I endorse completely Hector Tobar's column today in the LA Times. This summer has so far been charmed, climate-wise. The lack of June gloom over the coast has allowed for some stunningly beautiful mornings, afternoons and evenings along the bay. Warm, but not 100 degrees yet, in the city and the Valley. From Tobar's inland vantage point, there's been no smog to spoil the view.
For us L.A. old-timers, there's something odd about the first days of summer this year.
The air is clear. Unnaturally clear.
One day this week, standing in front of my home in Mount Washington just north of downtown, I could actually see the faint outline of Catalina Island 52 miles away.
OK, there's also news in the column. At the end there's a note revealing that Tobar will no longer be a columnist on the page 2 of the Times' incredibly shrinking front section. He's moving to the Books pod "where he will be writing reviews and essays as well as covering news about L.A's literary scene and beyond." He should be good at that. He'll be missed as a media observer of all things Los Angeles. And unless he's replaced I guess this means the LA Times will go down to approximately zero brand-name writers with a foot in LA Latino culture.
Plus there is the potentially awkward complication that Tobar is part of the LA literary scene. His novel The Barbarian Nurseries is a recent bestseller, he recently returned from leave on another high-profile writing project, and he's a member in good standing on the circuit of local authors who speak on panels, get asked to contribute to anthologies and are written about when they have a new project. Now he'll be one of the Times people who write about that circuit.