Good morning 8.29.07

The WSJ (kind of) starts a Sam Zell rumor, the CoCo Times wins a peek at paychecks, wacky guy starts Burning Man a bit early, and AT&T stops time. Who can resist?

Stop Sell the presses

The Wall Street Journal waxes nostalgic about the grand old days of newspaper buildings as civic icons, and speculates about the fate of our very own LAT.

Eyes are also on real-estate swashbuckler Sam Zell, who is in the process of buying the Tribune Co. Some in the real estate industry believe he could sell its properties, including the 1925 neo-Gothic Tribune Tower on Chicago's North Michigan Avenue and the Los Angeles Times building, which is not far from the Walt Disney Concert Hall and other downtown landmarks. "This is a guy who's made his mark maximizing real-estate values," says Jim Vesey, senior director for capital markets for real estate advisory firm Cushman & Wakefield Inc. in Philadelphia.

It's their fault?

A seismic link between the LA Basin and the Mojave Desert could be the reason for a 1,000-year lull in quakes in LA, while the desert has been quite active. MSNBC makes the case.

This claim from a new study might come as a surprise to L.A. residents, who have been shaken by the 1994 Northridge quake, the Whittier quake in 1987 and numerous other temblors big and small.

But even the Northridge quake, the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history at the time, was “a drop in the bucket” compared with the massive jolts expected during high seismic activity, said researcher James Dolan of the University of Southern California.

Time to stop

Effective September 2007, AT&T's Time of Day information service will be discontinued, David Lazarus reports in the LAT.

"...people throughout Southern California will no longer be able to call 853-1212 to hear a woman's recorded voice state that "at the tone, Pacific Daylight Time will be . . ." with the recording automatically updating at 10-second intervals.

One upside: AT&T says doing away with time would enable the creation of about 300,000 new phone numbers in California beginning with the 853 or 767 prefixes. (No such numbers have been issued to date because, when coupled with any four other digits, you get time.)"

Man on fire

Performance artist torches the Burning Man statue four days early. SF Chron.

Ralph M. Brown is smiling

A win for transparency in government by the Contra Costa Times. (Which requires registration to read its stories, so we'll get it from the Central Valley Times instead.)

Citizens have the right to know how much public employees are being paid and the hiring and firing patterns of police departments, the California Supreme Court says in two rulings Monday.">Citizens have the right to know how much public employees are being paid and the hiring and firing patterns of police departments, the California Supreme Court says in two rulings Monday.

The state’s highest court ruled that Oakland was wrong in trying to keep secret how much public employees were paid. The Contra Costa Times went to court when its efforts to find out who was pulling down $100,000 or more a year were blocked.

Killer hotel tour

Another peculiar thing to do in LA, Steve Harvey reports.

The 90-minute, $25 bus adventure will savor bad deeds done in such venues as the Alexandria, Rosslyn and Cecil hotels; the latter was the sometime home of serial killer Richard "Night Stalker" Ramirez.

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