LA Observed archive
for March 2013

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Dan Turner, LA Times editorial writer was 49

Dan Turner was a member of the Los Angeles Times editorial board who wrote on a wide range of topics. He died Saturday at home in Los Angeles of pancreatic cancer that was diagnosed about two years ago. He had continued to write editorials and blog items for the Times' opinion section until taking a leave of absence only about a week ago.

Goodreads acquired by Amazon, perhaps for close to $1 billion

goodreads-couple.png Barely a year after founder Otis Y. Chandler hailed Goodreads' "independence" from Amazon's technology by saying "we will celebrate January 30th for years to come!," Chandler has announced that his startup is "joining the Amazon family." Goodreads will continue but there will be more integration with the Kindle. Reaction around the book blogosphere is initially skeptical.

Bernard Parks to endorse Garcetti

Thumbnail image for garcetti-candy-roscoes.jpg The chess game of South LA endorsements in the mayoral race continues. Today at 11 a.m., City Councilman Bernard Parks is scheduled to publicly endorse Eric Garcetti at the Garcetti headquarters on south Crenshaw Boulevard.

Morning Buzz: Quick notes for Friday 3.29.13

Light snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, Wesson's committee on the budget stacked with Greuel backers, Garcetti questions Hollywood towers plan, NPR dropping "Talk of the Nation," Register's paywall is on the way and more.

SoCal Connected statement: We might be back

Thumbnail image for kcet-rehearsal-control.jpg KCET says that while it doesn't look good for a sixth season of "SoCal Connected," it still might happen. "SoCal Connected depends on public funding and we don't know at this time what that funding will be."

Michaela Pereira leaving KTLA mornings for CNN

michaela-pereira-ktla-2013.jpg KTLA 5 Morning News co-host Michaela Pereira is leaving the station at the end of May, after nine years, to join CNN in New York, the station announced. No replacement has been named.

Dodgers in race to finish stadium work by Friday

dodger-stadium-marketplace.jpg Dodger Stadium hosts its first exhibition game on Friday night against the Angels. Then on Monday the season starts against the Giants. The $100 million-plus renovation isn't quite done. On "Marketplace," Kai Ryssdal takes a tour with project manager Janet Marie Smith, the Dodgers' senior vice president of planning and development.

Greuel counters with Magic Johnson endorsement

Thumbnail image for SIcover-magic-kemp.jpg This is kind of fun to watch. Hours after Eric Garcetti put out the word that he was endorsed by City Councilwoman Jan Perry, and before the media op was even held, Wendy Greuel's team announced that she has been endorsed by Magic Johnson. That presser is scheduled for 1 p.m. outside the West Angeles Church of God in Christ on Crenshaw Boulevard.

Yaroslavsky's journey on gay marriage

zev-romero-wedding.jpg Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky writes on his blog that his position on same-sex marriage didn't evolve so much as flip 180 degrees after a conversation with his daughter a decade ago. He says now that in 2008 he presided at the wedding of City Clerk June Lagmay and her partner.

Jan Perry to appear Thursday with Garcetti

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for jan-perry-arms-folded.jpg They have called a joint media op for 11 a.m. "to discuss the LA mayor's race" at the 28th Street YMCA. It's an auspicious time for Garcetti to roll out an endorsement by Perry, if indeed that's what happens. People were starting to ask where Garcetti has been.

Greuel blasts city leadership, Garcetti included

Thumbnail image for greuel-presser-step-repeat.jpg Greuel includes Mayor Villaraigosa as an example of a leader who has failed to bring jobs or fix the economy, just days after hiring one of his top deputies to be her campaign manager.

Chinese food lures bear into Monrovia home (video)

monrovia-bears-cbsla-grab.png Justin Lee heard his dog barking madly and rushed downstairs to come face to face with a brownish California black bear inside his Monrovia home. He grabbed the dog, ran back upstairs and called 911.

Reports: 'SoCal Connected' won't be back on KCET

kcet-control-room.jpg It sounds as if Thursday night's episode of "SoCal Connected" on financially strapped KCET might be more than the final show of the fifth season. Co-host Madeleine Brand posted on Facebook that Wednesday's taping day was the show's last one. "A loss for good journalism in L.A.," she writes. We agree.

Is this video of a dolphin funeral procession?

grieving-dolphins.jpg.png The Orange County whale watch boat that has been providing lots of great video of offshore sea life today has posted footage of a bottlenose dolphin appearing to swim with a dead calf on its back, while other dolphins in the pod slowly accompany the first.

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 3.27.13

petroleum-club-mural.jpg Arguments today on DOMA, HuffPost goes all out for marriage equality, bullet train's believers are now doubters, Council President Wesson calls Anschutz sincere, USC village to grow, Petraeus apologizes, Joyce Carol Oates takes over #1 spot on SoCal bestseller list and an old mural is recovered downtown. Plus Peabody award winners and a gardener found dead in a pool with leaf blower on his back.

Chinese desert dust reaches California skies

china-dust.jpg People up in the Eastern Sierra noticed recently that the sky was kind of hazy, and the usual culprit — dust from the Owens Lake bed that the Los Angeles DWP dried up years ago — could not be blamed. Turns out the haze was caused by suspended particles from "a massive dust event last week in the Gobi Desert" that rode the jet stream across the Pacific.

