We're introducing a new column today. Jon Christensen, probably familiar to many LA Observed readers as a respected journalist about California and the West, and most recently as the new editor of Boom: A Journal of California, approached me about writing regular observations about the environment and policy and related topics. His chops are more than solid and I've been wanting to add more issue-oriented voices. So it's a go. Jon will do the column with Mark Gold, the former longtime head of Heal the Bay and a colleague of his at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. Mark has more of the advocate in his blood — remember his debates about seafood and whale eating with his more media-famous brother Jonathan on the ethics of eating whale? — but they intend to be more analytical and journalistic than activist. They will write under a joint Christensen & Gold banner and byline. Their first column is about water and begins with an anecdotal reference to "Chinatown" and Hollis Mulwray. Good sign.
Like with all the LA Observed columns and blogs, and with the Native Intelligence contributions, I won't edit or approve (or disapprove) what they write. Most of the time, I'm unlikely to know what they have said until I read it online. That's the way LA Observed has always done things, and it's one reason why I'm pretty selective about who contributes in this space. The writers (and photographers) all respect that the LA Observed community comes well informed and expecting quality observation, news and insight that adds to what they know. The way we're set up is that all of the contributors are responsible for what they post, and most of them post without me having any role at all. I basically only get involved when someone needs tech help. Like Christensen and Gold, I have my own role at UCLA, but it stays separate from LA Observed. In fact, I'd be happy to take on a columnist or two from USC if it's the right fit. Call me.
Also noted: Ted Habte-Gabr, the creator of Live Talks Los Angeles, tells me the Malcolm Gladwell tickets he made available to LA Observed readers last week were grabbed up faster than any before. Faster even than the Phil Jackson book talk in June. Sounds like there will be a big crowd tonight at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple — the temple's newly unveiled restoration might be part of the draw.