LABJ separates the pack

In a front page story in the latest L.A. Business Journal, Howard Fine says internal campaign polls show Antonio Villaraigosa and Bernard Parks—the two council members in the mayor's race—ahead of the others chasing Jim Hahn. Fine pronounces them "the leading challengers," but concedes the polls are early takes based on name recognition, not voter reaction to any of the campaigning. He concludes "the election remains up for grabs." Hahn in these early polls begins with somewhere between 25% and 30%, Villaraigosa and Parks register in the 20s, and Bob Hertzberg and Richard Alarcon trail with ratings in the teens or single digits. The next milestone in the race is the end-of-year fundraising reports that will show which candidates (if any) have the cash to compete on TV with Hahn.

Postcard of Civil War vets at National Solider's HomeThe story is free on the Business Journal's newly reinvented website, which now posts updated daily business news. This issue also carries a front page story on the controversy over talk of privately developing some of the 400-acre veterans hospital grounds adjacent to Brentwood. The Department of Veterans Affairs wants to allow some high-rise on the historic "campus" along Wilshire Boulevard, some of the most vauable property on the Westside. The feds put a real estate agent on the citizens advisory committee, but left off critics such as Rep. Henry Waxman and Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. A bit of history that could make the fight interesting: The acreage was donated for a National Soldiers Home in the 1880s, with a proviso that the land be used forever to benefit war veterans or be returned to the families of former U.S. Sen. J.P. Jones and Arcadia Bandini Baker.

The home, built for Civil War vets, was a major L.A. tourist destination for decades. The scene above of a Memorial Day ceremony, probably in the 19th century, is from a colorized postcard in the online collection at the Los Angeles Public Library.

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