Dead man sitting in Google Street View

ray-collins-ghost-image.jpg Ray Collins, a singer and co-founder with Frank Zappa of the Mothers of Invention in the 1960s, died in December with a reputation as something of a "celebrity transient' out in Claremont. While Collins was alive, he apparently had a favorite table outside the Some Crust Bakery in Claremont Village. Thanks to Google, he's eternally there.

With all votes counted, we still have an Eastside council race

city-hall-from-lat.jpg Gil Cedillo falls short of 50% and has to face Jose Gardea in the runoff. There's no change in the order of finish in the mayoral race or other contests, but as expected the low voter turnout to be moaned about creeps up to 20.79 percent.

Greuel and Garcetti join in marriage equality meme

greuel-garcetti-equality-grab.jpg Not unexpectedly, both Los Angeles mayoral candidates — Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti, or their staffers for them — showed their support for gay marriage by switching their Facebook profile images on Tuesday. As you can see from the screen grab, Councilwoman Jan Perry did not.

Photo: LA Kings with President Obama and the cup

kings-obama-cup.jpg The Kings and the Galaxy both brought their 2012 championship trophies to the White House on Tuesday. I'm seeing mostly hockey types in this photo from the Kings, including retired Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille, captain Dustin Brown and general manager Dean Lombardi.
prop8-scotus-nytgrab.jpg.png The Supreme Court this morning took up California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage in preparation for what is being widely anticipated as a sweeping ruling on marriage and gay rights, but even the presumed swing justice asked why the court was getting involved now. “I just wonder if this case was properly granted,” said Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 3.26.13

beard-in-buffalo.jpg Gen. Petraeus to make speech tonight at USC, Kings live stream from the White House at 10:30 this morning, Maxine Waters and Henry Waxman at odds over LAX runway move, city of Riverside pulls out of Dorner reward fund and former LA news anchor John Beard talks about returning to "Arrested Development." Plus more.

Magic Johnson on what's wrong with the Lakers (video)

Magic was on Conan O'Brien's show last night. No real deep thoughts about the team, but here's a clip. "It's blowing my mind that a team with this much talent...," he says. "The Lakers have not jelled as a unit yet."

Forbes on what happened between Anschutz and Leiweke

anschutz-at-kings-blues-noahgraham.jpg Mike Ozanian, a Forbes staff writer on the business of sports, writes that the real reason billionaire Philip Anschutz terminated the sale of AEG — and parted ways with his longtime LA honcho, Tim Leiweke — involved a dispute between the men over how that sale was proceeding. Ozanian's backup for his report is unnamed sources "very close to the situation."

Oscars move to March for 2014, MTV video awards go to Brooklyn

mtv-vma-move.jpg Next year's Oscar awards will be held on March 2, moving later in the year to avoid conflicts with the Winter Olympics from Russia. The show will then move back to February (Feb. 22 to be exact) for 2015.

Bill Clinton endorses Greuel for mayor

Thumbnail image for greuel-presser-step-repeat.jpg "I saw this strength of Wendy's first-hand in 1994, when she was a valued member of my administration's Department of Housing and Urban Development," Clinton says in a statement. "When the Northridge Earthquake struck -- causing so much loss of life and destruction -- Wendy sprang into action."

Morning Buzz: Monday 3.25.13

car-on-roof.jpg Turns out Sheriff Baca pressured Tanaka to leave, California voters support a path to citizenship for illegals, Rupert Murdoch wants to buy the LA Times, the Greuel-Garcetti dance with labor, two pols go back on the payroll, losing the Tonight Show to NYC, a new editor for TMZ and something you don't see every day: a Cadillac on the roof.

And the Zocalo Book Prize goes to...

Haidt-book-zocalo.jpg This year's winner of the third annual book prize (and $5,000) from the folks at Zócalo Public Square is social psychologist Jonathan Haidt for "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion."

Greuel team resets two weeks into the runoff campaign

wendy-greuel-podium-signs.jpg Controller Wendy Greuel's campaign for mayor made headlines for the wrong reasons in the past few days, losing four key operatives with experience on the Obama campaign, bringing in two new key people, then switching up campaign managers — against a backdrop of what the LA Times calls "missteps." She did, however, add the support of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

Let's take a trip down Wilshire Boulevard

BW-lao-daylight.jpg LA Times architecture Christopher Hawthorne continues his survey of changing Los Angeles area boulevards with Wilshire — a street that he writes "has always stood apart from the city it slices through." Let's see what he says.

'60 Minutes' does the Brian Banks story

brian-banks-cbs.jpg In between pieces on Pussy Riot and Anderson Cooper diving with Nile crocodiles, tonight's "60 Minutes" reported on the former Long Beach Poly High football player who served several years for a sexual assault he did not commit.

YouTube reaches 1 trillion racist comments

you-tube-onion.jpg A bit of brilliance from the Science and Technology desk at The Onion.

Beverly Center reopened after bomb scare, evacuation

beverly-center-night.jpg The shopping center at Beverly and La Cienega boulevards was evacuated early this afternoon after a man reported finding a suspicious briefcase in his car. The case was removed and detonated, and the center reopened about 5 p.m., according to media reports.

