Morning Buzz: Thursday 1.18.07

Take the surveyFinally, Jonathan Gold weighs in on the great Du-Par's debate. Plus Villaraigosa, Zahniser, Boyarsky and even Lindsay Lohan — click past the jump for your daily dose of Morning Buzz.

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Mayor's plan for schools
No social promotion, mandatory uniforms and a lot of outside collaboration are among the 52 policy recommendations to come out of Mayor Villaraigosa's education team. Supt. Brewer and the mayor's ally on the school board, Monica Garcia, attended the announcement, but otherwise LAUSD gave it a pass. LAT, DN From the LAT:
The mayor's approach would require a massive infusion of money and expertise, both of which are in limited supply. And many of his proposals — including a call for smaller schools and a return from multitrack calendars to a traditional schedule — are being employed by L.A. Unified schools or campuses elsewhere, sometimes with mixed results.

Still, Villaraigosa characterized his Schoolhouse strategy as the best chance for improving a district facing myriad challenges, including crowded classrooms and large numbers of students living in poverty or learning English...."After over a year of debate, I think most of us agree that the issue is no longer whether we need fundamental change in our public schools. The question is how."

Rare celeb news item
Lindsay Lohan, still not legal to buy alcohol in California, was admitted to the Wonderland rehab center. She even released a statement through Leslie Sloane Zelnick: "I have made a proactive decision to take care of my personal health. I appreciate your well wishes and ask that you please respect my privacy at this time."
Villaraigosa's pivot onto the gang issue
David Zahniser charts the new course.
A dictator comes to Malibu
Diana Ljungaeus, the latest friend o' Jill Stewart to get a freelance gig at LA Weekly, covers the reaction in Malibu to the arrival of Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the quasi-prince of Equatorial Guinea, who paid $35 million for an estate in Serra Retreat. For some reason the story is framed around the notion that celebrities who live in Malibu should be speaking out against him being there.
A night with Valley VOTE
Boyarsky talks to the secessionists about ethics and Prop. R and finds they still have some fight in them.
CityBeat goes to Griffith Park
Stories on the master plan controversy and the new Observatory, plus the legends of old Rancho Los Feliz. Also: Inside the demise of Dutton's Beverly Hills.
Hollywood raid
Universal Pictures has snapped up Christopher Meledandri, president of 20th Century Fox Animation, who oversaw the Ice Age movies. He gets a five-year production deal for animated and live-action films, according to two studio executives with knowledge of the agreement cited in the New York Times. Variety also has the news.
Ten layoffs at ReganBooks
Not everyone came out of the Judith Regan debacle with their job intact at HarperCollins. The New York Times story has details, as does Variety.
Times challenges union election
Filing with the National Labor Relations Board accuses the union or its supporters of "improperly and unlawfully" influencing the outcome of the pressroom vote. Times pressroom employees voted in the Teamsters union on January 6.
U.S. Attorney candidates
In an unusual twist, federal judge Dickran M. Tevrizian is considering a request by local lawyers to give up his lifetime post and take the job of U.S. Attorney for Los Angeles. The Times' Henry Weinstein reports the other candidates under consideration are Daniel P. Collins, a partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson and former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; Uttam S. Dhillon, a top lawyer in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Kimberly Ann Dunne, a partner at Sidley Austin; Nathan Hochman, a partner in Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez; Daniel Levin, a partner at WilmerHale in Washington, D.C.; and Thomas O'Brien, who is chief of the criminal division of the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles.
Police beat
Cops vs hot dog carts
Vendors complain of harassment downtown. LAT
Just to beat the Du-Par's horse to death...
Jonathan Gold reviews the reconstituted Farmers Market coffee shop (with the Granita-trained chef) that has been attracting so much comment among the LA Observed faithful. He approves:
Is the French toast the same? It is not — it’s more of the egg-dipped-and-fried school than of the buttery, puddingy variety I had always insisted was the best in town. But to everyone’s surprise, Jennifer Naylor’s Du-par’s is neither a chefly interpretation of a coffee shop, like BLD, nor a parlor of seven-sprout omelets and tofu scrambles, neither a postmodern Fred 62–esque pastiche nor a shiny 1950s nostalgia hut. It is, more or less, Du-par’s, but with a killer hash browns recipe, very decent bacon from Daily’s, a reputable Caesar, and all the tuna melts, Monte Cristos, tri-tip sandwiches and liver-and-onions any coffee shop aficionado could possibly want.
Agriculture still matters in L.A.
Jacob Soboroff takes hjis video camera out in the fields to gauge the impact of the freeze. Native Intelligence.
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More by Kevin Roderick:
Ralph Lawler of the Clippers and the age of Aquarius
Riding the Expo Line to USC 'just magical'
Last bastion of free parking? Loyola Marymount to charge students
Matt Kemp, Dodgers and Kings start big weekend the right way
LA Times writers revisit their '92 riots observations
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