Some new, some holdovers from the end of the year. I'll be back to regular posting on Monday. Happy New Year everybody!
- Bell Gardens city counciman Mario Beltran took the deal and agreed to plead guilty to four misdemeanor violations of the Political Reform Act. Nine other counts of including grand theft and perjury will be dismissed. LAT
- There were five shooting homicides in L.A. County on New Year's Day, starting with a pair shortly after midnight in Long Beach. LAT, LB Report
- Layoffs last week at OC Weekly included managing editor Rich Kane.
- Christian Berthelsen, recently laid off at the L.A. Times Orange County bureau, becomes managing editor of the L.A. Daily Journal. Gary Scott
- Outlawed signs still keep going up in the city of Los Angeles. LAT
- Culver City was voted neighborhood of the year by readers of Curbed LA
- Here are this year's top 10 Los Angeles mensches as selected by the Jewish Journal.
- Patterico's annual compilation of what he sees as the L.A. Times' worst examples of political bias and bad reporting through the year. Patterico's Pontifications
- Former NBC producer Cecelia Alvear remembers her last meeting with Fidel Castro and Maria Shriver. Huffington Post
- Writer Robert David Jaffe described his psychotic break and argues that forced treatment was good for him. LAT Op-Ed
- Times staff writer Kim Murphy defended her Christmas Day story about her cat Bess, lost in her home for two months and now blind and brain damaged. Readers Rep blog
Also: Why Michael Hiltzik got his column back.
- Matt Miller of KCRW's "Left, Right & Center" argues that on education, Barack Obama should steal an idea from Richard Nixon. NYT Op-Ed
- Saturday's "Off-Ramp" on KPCC will be devoted to a documentary on the Oakridge mobile home park and what happens now to residents whose idyllic homes were lost in the recent Sylmar fire. Noon Saturday.
- Boing Boing's Xeni Jardin reported on a Christmas exchange in a K'iche' Maya village in Guatemala. Boing Boing
- Former LAT writer Ann Japenga has a piece in Sierra magazine on the mysteries behind the disappearance of hiker Louise Teagarden in the Santa Rosa Mountains more than four decades ago. Sierra
- L.A. journalist Jerry Lazar is editorial director of Kobreguide, the self-described guide to the best video journalism on the Web, founded by San Francisco State photojournalist Ken Kobre.
And around LA Observed: TJ Sullivan observes the new more onerous parking rules hit Westwood Village and a new lease finally for Beyond Baroque, plus Mark Lacter on the IndyMac deal, Sara Catania on listening while training for the marathon, and Veronique de Turenne on the foggy new year in Mailibu.
LA Observed on KCRW: Looking ahead to 2009. Aired today at 4:44 p.m., but always available online.