Morning Buzz

Morning Buzz: Monday 1.22.07

Click for the whole big rich cup of Monday news and observations. It's a good one.

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Gangs and race
L.A.'s gang culture, and Chief Bratton's acknowledgement that the problem is getting worse and more racial, was the subject of a weekend piece on NPR's "All Things Considered" by reporter Frank Stoltze of KPCC. Meanwhile, on Sunday the LAT fronted a story saying the number of racial attacks by gangs is rising. And La Opinión played big on Saturday a report that the Mexican Mafia is behind attacks on blacks, and the paper has peeled off a special online section (Guerra a las pandillas) devoted to the war against gangs. The LA Weekly's Daniel Hernandez blogs, "Is it just me, or is this shit getting scary?"
Lopez confronts de la Vega about the Hummer
Walking to a sit-down interview with Villaraigosa's point man on traffic, transportation deputy Jaime de la Vega, flack Matt Szabo told LAT columnist Steve Lopez that he could not ask about the aide's SUV. Steve just laughed at him.
I felt a little sorry for Szabo, a decent enough chap who had arranged the meeting after I complained that de la Vega didn't answer my call.

But not sorry enough to pull punches. What's with the Hummer? I asked as soon as we were seated in de la Vega's office.

De la Vega gave me a cold stare, his lips sealed. Then he looked at Szabo, who said we were there to talk transportation....I just can't get past it, I told de la Vega. A Hummer?

Alarcon launches
State Sen. Alex Padilla and the aide who had hoped to run for his old seat on the city council, Felipe Fuentes, both attended Richard Alarcon's council campaign kickoff Saturday. Cindy Montanez, who also had hoped to run, wasn't there but has endorsed Alarcon. Daily News
Pitching in for GW
Los Angeles author Matthew Scully, a former speechwriter for President Bush, has been holed up in a Washington hotel since Jan. 6 helping draft and polish the State of the Union address.
Fun with numbers
Steve Hymon notices that the city's official reports claim that exactly 3,275,845 parking tickets were issued in 2003-04 — and again the following year. The report also says that 260,000 citations were contested in each of both years. LAT
Going after the reporters
Lawyers for entertainment attorney Terry Christensen went to court Friday asking that New York Times reporters David Halbfinger and Allison Hope Weiner be forced to reveal the names of their sources on the Pellicano case. LAT
Freelancer takes a salary
Ross Johnson, the former Daily Journal columnist, Hollywood Reporter editor and contributor at Los Angeles and Buzz, is going PR and joining Sitrick and Company. No word on what this means for LAIndie, his site for obsessing about — and sometimes breaking news on — the Pellicano case.
Matt Welch's day
The Assistant Opinion Editor at the Los Angeles Times tells Mediabistro about his reading habits, personal history and the differences between editing at Reason magazine and the gray lady downtown.
You definitely get your calls back quicker here, and are roughly 800% more likely to be visited in your office by Mikhail Gorbachev, or Arnold Schwarzenegger, or the head of the Coast Guard, or a leetle robot controlled by Eric Garcetti. But you're also much more likely to begin interactions with readers by them screaming insults at you.

Work-wise, at Reason I blogged more (though that's beginning to change here), and always wrote under my own name. Here I write most often in the Institutional Voice, which is a pretty big difference (and kind of theoretically weird, given my personal history, though I rarely think about it that way). But even though we had plenty of daily content at Reason, there is just no deadline as emotionally satisfying as that of a print daily newspaper. I love the things; cringe when we stumble, dance a jig when we stick a landing.

Book reviews
Hollywood writer and producer Allan Rucker's book, The Best Seat in the House: How I Woke Up One Tuesday and Was Paralyzed for Life was reviewed Sunday in the NYT. From his first chapter:
Here is my life the day I became paralyzed. I was fifty-one, married with two sons, one in college and an eight-year-old at home, living in a big house in West Los Angeles, and pursuing my so-called craft as a writer of television specials and documentaries. I was at best an aging young Turk and at worst an aging journeyman, i.e., hack.
Also, LA Observed contributor (Chicken Corner) Jenny Burman reviewed Bohemian Los Angeles: and the Making of Modern Politics by Daniel Hurewitz in the Sunday LAT Book Review. The book's focus is Edendale, the early name for the neighborhood of today's Silver Lake and Echo Park. Last week, LAO contributor (Here in Malibu) Veronique de Turenne reviewed the newest book from Angel City Press, The Santa Monica Mountains: Range on the Edge by Westways writer Matthew Jaffe. Angel City, of course, published my latest book.
KTLA gets a star
Channel 5 will celebrate its 60th anniversary on Wednesday by accepting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and televising "The Morning show" from Hollywood and Highland. They promise that Stan Chambers will make an appearance.
Speaking of Daniel Hernandez
A new blog by a woman in San Antonio pays a compliment to him and LA Observed.
Police beat
Long Beach case in the news
The mother of four of the defendants in the Long Beach racial assault case spoke out at a weekend forum called to rally support for the families of the suspects.
LAX delays 'Registered Traveler' line
The special faster security handling for frequent travelers who submit to a background check won't happen at LAX before spring, if then. Breeze
Marking the Atwater tragedy
City officials unveiled a memorial plaque at the Atwater Village site of the January 27, 2005 Metrolink train crash that killed 11 and injured about 100 passengers. Daily News
Quaint ritual
Kenny Hahn, the late legendary councilman and county Supervisor, used to carry a shovel in the trunk of his car for these kinds of occasions. Even though there's already a big hole in the ground and plenty of work going on where the new LAPD headquarters will rise, today at 10 am they are holding the official "groundbreaking."

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