Harold Robbins' typewriter added to Soboroff collection

jann-robbins-typewriter.jpg The LA civic leader who really likes old typewriters has picked up the 21st machine for his collection.

Morning Buzz: Friday 3.22.13

Big support for gun control in California, the mayoral candidates' fine line with labor, jokes from last night's political roast, Gloria Molina endorses Trutanich, the death of the Boston Phoenix, Amy Wilentz is still alive, and media focus on the fathers of UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad and the Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez. Plus more

Check out the rarely seen Million Dollar Theatre on Broadway

million-dollar-balcony-seat.jpg Before he shifted his sights to Hollywood, early motion picture impresario Sid Grauman built his first movie palace on Broadway at 3rd Street, beside the Grand Central Market and across the street from the Bradbury Building. The former Grauman's is now the Million Dollar, and I wandered around inside recently. It's open for tours this Saturday , but that night's showing of "Blade Runner" on the big screen is sold out. Pics inside.

Alcatraz prison closed 50 years ago today

alcatraz-aerial.jpg The last federal inmates — 27 "pale, quiet men" — left the island in San Francisco Bay by boat for transfer to other prisons. Alcatraz had held the Los Angeles mobster Mickey Cohen until a month earlier.

Bell jury seems like a piece of work; mistrial declared *

After taking two weeks to arrive at a mixed bag of verdicts and undecided charges, one of the jurors has asked the judge if he or she can change their mind about Wednesday's guilty verdicts. (No, said Judge Kathleen Kennedy.) The judge ordered the jury to keep trying today to resolve dozens of pending charges, but it has not been going smoothly.

Dodgers lose a key piece for two months

Thumbnail image for dodger-dogs-sign-lao.jpg Hanley Ramirez will have surgery Friday for a torn ligament in his thumb. Not until June will the Dodgers find out whether he can play a passable shortstop anymore and whether he's still the premium hitter they hoped he would be when the team traded for him last summer.

Morning Buzz: Thursday 3.21.13

end-of-rainbow-crop.jpg More takes on the Riordan endorsement of Wendy Greuel (his third choice so far in the race), potholes as an LA issue, upcoming USC-LAT poll, the fiction of "Phil Spector," Frontiers files for bankruptcy, "End of the Rainbow" opens, the architect facing charges over a firefighter death, and the 50th anniversary of a death at Dodger Stadium. Plus more.

Riordan and Soboroff take (opposite) sides in the mayoral race

city-hall-from-lat.jpg Former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan signed on today as an unpaid adviser to Wendy Greuel, shortly after former mayoral candidate Steven Soboroff endorsed Eric Garcetti. Several months ago, Riordan dismissed all the candidates as a bunch of losers.

Guilty verdicts on some Bell corruption cases

Five of the former Bell city officials on trial for misappropriating public funds were convicted on some charges, and a sixth — Luis Artiga — was acquitted of all charges. The convictions were mixed in with some not guilty findings and a report to the judge that the jury remains undecided on many charges after 18 days of deliberations.

OC Register adds a Washington bureau now

oc-register.jpg The jury is very much out on whether all this new investment at the Register is sustainable. But for now, the happy times continue. Owner Aaron Kushner will be on 'SoCal Connected' on Friday.

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 3.20.13

LA0413_300.jpg Greuel changes tune on city pensions, Steve Lopez wonders about the Valley and Greuel, Herb Wesson has a plan for city finances, KCRW relaunches DnA, "Gone Girl" is the local bestseller, three LAPD cops hurt in Palms fire, Army Corps suspends brush removal in Sepulveda Basin and what's in Los Angeles Magazine for April. Plus more.

Everything Carrie Bradshaw wondered on 'Sex and the City'

carrie-bradshaw.jpg Vulture compiled every facet of sex, relationships and New York that Sarah Jessica Parker's lead character wondered aloud about during the six seasons of "Sex and the City."

KPFK to do 24 hours in Spanish on March 25

gran-marcha-kpfk-crop.jpg PFK, the Pacifica radio station at 90.7 FM, says it will mark the anniversary of the "great Immigrant Rights March of 2006" with 24 hours of progressive Spanish-language programming.

Amorous gray whales put on many-hour show

graywhaledanapoint-pt.jpg On Sunday, a male and female did the courtship dance for several hours alongside and under a Dana Point whale-watch boat and other craft full of amazed onlookers. In the video, the whales even appear to rub against a sailboat and set it to rocking.

MOCA board rejects merger overture from County Museum of Art

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for moca-sculpture-plaza.jpg The Museum of Contemporary Art released a statement today saying it would remain an independent institution. The statement does not mention LACMA or the proposal to merge with the Wilshire Boulevard museum, but it didn't have to.

Driver makes sudden U-turn, hits motorcycle cop

That extra traffic in Laurel Canyon this evening was due to an accident involving an LAPD motorcycle officer. The unidentified officer was on his way to investigate a previous accident when a driver stuck in traffic made an abrupt turn in front of the officer's bike. He's at a hospital but going to be OK.

LA Times adds a California (on-line) columnist

robin-abcarian-pinterest.jpg The LAT is moving politics reporter Robin Abcarian over to be an online California columnist. Editor Davan Maharaj says, "Some of Robin’s columns will appear in print, but her primary mission is driving the digital conversation."

