Paying the price
We knew Mayor Villaraigosa was going to put the screws on local business and rich guys to pay for his pet projects and causes, but wow. The Times' David Zahniser added it up and reports that in his first two years, Villaraigosa took in $19.6 million — "largely by asking scores of companies and individuals for five- and six-figure contributions." These kinds of sponsorship deals fall outside any contribution limits, and of course the public has no idea what sorts of deals were struck. Many of the donors have business with the city or need the mayor's approval for big projects. LAT
Jay and Conan to resume, but no writers for the Oscars
Latest moves from the costly chess game that is the writers strike. LAT, NYT, AP
Woman lost in towed car died after crash
A preliminary report by the coroner's office says Shirley Lee Williams of Paso Robles died within minutes of Saturday's crash in Tarzana. Her son was driving and didn't or couldn't tell rescuers she was in the car. Williams' body was found the next day, hidden under an airbag in the wreckage in a local towing yard. LAT, DN
New editor at LAist
It's Zach Behrens, who has been co-editor. He talks about it — and tomorrow is his birthday.
More evolution at Gawker
Nick Denton takes over as managing editor of the New York site he created and is advertising for reporters as opposed to pure snarkers. NYT
Where's Al Martinez?
His column hasn't run in the Times' California section since Nov. 26, but the official word is he's on vacation and will return "next week, probably." Readers' Representative Journal
Times taking MetroMix to print
Free weekly youth tabloid will be aimed at 20-something professionals — you know, the demographic niche the LAT is best at reaching. Same editors as the MetroMix website, plus a couple of new hires. Fishbowl LA, Laura Stegman
Holiday Speedo Run
Like the UCLA Undie Run, except older, goofier and in the daylight. It's Los Angeles triathletes, running up the Third Street Promenade and through Santa Monica Place. YouTube
That's the name the LAT's Steve Harvey gave his look-back at the wacky stories of the year. Only in L.A.
Register's Excelsior cranks up English insert
Expresso will be a bilingual Friday insert in the Spanish-language paper, targeting "young, second-generation Hispanic readers who are interested in Latin American culture, but read and speak English as their dominant language." OC Weekly
Most of L.A.'s journalist organizations are having a combined holiday party this evening at the Redwood Bar and Grill on 2nd Street downtown, near the Times. Participating are the Society of Professional Journalists, Latino Journalists of California, National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, Asian American Journalists Association, New America Media, Black Journalists Association of Southern California, L.A. Press Club and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
Tibor Paul, 81
Paul was a butcher in Vernon and the creator of the German-American Broadcast Radio Programs, which aired on Los Angeles radio from 1966 to 2000, including a long run on KPCC when the station had music programming. Paul died in San Diego on Dec. 10.