Friday, 5.12.06

Morning BuzzMore on maggots at the morgue, the sordid conditions inside our jails, Guerdon Stuckey files his report and other news and views after the jump. From late yesterday, don't miss also the LAPD's new blog, the Ducks being mighty and the view from China. Click on the Buzz to continue...

♦ Coroner follows: The Times runs a story on overcrowding at the Los Angeles County morgue that never addresses the KMEX report of maggot infestations—or the curious quotes from the TV station. The Daily News does cite KMEX, and also has a coroner's official saying maggots come with the territory:
Craig Harvey, the coroner's chief of operations, defended the office, saying that some bodies do come into the facility with maggots but that the bodies are stored at temperatures that kills or renders them dormant. "Maggots are a cost of doing business," Harvey said. "It's what we deal with on a daily basis. Maggots can sometimes give us clues as to the time of death."
♦ I owe it all to a teacher...: If you've heard Mayor Villaraigosa praise his teenage mentor Herman Katz (and who hasn't) and are curious about the man, they will be together tonight at 6:30 pm at the West Valley Playhouse in Canoga Park. Katz is being honored by the Walk of Hearts Foundation. Antonio won't be hanging around, though. He's expected back at City Hall by 8:15 to present the Madre y Mujer Award to Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard. In the morning he speaks at USC's commencement and bags an honorary doctorate.
♦ Jails in crisis: Federal judge Dean Pregerson, presiding over a lawsuit about conditions in the county jails, toured the Men's Central Jail and and called it "not consistent with basic human values." Quick reforms are necessary, he said.
♦ Received and filed: After Guerdon Stuckey was fired as head of Animal Services, he got a $50,000 severance deal to write a report on what's wrong with the city's pet services. The Daily News says his 32-page report pegs the major cause of pet overpopulation is "the behavior of animal owners."
♦ Going digital: William Morris says it will start a digital media division to squeeze money out of video-on-demand, broadband and mobile distribution of content.
♦ Clippers fever: Daily News-turned-New York Times sports scribe Howard Beck came back to town to explain the Clippers phenomenon.
You do not need to feel persecuted, put upon, put down, inferior, doubted or unloved to be a Los Angeles Clippers fan. But it helps. A world-class sense of humor is not required, either. But it is surely useful. "The world's a tuxedo, and we're a pair of brown shoes," said the actor Billy Crystal, the most recognizable fan of the least-recognized team in Los Angeles.
♦ Meanwhile: It took an entire week but the NYT corrected its re-garble of the location of LACMA (and still sticks with Mid-Wilshire over the more proper Miracle Mile.
♦ Women in politics: Controller Laura Chick hosted another Women's Dialogue discussion panel last night in the City Council chambers that had on the bill Channel 4's Laurel Erickson, Councilmember Wendy Greuel, Villaraigosa chief of staff Robin Kramer, State Sen. Gloria Romero and others.
♦ Well the sex change operation worked: The L.A. Independent will wish it hadn't referred to young Marilyn Monroe in a headline as Norman Jean.
♦ L.A. traffic blog: Nando Fuseli's blog is called L.A. traffic sucks: Let's fix it! Self-explanatory.
♦ Hollywood vs blogger: Justin Levine of the SoCal Law Blog has taken over Luke Ford's defense (pro bono) against the defamation lawsuit by agent and producer Jeff Wald. Levine is asking for readers to help draft his motions. (Via Tabloid Baby)
♦ L.A.'s dopest lawyer, again: Allison Margolin, the 28-year-old Harvard Law grad whose ads offering to represent pot smokers are a staple of the local alt weeklies, is featured in this morning's Daily Journal. Too expensive to link [here's my post from last year], but here's a sample:
Petite, spunky and - unless she's in court - dressed in hip Los Angeles casual clothes, Margolin's physical appearance is a stark contrast to the defendants she represents in prostitution and drug cases. Although she's dressed conservatively in the photo appearing in her ad, the shot conveys a subtle sultriness that sometimes attracts exactly the wrong type of client. "I don't know if they think I'm, like, a masseuse on the side," she says. "I get some weird calls." But something must be working. So far, she's handled five jury trials - winning four and resolving one out of court. At any given moment, Allison is juggling about 30 cases.
♦ Riordan surgery: Nancy Daly Riordan, philanthropist and wife of the former mayor, is undergoing treatment for a small tumor discovered on her pancreas, the Daily News says. "While the exact nature of the tumor is unknown, it must be removed," Richard Riordan said in a statement. "She will be having surgery this Monday. The surgeon has been most encouraging because of the tumor's size and the fact it was discovered so early."
♦ Larry King: The CNN gab host will receive the Los Angeles Press Club's Presidentís Award for 2006 at the awards banquet on June 24.
♦ Car chases: The danger and spectacle of car chases is featured on tonight's "California Connected" at 8:30 pm on KCET.
♦ Change at top in LANG: I'm told from the newsroom that Tal Campbell is retiring as executive editor of the Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Whittier Daily News and will be replaced by Steve O'Sullivan of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.
♦ Belated L.A. obit:The Times catches up with an obituary on longtime Los Angeles TV newsman Larry Atteberry. He was 73 and died May 5.

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