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 3.19.13

last-variety-cover.jpg Daily Variety's last print issue, Greuel wants to reopen City Hall pension talks, KPCC looks at Villaraigosa legacy, Lohan goes away again, Iraq war on "SoCal Connected," first complaint filed under LA County's condoms in porn law, and a new "Naughty Girl's Guide to Los Angeles."

Dodgers staff gets T.J. Simers to the ER during mini-stroke

Thumbnail image for falsone-on-kemp-53112.jpg LA Times sports columnist T.J. Simers was in his hotel room at baseball spring training in Arizona last week when he started showing the signs of a transient ischemic attack. Dodgers head trainer Sue Falsone listened to the symptom then sent trainer Aaron Schumacher to get the cranky sportswriter to the emergency room.

Lakers lose by 23 to Phoenix

The Lakers answered a big question tonight. Q: What kind of team are they without the injured Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, playing the second of back-to-back games, against an almost last-place team? A: A bad team.

Homicide Report gets new life at the LA Times

leovylamag.jpg Murder is way down, but the Times has decided to reactivate for the web the compendium of local murders that reporter Jill Leovy launched as a blog in 2007. The ideal candidate to write about murder "will bring keen storytelling skills and an ability to work with data to find themes and meaning. An interest in crime, detectives and the effects of violence on society is required."

Variety adds Scott Foundas as chief film critic

scott-foundas-variety.jpg The last daily issue of Variety hits mailboxes Tuesday — be sure and grab a copy to save if you are into that. For the next generation Variety, the news today is that Scott Foundas joins the trade as chief film critic. He will stay in New York.

Today's scary newspaper statistic

newspaper-ad-graph-atlantic.png Derek Thompson, the business editor at The Atlantic, gleaned this from today's Pew report on the State of the News Media. In 2012, newspapers lost $16 in print ads for every $1 earned in digital ads. And it's getting worse not better.

Pakistan arrests suspect in Daniel Pearl's murder

daniel-pearl-close.jpg Pakistani officials said today they have captured Qari Abdul Hayee, a terrorist leader who has been linked to the 2002 killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Hayee was taken into custody Sunday in Karachi by the Pakistani Rangers, a paramilitary unit, ABC News reports.

Morning Buzz: Monday 3.18.13

Cities spend to lobby in Sacramento, wooing the neighborhood councils, what Tim Leiweke meant to downtown, proposing a new jail, more endorsements in Campaign 2013, finalists for the Zócalo Book Prize and some LA media people in the news.

Video mash-up of SoCal police chases

car-chases-nbc4-grab.jpg If you're NBC 4, you probably figure you have the TV footage of police chases, might as well cut the video together and put it on the web. The greatest hits reel from recent chases runs 2:44 and includes the man who huffed on balloons in the Valley and the woman who took off running while still on her cellphone.

Phoenix lamely objects to LA Times talking about its water

phoenix-dust-storm.jpg The editorial board of the Arizona Republic newspaper didn't care for last week's LA Times op-ed essay in which a New Mexico environmental author argued that Phoenix, already a pretty sucky place, is in the cross-hairs of Southwest climate change. Instead of refuting the guy's case, they go after LA.

Cary Grant's signature from Earl Carroll Theatre

earl_carroll_cary_grant01.jpg A slab of concrete that is billed as bearing the signature of old-timey movie star Cary Grant from the wall of the legendary 1940s Hollywood nightspot is up for sale on eBay. Bidding starts at $5,000 — so it better be real.

Woman wins LA Marathon in her first marathon

mavillaraigosa-marathon-winners-2013.jpg Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa congratulates the winners of the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday. But wait — is that....? Yes it's Frank McCourt, the former Dodgers owner who retained his participation in the marathon.

Geez, now Anschutz is everywhere

anschutz-dustin-brown.jpg Last week there were the media interviews and the promise to be more visible in LA's contemplations over NFL football. And tonight, Anschutz and his wife Nancy sat courtside as the Lakers defeated the Sacramento Kings.

Explaining the Catalina eddy

catalina-eddy-nasa.jpg It has been more foggy than not along the beaches for the past week or so. Blame the recurring Southern California weather phenomenon known as the Catalina eddy, shown here. NASA explains how it works.

Pleitez apparently chooses Garcetti *

pleitez-podium.jpg They are meeting any media that comes out on a Saturday afternoon at the Doll Factory, the Temple Street home of the Derby Dolls near downtown. Unless they are going to strap on skates, I'm assuming this is where Pleitez announces he is endorsing Garcetti in the runoff for mayor. Plus: Greuel gets Emily's List.

Los Angeles Marathon course map, street closures for Sunday

2013-Additional-Street-Closures.jpg The Los Angeles Marathon begins at Dodger Stadium on Sunday morning and ends on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica. Most runners will start at 7:28 a.m. Streets and freeway ramps will reopen across the cities of Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, and on the federal VA campus near West LA, on a rolling basis.

Idea: Designate Tower Records a cultural landmark

tower-records-small.jpg Domenic Priore, the author of "Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Last Stand in Hollywood,” wants the city of West Hollywood to designate the former Tower Records store on Sunset Boulevard (across from Book Soup) as a Strip-themed cultural resource center.

