Six parts later, it's still 1959

Rondelli'sI enjoy Los Angeles history as much as the next guy, and probably more than the guy beside him. Yet I haven't felt motivated to read the L.A. Times' seven-part amble through the old war stories of the LAPD's former organized crime squad. I saw the movies and read earlier accounts, and the promise of new details hasn't drawn me in. Today's installment even covers an episode I'm interested in, and have written about in a book and at another website, as well as at LAO — the 1959 murder of a bookie named Jack Whalen at a Ventura Boulevard restaurant where my wife's family used to eat — but I'm still not hooked. Oh well. There's one more part left to tie it all into the LAPD's later history of abuses by such special squads, the damage done by them to the department's standing, and the popular and political fallout that continues to shape how the LAPD is viewed today. That might make the series worth the space and resources it consumed at a paper that's fading out of the lives of so many present-day Angelenos.

Add Jack Whalen: I once received email from a reader asking for more on his great uncle Jack. What could I say except he was a low-grade San Fernando Valley mobster who died as Mickey Cohen looked on.

Put down those fondue forks: Last I heard Le Fondue Bourguignonne — which occupied the old Rondelli's space in Sherman Oaks for years — had closed. I don't know what's in there now. Anybody?


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
Recent History stories on LA Observed:
The other horrible April 29 date in Los Angeles history
KNBC 'live-tweeting' the run-up to '92 riots
When Muhammad Ali boxed in LA - and posed for pictures *
MALDEF sues sheriff over withheld Ruben Salazar files
Scenes from a convention - Los Angeles, 1960

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