Morning Buzz

Wednesday Buzz, 6.21.06

Click on the Buzz to take a peek inside at the popular morning news briefing. Today's offering includes Eli Broad talking about buying the L.A. Times and a Correction o' the Day (from the LAT) that invokes God. Plus, would you believe a couple of Scullian outbursts—and Cesar Izturis at third base?

Top News
Mayor still in Sacramento
Antonio Villaraigosa had lunch with Gov. Schwarzenegger and says he could reveal the language of a bill for takeover of the LAUSD as soon as today. Times, Daily News, Daily Breeze
How many students graduate from LAUSD?
A new study by Education Week with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation says that only 44% of students who begin high school go on to graduate in L.A. Unified. Supt. Roy Romer protests that the study misses many grads and that the real number is over 60%—despite what Mayor Villaraigosa says. Times, Daily News
"The first thing that people in this town need to know," is that the mayor's program "is being sold on false information," said Supt. Roy Romer. "It's a terrible way to treat people, to give them false information. The mayor should know better."
DWP hike trimmed
Commissioners at the Department of Water and Power blue-penciled items out of the budget and got the rate hike down to 2.75%. Times, Daily News
Easing up on lobbyists
The city's Ethics Commission seems poised to free lobbyists of the requirement to report their contributions to charitable events associated with elected officials. Times, Daily Breeze
What's the sound of air escaping a bubble?
Home sales in May fell to their lowest level for that month in seven years, while the median price stayed flat. Homeowners sitting on their retirement nest egg will not be reassured by this from UCLA economist Ryan Ratcliff:
"Absent a recession, the price of a home five years from now is not likely to be substantially lower than it is today."
Southwest to test assigned seating
On flights out of San Diego in July.
Cingular's shame
The mobile service provider must pay a $12.1-million fine for signing up customers faster than it could serve them and imposing high cancellation fees without a trial period. Cingular also owes up to $10 million in refunds.
Chaparral notes
Email going around the Hollywood Hills:
A neighbor on Upper Outpost had his small dog taken by a mountain lion yesterday morning - ran off to Runyon (which we border up here). Please make sure your stakeholders and neighbors up in the hills are aware that there is at least one mountain lion and several bob cats up here in addition to the coyotes.


Anastasia Mann

Eli Broad on buying the L.A. Times
Times columnist Steve Lopez phoned up the philanthropist to take his pulse.
"I'd be interested," Broad said, telling me he'd given it some thought but hadn't thoroughly investigated the possibility of buying The Times. "Look, our foundation would be interested. I can't speak for Annenberg, Keck, Ahmanson. But a number of us foundations and possibly wealthy individuals who love this city would love to acquire the L.A. Times."

So what's stopping them? "In the past, the message we get back is that it's not for sale, thank you." Yes, but with the Chandler family poking sticks in the eyes of other Tribune directors, the whole thing could come apart. "If it became available, I'd be very interested in exploring it," Broad said, adding that profits wouldn't be his main priority public service and education would be. "If you bought it and were profit-oriented, you wouldn't have the same quality newspaper that the city deserves. You'd be pushing for bigger margins and cash flow, and how far would you cut before you hit the bone?"

Univision sale 'in disarray'
The consortium of investors led by Mexican television giant Grupo Televisa that had the inside track to buy Jerrold Perenchio's Hispanic media empire missed the deadline to submit an offer. Haim Saban's group also missed the deadline.
Eating West magazine
Pat Saperstein of Eating L.A. dishes on last Sunday's special food issue of West in the LAT: "I thought the conceit of categorizing dishes by which utensil they are eaten with was pretty forced, but I can certainly understand the desperation for fresh ideas. But usually in this type of issue I can at least find two or three places I'd like to try. This one just seemed small and flat."
NYT to sell ads on Business front
Ads will strip across the bottom of the opening page of the New York Times Business section. They already do it on the Sunday Metro cover.
KCET's William Lamb
The LAT runs its William Lamb obit today. The NYT (and LA Observed) had it yesterday.
Correction o' the day
From the Los Angeles Times...
Baseball: An article in Sports on June 7 quoted pitcher Luke Hochevar, drafted by the Kansas City Royals, as referring to "Scott" Scott Boras, his agent when in fact he used the word "God." Here is the correct quote: "God had a plan in this, and his master plan definitely worked. It was tough through it you go through it and you fight it but when it all comes down to it, God has a plan for you, and he definitely worked a miracle in my case."
Around the web
Silver Lake
LA Voice comments on the plan to re-engineer the street shoulder—and move some trees—on the east side of Silver Lake Reservoir.
Taco trucks
Photos of those roadside Los Angeles institutions of culinary adventure.
Fun and games
Shaq and Pat Riley add a ring
The Miami Heat defeated Dallas for the NBA championship.
Trade waiting to happen
The Dodgers activated Cesar Izturis from the injured list and plan to play the light-hitting, Gold Glove-winning shortstop at third base, even though the incumbent at short—Rafael Furcal—leads all shortstops in errors. Izturis has only played two innings at third in his career. "Preposterous choice," says Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts. Grady Little almost seems to agree:
Little called Izturis last week in Las Vegas and asked him to play some third base. "His initial reaction was, maybe it wasn't that good of an idea," Little said.
Speaking of baseball
You don't hear Vin Scully go off on too many topics, but on Tuesday's Dodgers broadcast he really blasted the idea that the All-Star game—"a meaningless exhibition"—is used to award home-field advantage for the World Series. He also voiced rare un-Scully-like exasperation that the Dodger rookies keep squandering at-bats by swinging at the first pitch.
Aloud at Central Library
Author Denise Hamilton leads a conversation with novelist Alan Furst, whose thrillers are set during World War II. The Foreign Correspondent is his latest. 7 pm.
Ken Bernstein
The manager of the new Office of Historic Resources in the city planning department guests on "Patt Morrison" on KPCC at 2:20 pm.
Front page linksLA Observed archive

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The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
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