I 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?