Morning Buzz: Friday 3.15.13

Anschutz says NFL deal still likely, Leiweke's departure ripples, $40,000 for women the LAPD shot at, Newark Cory Booker as newest Hollywood political darling, hacking the LA Times website, the end for the Boston Phoenix and a KPCC reporter sings for losing a bet.

Kushner's comfort afflicted a bit by Marc Cooper

Thumbnail image for aarson-kushner-ocw.jpg Aaron Kushner, the hands-on owner of the Orange County Register, is still embroiled in conversation over his comment that the old quip about a newspaper's role — to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable — is out of step with his vision of the paper. The latest exchange is with Marc Cooper, the longtime alt-weekly and The Nation rabble-rouser who has been a journalism prof for several years at USC Annenberg.

New managing editor named at Fox 11

fox-sign-sepulveda.jpg Ramona Schindelheim, a former producer for the 10 p.m. news on Channel 11 in Los Angeles, is returning to KTTV later this month. She will be the managing editor, after stints as executive producer for CNBC's "Business Day," senior producer for "The Jane Pauley Show" and business editor at ABC News.

Here's the upside of sending LA crews to Rome

lopez-rome-befrank.jpg Bryan Frank, the photographer for the CBS 2/KCAL 9 duopoly, has been posting some really nice behind-the-scenes images — as well as some food, coffee and street life shots that make me wish I was back in Rome.

Spotting bighorn sheep in the San Gabriels

big-horn-sheep-chanelle.jpg Brenda Rees of the website SoCal Wild joined a volunteer outing last weekend to count bighorn sheep in the eastern San Gabriel Mountains. There are believed to be more than 400 sheep in the range.

Report: Eli Broad joining Beutner bid for LA Times

eli-broad-on-mic.jpg Billionaire investor and philanthropist Eli Broad is joining in financier Austin Beutner's proposal to buy the Los Angeles Times and run the newspaper as a non-profit, the Hollywood Reporter says tonight based on sources.
southland-grab.jpg I'm told that what could be the final episode of the television drama "Southland" will shoot tomorrow morning in front of the Police Administration Building. Chief Charlie Beck is supposed to make a quick cameo appearance sometime between 11 a.m. and noon.
"SoCal Connected" aired a story tonight that analyzes where Los Angeles Archdiocese priests accused of sexual abuse were assigned. Author Daniel A. Olivas' experiences with an abusive priest are featured. Warning: the video starts automatically.

Villaraigosa statement on changes at AEG

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's office issued the following statement regarding AEG Chairman Phil Anschutz's decision to not sell the company. Villaraigosa does not address the departure of the top Anschutz executive...

Gavin Smith's car recovered, case now a homicide

Sheriff's detectives said today they are now investigating last May's disappearance of media executive Gavin Smith as a homicide case. Smith's 2000 black Mercedes Benz 420E was recovered last month in a storage facility in Simi Valley.

Morning Buzz: Thursday 3.14.13

chris-hayes-msnbc.jpg Times chides Greuel, city attorney candidate won't endorse, Democrats regain super majority in Sacramento, college waiting lists "a human tragedy," Chris Hayes takes over "The Ed Show" slot on MSNBC, earthquake warning system worked on Monday and news of tonight's downtown Art Walk (and its oral sex-desiring leader.)

Kobe sprains ankle in Lakers loss to Hawks

kobe-down-hawks-espn.jpg Kobe Bryant was listed as out indefinitely after turning his ankle on the last shot of Wednesday's game against the Atlanta Hawks. X-rays were negative but ESPN LA called Bryant's injury a severe sprain. He did leave the arena on his feet, limping but without crutches.

Most expensive downtown condo in 2012: $4 million

eastern-columbia-glow-lao.jpg There were 354 sales of lofts and condos in greater Downtown LA's top 30 buildings last year, ranging in price from $120,000 to $ 4 million. A new report pegs the average at about $600,000, or $355 per square foot.

'Gone Girl,' 'I Could Pee on This' are SoCal's bestsellers

gone-girl-cover.jpg Been a while since I posted an early look at the bestselling books in Southern California's independent bookstores. Here are the top books through sales of Sunday.

Howard Berman lands with DC lobbying firm

Thumbnail image for berman-tv-grab.jpg Former congressman, defeated last November in that costly and bruising battle in the Valley with fellow Democrat Brad Sherman, has signed on as a senior policy adviser with the largest law firm on Washington's K Street.

No female wolves in California, so OR7 returns to Oregon

Wolf-OR7-DFG-Shinn.jpg The first gray wolf to roam California in 90 years has crossed back into Oregon — again. If he's headed back to his old pack, he'll find things have changed.

Pope Francis is from Argentina *

franciscum-vatican.jpg Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was elected pope on Wednesday night at the conclave in Vatican City. He took the name Francis and will be the first leader of the Roman Catholic church from Latin America.

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 3.13.13

Thumbnail image for moca-sculpture-plaza.jpg LAUSD settlement with Miramonte victims, Owens Valley air and water, Villaraigosa in New York, Manchester says no partnership with Koch brothers, Kushner ticks off Gustavo Arellano, MOCA talks with the National Gallery and what happened to all the DDT off Palos Verdes? Plus: Interest in Chicano studies declines.

