council members Wendy Greuel, Tom LaBonge and Eric Garcetti participating in a fashion show benefit ran in Saturday's Times Calendar section, with a story by Tina Daunt.

• The L.A. Film Critics Association voted Sideways its best picture of 2004.

• In Sunday's L.A. Times Magazine, Fresno reporter Mark Arax returns to the trail of the men who murdered his father when Mark was 15. His 1996 book In My Father's Name detailed his personal search for the killers up to that time.

• Last week's Kobe Bryant-Karl Malone schism actually began Nov. 23 when Bryant's wife Vanessa told her husband that Malone hit on her during a game at Staples Center, the Times' T.J. Simers reports Sunday. A series of angry phone calls followed, leading to Malone saying he would not return to the Lakers.

• Gary Webb, the reporter whose investigation for the San Jose Mercury alleged a CIA connection to the Los Angeles crack epidemic of the 1980s, apparently killed himself near Sacramento. He was 49. Webb's conclusion that Nicaraguan drug runners used crack profits to fund the CIA-backed Contras was widely disputed, and the Mercury retracted that part of his series then demoted Webb to a suburban bureau. He left the paper and was writing most recently for the Sacramento News & Review. Update: Coverage in the Sacramento Bee and Mercury News, and reaction from admirer Marc Cooper.

• The lead editorial in Sunday's Daily News calls for full disclosure before the March 2005 election of whatever evidence exists in the City Hall corruption and Fleishman-Hillard scandals. Mayor Jim Hahn also should tell his side, the paper says: "If the corruption allegations against Hahn are true, then the public needs to know that so it can vote him out of office. And if they are false, then he deserves to have his name cleared before he goes before the voters."

• Jennifer Ordonez of the Newsweek L.A. bureau turned down an offer to replace Bernie Weinraub and cover TV from here for the New York Times, Nikki Finke reports on the LA Weekly website. She says the NYT has also made Jacques Steinberg a New York-based TV reporter.

• Opinion lets Joel Stein write again. This week's Laptop L.A. column goes inside Bravo's network-level holiday gift deliberations to decide which stars rate an Ipod, who gets poker chips and the losers who receive just a card. The Hollywood ritual, Stein writes, "is what happens when you force Jews to send Christmas gifts to each other." (Stein notes that he did some work for Bravo this year. There's also a bio link on LATimes.com now, but it was empty Sunday night except for a photo.)

• KCRW's Frances Anderton, host of the show "DnA: Design and Architecture," tells the LAT Magazine her ten local places that "nourish the soul." Her #1: the LAX theme building.

• Howard Owens of the Ventura County Star has resumed blogging. It's more varied in subject (less politics) and less chronological than the blog he gave up in May.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
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