President Obama returns to Los Angeles on Thursday to separate more Democrats from their $40,000. Recent trips, as you surely remember, have caused a fair bit of angst and frustration depending on where and when the Obama entourage travels through city streets. Who can forget the fundraising visit in 2010 that shut down some Miracle Mile-area streets for hours, or the unscheduled stop at Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles last year that dealt a lot of people's careful detour plans a fatal blow. The point of all that, though, is that the president comes to Los Angeles so often to raise money and his patterns have become fairly predictable. Many people have learned to navigate around the Obamajams.
But this time it's different. He's headed to the Valley, to the home of actor George Clooney in Studio City. Thanks to that sappy CBS special a few months ago, we know what Clooney's house looks like inside and the neighborhood where it is located — in Fryman Canyon, just off Laurel Canyon Boulevard near Wilacre Park. (And I think we can deduce he enjoys the virtual company of CBS' Lara Logan.)
And that's about it. We know from the White House that Obama will arrive at LAX on Air Force One pretty late in Thursday's drive-time crush — about 6:20 p.m. We know he'll be staying overnight, departing LAX on Friday morning a little after 10 a.m.
But how he will get across the Santa Monica Mountains to Studio City, whether by copter or motorcade — and where he will spend the night — and how it will all impact Los Angeles traffic — we just don't know yet. City officials would like to know. Neighborhood groups would like to know. Demonstrators hope to make their presence be noticed — they would like to know.
There are plenty of parks, golf courses, schools and other places to land a copter in the area, and thus avoid a big cross-town disruption. On the Westside recent Obama visits have utilized parks in Cheviot Hills and Brentwood. So it wouldn't surprise me if he flies to the Valley. But will he be staying back in Beverly Hills, as usual?
Meanwhile, guests will be bused in to the Clooney property. Some guests are paying $40,000 to attend, and this fundraiser is already being called the most lucrative ever in a presidential campaign.
Obama has been to the Valley before as president — to NBC in Burbank to be on with Jay Leno, and to Glendale to chat a little with Piolin. But this appears to be the first time he's stopped at a private home there.
More traffic info as we get it. Here's the neighbors' take in the Daily News