Greuel gets another big labor endorsement - almost

greuel-300-tight.jpg The County Federation of Labor's political unit voted to endorse Wendy Greuel for mayor after she told a closed-door meeting, "I'm gonna stand with labor, not stand up to labor." County Democrats, meanwhile, gave more support to Eric Garcetti but failed to make an endorsement.

LA's poor voter turnout sliced, diced and made fun of

shallman-hacopian-carrick.jpg Campaign consultants for Greuel, Garcetti and Perry dissect the mayoral primary races that are behind us — turnout is the story — and look cautiously ahead. Meanwhile, the Sacramento Bee's cartoonist lampoons Angelenos for not voting.

NASA scientists using LA as one very big climate-change lab

la-from-mt-wilson-atlantic.jpg The ambitious Megacities Carbon Project aims to monitor the greenhouse gas emissions of "the largest human contributors to climate change: megacities." They are starting with Los Angeles and Paris, and have sensing stations planted across the LA basin.

Koch brothers may be preparing to bid for LA Times*

latimes-from-broadway.jpg "Unverified rumors that should be taken with a grain of salt if not a whole dollop," says the LA Weekly. But still worth reporting. The Hollywood Reporter claims to have more.

Reporters agree infotainment is here to stay, even in politics

Michael-Cieply-Charles-Latibeaudiere-Aaron-Brown-Joe-Mathews-zocalo.jpg Last night's Zócalo Public Square panel took up the question of what celebrity-driven news and websites like TMZ are doing to news reporting. And oddly enough there was a top producer from TMZ on the panel.

Variety, Deadline to sit together in West LA

variety-sign-300.jpg The team broke the news last night that parent company PMC is moving Variety out of its Miracle Mile office tower, and the Deadliners out of wherever they sit, and throwing them together in a building on Santa Monica Boulevard beside the 405 freeway. Nikki Finke and the Variety staffers she regularly insults together?

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 3.12.13

deanne-stillman-rumpus.jpg Kevin James isn't sure he'll endorse Garcetti or Greuel, county Democrats will try again tonight, Register's Aaron Kushner doesn't believe in afflicting the comfortable, new demographic projections for LA, media and politics notes — including when Vin Scully dated the creator of Sesame Street — plus Deanne Stillman, Dwight Howard and more.

Chief Beck, more officials and celebs breached by Russian site

beck-supercross-grab.jpg LAPD Chief Charlie Beck was among the top law enforcement and government officials whose address, social security number and credit reports were posted online. The head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, also had some personal information posted, as did vice president Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Beyonce, Ashton Kutcher and Mel Gibson, among others.

Rome is redundantly covered by LA anchors and reporters*

david-ono-rome-grab.jpg Los Angeles TV stations generally won't do Sacramento news (ABC 7 is the exception), but most sent their own people to Rome to cover the selection of the new pope — even though it is already one of the world's most adequately covered news events. Here's who is there.

Kristen Stewart a woman of few words in 'On the Road' clip

kristen-stewart-hedlund-road.jpg The push for "On the Road" is ramping up with nationwide release in theaters and video on demand set for March 22. In this clip, Kristen Stewart takes a break from making out with Garrett Hedlund to listen to him whisper at her.

Villaraigosa helps Warren Furutani land nicely

warren-furutani-campaign-pi.jpg Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa nominated the former state assemblyman, school board president and college board president -- and losing candidate for City Council -- to the Board of Public Works. That's the city's one true plum full-time paid commission.

Guerilla gardener of South Los Angeles

ron-finley-ted.jpg Artist and designer Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA -- in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? According to, "for fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where 'the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys.'"

They're having a quake swarm in the desert *

quake-map-31113.jpg.png An earthquake measured at 4.7 rocked the area around Anza-Borrego State Park this morning, accompanied by a whole bunch of lesser magnitude quakes in the vicinity of Anza and Ocotillo Wells.

Morning Buzz: Monday 3.11.13

bahooka-sign.jpg Jan Perry has no love for Greuel, pushing for South LA and Valley votes, what Jim Newton wants to hear, Garcetti en Español on Univision, John Shallman items, and is mass immigration a thing of the past in LA? Plus the closure of Bahooka Family Restaurant.
latentrance.jpg Jimmy Orr, the managing editor for digital at the Los Angeles Times, praises the staff in a memo regaling the biggest month yet for the Times website — and biggest traffic day for the LA Now news blog. Coverage of the Christopher Dorner pursuit was the big draw -- Orr admits the paper milked traffic by posting and tweeting early and often. — he credits an "assertive digital strategy used to cover the event."

Writer discovers that Wet lives on — in Paris

wet-paris-kurcfeld.jpg How's this for strange: Michael Kurcfeld was checking out an exhibition on imaginary languages in the Pompidou Museum in Paris recently when he came across a story he wrote in 1979 for the long-dead Los Angeles mag Wet: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing.

Jacob Bernstein on mother Nora Ephron's final weeks

Nora-Ephron-New-Book.jpg When the writer Nora Ephron died last June of acute myeloid leukemia, a disease she had been fighting for years, many in the media and literary worlds were surprised. She had not made her illness a big part of her public life.

New deputy at The Wrap used to be harsh critic of the site *

joseph_kapsch.jpg Fifteen months ago, the new deputy managing editor of The Wrap dismissed the site as "a small blog" filled with "opinion, agenda and fantasy" and "hardly a beacon of journalistic excellence." Editor Sharon Waxman was similarly dissed. All is forgiven, apparently.

