Friday Buzz, 6.9.06

Morning BuzzBandit tow trucks, taxi stings, serial murders, euthanized kittens. Today's Morning Buzz doesn't present a very pretty picture of Los Angeles, I'm afraid. Good thing it's still early in the day. No afternoon posts, though: I'm driving up to Santa Barbara to appear on a panel at the California State Newspapers Editors convention.

♦ Bandit towing: The city charged Non Stop Towing in a criminal complaint with staging accidents, attempting extortion and towing from private parking lots.
♦ LAX taxi sting: Police cited 54 cabs for violations including meter zappers.
♦ Serial killer?: The Times follows the LA Weekly cover story on a possible string of murders in South Los Angeles, and gives due credit.
♦ Not for the squeamish: Animal Services chief Ed Boks says of his latest blog entry, "I doubt any stronger case can be made for mandatory spay/neuter than what you are about to read."
The month of May 2006 came in like a lamb but went out like hundreds of sick and dying neonate kittens...This was due to an unusually high number of orphaned neonates presenting clinical symptoms suggestive of infectious diseases such as Notedris cati, chylmydia, panleukopenia, and corona virus etc...254 orphaned neonates were euthanized in the month of May in North Central with well over 100 in the last week. South LA Animal Care Center euthanized 247 neonates in the month of May, and the entire LAAS organization euthanized a total of 823 orphaned neonates of the 2,035 dogs and cats euthanized.

If there is a silver lining to any of this news, it is that the Calendar 06 Year To Date Euthanasia rate for dogs and cats is down nearly 17% compared to the same time period in 05 and down 29.5% compared to the same time period in 04.

♦ The Venice mix: Uneasy combination of wealthy and poor, the Times finds.
♦ Leaving AFI: Jean Picker Firstenberg told the AFI board she would retire as chief executive next year.
♦ L.A. book reissue: Raphael J. Sonenshein's The City at Stake Secession, Reform, and the Battle for Los Angeles is out in paperback with a new afterword and gets reviewed by the LAT's City-County Bureau chief, Jim Newton:
Los Angeles owes much to Raphael J. Sonenshein, a pioneering scholar of this city whose serious study has spurred interest in its dense, subtle politics and government....Sonenshein writes not just as an observer but also as a participant: He served as executive director of one of two charter commissions that led that ambitious and difficult reform effort.

It should be noted at the outset that charter reform as it played out in Los Angeles politics in the 1990s was a long and political process. Progress was often obscure or incremental. The scenes were set in offices and government buildings all too often late at night in such glamour spots as the Department of Water and Power conference room. It was important work, which I covered for The Times, but it was hardly white-knuckle entertainment.

Sonenshein has energized that potentially bland narrative with meticulous research and observation, qualities vividly displayed in his landmark 1993 work, "Politics in Black and White."

♦ Glendale mall: Rick Caruso broke ground on his Americana at Brand development adjacent to the Glendale Galleria.
♦ Media call: Ron Fineman proposes that the Press Club, Society of Professional Journalists and the Radio-TV News Association hold a press conference to offer a reward for information on the man who attacked KABC reporter Sandy Wells and took his tape outside a Latino charter school the station's morning talk host has been railing against. The Times runs a story today on the school pushing back against the controversy.
♦ Horsey development: John Laing Homes let nearby residents re-design a new tract to add equestrian trails, fewer but bigger houses and wider streets.
♦ Countdown: Griffith Observatory director Edwin Krupp talks up his new baby at The Planning Report.
♦ On the air: Larry Mantle tackles the future of the Southwest Museum on KPCC at 10:20 am.
♦ Re-Correction-in-waiting o' the day: It's in the Daily News — "For the Record: Due to an editing error, an opinion column Thursday listed the incorrect date for author Greg Palast's appearance at Immanual Presbyterian Church. In fact, the event will be held at 7 tonight." OK, but it's Immanuel.

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