Wednesday, 4.12.06

Morning BuzzAntonio plans to impose a trash fee as the build-up to The Big Speech continues...Monique Moret names names in the Fleishman-Hillard trial: recognizable racism in the LAFD, black market breasts, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Bill Keller, Amy Harmon, Mickey Kaus, Mark (Defamer) Lisanti, Nikki Finke...the hits keep on coming when you turn the page.

I'm still on the road, so posting will remain unpredictable today. But I'll be back in L.A. Thursday evening to participate in a Press Club panel on media websites with Don Barrett, Ron Fineman and Matt Welch.

♦ Trash talk: Mayor Villaraigosa is expected to call for the city's first trash hauling fee for single-family homes in order to hire more police (even though the LAPD can't find enough recruits as it is), the Times says. The $11 monthly fee already tacked on to DWP bills already is officially not for collection, but rather an equipment charge.
♦ State of the City: Villaraigosa is taking next week's speech to The Accelerated School on South Main Street. They used to be daytime events, but for his first Villaraigosa is going for prime news hour at 5:30 pm.
♦ Getting personal: Politically connected ex-Fleishman-Hillard exec Monique Moret testified that her boss John Stodder told her to pad bills to the DWP, that he said the orders came from his boss Doug Dowie, and that they and former Jim Hahn deputy Matt Middlebrook became spooked when Fred Muir (now the head of Burson-Marsteller in Los Angeles) cited fraudulent billings as a reason he quit as a Fleishman VP. Moret was given immunity to testify. Times, Daily News, Copley/Breeze
Moret managed the $3-million DWP account, she told jurors. For more than four hours, she walked jurors through draft billing statements and e-mails, detailing how she worked her way up to the overbilling. She said she began by billing the agency two hours for one-hour meetings, and doubling the amount of time spent on such projects as preparing briefing books or planning media events. Later, she said, she would add thousands of dollars to an employee's billing and then concoct an explanation for it....When he learned that Moret's secretary helped change the bills, Dowie said that was like having an assistant plan "your night out with your mistress in a hotel," she testified.
♦ Tough words: Retired firefighter Donald Jones called the LAFD "the most racist, hypocritical organization I have ever been involved with."
♦ L.A. Contraband: Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Frederic H. Corbin has been accused by the feds of smuggling illegal silicone breast implants into the U.S., installing them in patients and falsifying medical records. Very low in the LAT story you find out the indictment came in February and that the doc's attorney denies some of the charges.
♦ Ten percent defection: Nikki Finke broke the news that soon-to-be-drafted USC quarterback Matt Leinart quit sports agent Leigh Steinberg and looks to be jumping to CAA.
♦ Moving east: The Nation magazine party that usually precedes the Times Book Festival won't be held at Chez Huffington this year. It's at the Chateau Marmont, hosted by the newly engaged and pregnant Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard.
♦ Going national: Daniel Hernandez of the LA Weekly goes oral with an essay about flags and the immigration demonstrations on NPR's "All Things Considered."
♦ Old friends: Techies who lost track of Amy Harmon, who used to cover their world for the L.A. Times and New York Times, can catch up with her today via video on the NYT website. Now on the National staff's "How We Live" team, she filed the first in a series on how genetic technology is changing society.
♦ Speaking of NYT on the Web: Editor Bill Keller is answering questions online this week. Not long before they all do that in some form. The east coast Times is also dropping its Boldface gossip column.
♦ Does anybody care?: Why the Page Six scandal isn't such big news in LA., quoting Kaus and Lisanti and giving credit to Finke, but noting in the LAT Calendar section: "In fact, the closest thing Hollywood has to Page Six is Page Six itself; the Post is available for home delivery here, and the column regularly covers and skewers the Southland's rich and infamous." Forgot and sucks up to those who play ball with us or give us free stuff...
♦ Hollywood's favorite soap opera: Ross Johnson is now columnizing about the Anthony Pellicano story threads at Movie City News.
♦ Burkle adds a name: Yucaipa Cos. hired James Naughton, former executive editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, to help boost its bid to buy the papers McClatchy is selling.
♦ L.A. obituary: Harold Lehman, an artist who was a classmate of Jackson Pollock at Manual Arts High and worked with David Alfaro Siqueiros during the Mexican's still-reverberating visit to Los Angeles in 1932, died April 2 at age 92 in New Jersey.

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