Friday desk-clearing: Assessor makes bail

Noguez could go to work on Monday, Hilda Solis talks about LA, endorsements in Campaign 2013, Berkeley's Chez Panisse closed by fire and more items inside.

Photo glimpse: KTLA news meeting

ktla-news-meeting-ball.jpg KTLA News Director Jason Ball is new to Twitter and has been tweeting so much so that former Channel 5 reporter David Begnaud Twit-quipped to producers Tara Wallis and Marcus K. Smith: "Y'all take that twitter away from ‏@jasonrball." Ball posted this photo the other day of the afternoon editorial meeting. It's nice to see inside the walls and have a mental picture of how they do things.

Morning Buzz: Friday 3.8.13 *

moca-sculpture-plaza.jpg LACMA and MOCA talk while others talk about them, the Valley as mayoral battleground, campaign money resets, Villaraigosa endorses Nury Martinez for City Council and teases about GaGr, and new titles and roles at Variety, NYT and LAT. Plus more news and observations inside.

Morning Buzz: Thursday 3.7.13

art-shay-lisa-Napoli.jpg "Everything is on the table" for City Hall budget cuts, Villaraigosa on his legacy, Rosendahl the happy warrior, Cronkite Award winners, Anschutz is #3 on SI list of sports powerful, and photographer Art Shay talks to Lisa Napoli at almost 91.

Day-after moves in the mayoral race and more

garcetti-huff-post-live-gra.jpg On the day after Los Angeles voters eliminated the also-rans for mayor and other offices, the survivors began jockeying for position for the 11-week sprint to the runoff. Greuel got another union behind her, Garcetti dropped that oil lease in Beverly Hills and hands were wrung about voter turnout.

KPFK staff warned about a
co-worker's scabies

KPFK-PlateFrame.jpg The staff at Pacifica-owned radio station KPFK in Cahunega Pass opened their emails on Wednesday morning to find a message from Bernard Duncan, the general manager. He informed everyone that a colleague at the station had been treated for scabies, a condition caused by tiny mites that burrow into the skin.

Lakers come back from 25 down to beat lowly Hornets

lakers-espn-grab-3613.jpg If the Lakers had lost to New Orleans, it would have been bad. The comeback was their biggest in 10 years and brings the Lakers back to .500, but still out of the NBA playoffs.

Tanaka steps down as undersheriff to Baca

paul-tanaka-wla.jpg There hasn't been a stormier career lately in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department than that of Paul Tanaka. Today the department announced that Tanaka will step down as the number two sheriff's official and retire on August 1. He was reelected Tuesday to a third term as mayor of Gardena.

G-r-e-u-e-l still has a way to go with national media

nyt-greuel-typo.jpg The New York Times was right on top of the Los Angeles mayoral election results, but they still have problems with the name of finalist Wendy Greuel. They only left out one letter.

Garcetti finishes first, then Greuel and James - runoffs ahead*

greuel-300-tight.jpg The vote counting in Tuesday's City of Los Angeles primary election provided no real surprises. Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel will face off in a May 21 runoff for mayor, as every poll said that they would. There will be runoffs in the other citywide races, and in at least two City Council districts.

County-USC Medical Center may add 150 more hospital beds

county-usc-medctr-new-lao.jpg The Board of Supervisors gave the go-ahead Tuesday for expansion of the new medical center that opened in 2008. Details such as when and exactly where remain to be decided.

Yahoo Sports: Downtown stadium 'essentially dead'

Thumbnail image for farmers-field-overview.jpg Mayor Villaraigosa "missed signals" from the NFL indicating problems with the AEG stadium plan, says a Yahoo football writer. "The problems with the plan are numerous, but the most essential one is the economics."

Morning Buzz and Campaign 2013: Election Day 3.5.13

wacky-mailers-2013.jpg Scrambles and shenanigans in the final days, the wackiest mailers, Kathy Riordan told to resign from Animal Services commission, uproar at Caltech and Studio City's hot public school, Muslim Girl in OC gets her column back and TMZ wants to hire a managing editor: "it’s not brain surgery."

Woe to the commuters of Coldwater Canyon

coldwater-closed-dwp.jpg For a month starting on March 23, the main canyon road connecting the Valley with Beverly Hills will be closed during the day. Coldwater Canyon Avenue needs to be dug up to replace the main water line installed during the William Mulholland era with a new trunk line.

Photographer pays homage to Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Madonna in Hand-jimson.jpg February was Madonna month at East of West LA, the blog of photographer Kevin McCollister. "Because both the devotion to and the prevalence of the Virgin of Guadalupe seems to be under-appreciated in this town," he writes.

18 more slaughtered in Mexico, including an editor

el-universal-grab.jpg In Chihuahua, the state that borders Texas and New Mexico, gunmen on Sunday murdered Jaime Guadalupe González, the editor of Ojinaga Noticias, an online newspaper. The site posted a notice that it has suspended publication.

Morning Buzz and Campaign 2013 for Monday 3.4.13

jessica-chastain-zero.jpg A Republican to run against Brown, Villaraigosa gets no votes for governor, where the mayoral candidates will be today — think transit lines and Diddy Riese again — plus John and Ken take New York, Nikki Finke catches Vanity Fair deleting a story dismissive of Jessica Chastain, and Coldwater Canyon to close.

5 broken things about LA for the next mayor to fix

pershing-square-garage-sign.jpg Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne observes that the candidates for mayor have been short on future vision for the city. That's too bad, he writes in a front-page critic's notebook, since there are "some major holes in the civic fabric." It all starts with the mess that is LAX.

Bobby Rogers, original member of the Miracles was 73

Bobby Rogers shared a birthday with Smokey Robinson and they began singing together at Detroit's Northern High School. Their group, The Matadors, changed its name to The Miracles after Rogers' cousin, Claudette Rogers, joined. They became the first Motown Records success.

Blog comments embraced as art, sort of

comments-screenshot-eastsider.jpg Jesus Sanchez, the creator and editor of the blog The Eastsider LA, will hold a public reading — by actors — of selected comments from his blog next Saturday at Taix. It's a performance and a meetup and a fundraiser.

John Brooks retiring after 34 years at KNX-KFWB

john-brooks-fb.jpg Another long-time Los Angeles broadcast presence is leaving the airwaves. I'm told Brooks will be retiring on March 15.

Time travel: Car racing on Wilshire Boulevard (video)

wilshire-races-crash-grab.jpg From 1909 until 1919, a big winter road race was held in Santa Monica that attracted top drivers and thousands of spectators. Former Huell Howser producer Harry Pallenberg is posting a series of video documentaries on SoCal's racing history, and right now his website features the Wilshire Boulevard races.

Westside stench returns and the Pacific is blamed

marina-peninsula-beach.jpg Residents along the beach in Santa Monica and Venice complained early Sunday of a foul smell that seemed to be coming from the ocean. Readings on the water detected higher than typical amounts of odorless methane, so go figure.

Stanley Cup the top LA sports moment of 2012

Thumbnail image for dustin-brown-family-cup.jpg This could not be a surprise. Over at the Beverly Hilton tonight, the Los Angeles Sports Council named the LA Kings' Stanley Cup win last June the top local sports moment of 2012. Jonathan Quick was named the sportsman of the year, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings the sportswomen of the year.

405 northbound lanes opened early Sunday

405-work-buildings.jpg Metro, the agency in charge of the massive 405 freeway upgrade and widening project, announced that the weekend work was completed 29 hours early. It went to so well that no full shutdown of the northbound freeway was required, as originally threatened.

Campaign weekend: Waffles, tacos and churches

greuel-huizar-guisados.jpg Front-runners Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel got out early Sunday and took the campaign for mayor to the streets. Unlike Saturday, at least a few TV cameras followed along — and LA Observed too.

Mother of City Attorney Carmen Trutanich dies

Trutanich, who is running for reelection in Tuesday's election, has suspended campaign activities. His mother, Esther, died this afternoon at San Pedro Hospital from complications involving pneumonia.

Love at second sight: A man and his vulture (video)

man-and-his-vulture.jpg A bird named Apollo has got a serious turkey vulture crush on a bearded, soft-spoken Los Angeles County animal keeper named Dave Stives. Check it out.

Santa Barbara anchor's issue was medical, family says

I only report this to finish the thought from earlier in the week. Paula Lopez, the news anchor at KEYT in Santa Barbara who was reported missing for several hours on Wednesday, was "experiencing a medical condition" that day, her family said in a statement.

Morning Buzz and campaign news: Friday 3.1.13

Joe-Mathews-with-his-L.A.-City-ballot.jpg SpaceX capsule in trouble, digital billboards ruling, California's dry winter, mayoral candidates and Hollywood, Pleitez still running, LA invites South Pasadena journo to vote, 99 essential LA restaurants and more.

Photo: John North's last presser?

north-last-day-shallman.jpg Channel 7 political reporter John North talks with John Shallman, senior strategist for the Wendy Greuel campaign, at Greuel's Van Nuys headquarters on Thursday. North is scheduled to retire from ABC 7 on Friday after 34 years.

Susan Orlean writing a book about Central Library

central-library-up.jpg Author and New Yorker writer Susan Orlean has a deal with Simon & Schuster to write a nonfiction book about urban libraries, based around the Los Angeles Public Library downtown. Apparently her starting point is the 1986 fire.

Hidden LA sues Los Angeles Magazine over name *

hidden-la-page-grab.jpg Two years ago, when Los Angeles magazine themed its February special issue the "Hidden LA" issue without credit, W. Lynn Garrett wasn't amused. When it happened again this year, the founder of the wildly popular Hidden Los Angeles Facebook community and website sued in federal court.
Clinton fundraises in LA
kermit-la-brea-closer.jpg Jim Henson Studios on La Brea became a presidential campaign stop on Thursday.
Brown declares disaster area
porter-ranch-sign.jpgThe natural gas leak above Porter Ranch now qualifies for various government actions. Story
Wet coyote
wet-coyote-vdt.jpgSpotted between the storms at Here in Malibu.
Performing arts with cheer
guys-dolls-kevin-parry.jpgDonna Perlmutter closes out 2015 with productions downtown and on the Westside.
Junkyard down
upick-firetruck-560.jpgAfter 53 years, Sun Valley's Aadlen Brothers and U-Pick Parts cleans out. Photos