LA Observed Notes: Let's call it a year

Sutter Brown, the most popular corgi in Sacramento, died on Friday. More below.

At the top

LA crime stats: The rise in city of Los Angeles homicides and overall violent crime continued for a third straight year, the LAPD says in its first look at 2016 stats. The decade-plus of declining crime rates is no longer the story in Los Angeles: homicide up 5 percent over last year, violent crime up 10 percent, robbery up 13 percent, aggravated assault up 10 percent. LA Times

reynolds-fisher-sagawards.jpgHollywood nobility: Debbie Reynolds' film credits began in 1948 with "June Bride." By now you know that Carrie Fisher died on Tuesday at UCLA, after a heart attack, and Reynolds on Wednesday at Cedars-Sinai, after a stroke while discussing funeral plans for her daughter. Todd Fisher, Carrie's brother, said Friday they will have a private single funeral and be buried together at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. No date has been set. HBO says it will debut a new documentary, “Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds,” on Jan. 7.

Media notes

Shocker from Ken Doctor at Politico: the Washington Post intends to add as many as 60 journalist jobs early next year, among them breaking news and rapid-response investigative teams and more creators of video for phones. The business side has realized that deep enterprise and investigations are good for the bottom line, especially in a Trump era in which there could be higher demand for top quality journalism.

Washington Post reporter David Farenthold, who broke stories about Donald Trump's charities not giving money away as promised, is one of the main reasons that Trump makes up stuff to undercut the credibility of newspaper journalists. Farenthold goes first-person and behind the scenes of his accidental year on the Trump beat... Media observer Jay Rosen: "The love and appreciation for @Fahrenthold that gets expressed on Twitter resembles nothing I have seen. From journalists and readers alike."

Mitra Kalita on 2016 and the future, for Poynter: "I started out as a managing editor of the L.A. Times. I end it as a vice president at CNN....My main journalistic lesson of 2016 is to brace for massive upheaval and redefinition. What we’ve just seen — the election, fake news, red feeds, blue feeds, mistrust, niche sites, the so-called end of the mainstream — have implications for all of us in the fourth estate."

The New York Times on the Boyle Heights Beat, "A bilingual newspaper written largely by teenagers from the Boyle Heights neighborhood on the east side of Los Angeles... The paper was founded in 2011 by Michelle Levander, the director of the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, and Pedro Rojas, former executive editor of the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinión, as a means of teaching young people about reporting. With financial support from the California Endowment and from private nonprofit sources, the website and the free quarterly print edition with a circulation of 33,000 is the only publication focused exclusively on Boyle Heights."

Random media notes: The Los Angeles Times posted its obituary Thursday on John Chelew, the former concert booker at McCabe's and a Grammy-winning producer. He died Dec. 19... Year-end note to the newsroom from BuzzFeed EIC Ben Smith... Diane Rehm, "a mainstay of civil discourse," signs off public radio... The Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Group acquired the Spin, Vibe and Stereogum brands... Pasadena-based investigative journalism site Fair Warning is looking for tax-deductible support as the year ends. Check it out... Diginet is adding a Sally Field sitcom from 1973-74, The Girl With Something Extra, in which former LA news figure and Rose Parade host Stephanie Edwards costars. Teri Garr was also in four episodes and Farrah Fawcett in one. Next episode airs Jan 3... Ten years ago this month, ex-LA Times staffer Daniel Hernandez critiqued the paper's attempts to up its game reporting on, and by, Latinos: "The L.A. Times still stumbles when it tries to cover Latino-specific stories in a city that gets browner and younger every day." It ran in the LA Weekly.

Obituary: Judi Erickson, former city editor at the LA Daily News, and later a staffer at BizFed, died at her home in Kentucky. She was 53. Obit by Gregory Wilcox in the DN.

Bests of 2016

The LA Times' three-part Oxycontin investigation made FiveThirtyEight's Damn, We Wish We’d Written These 11 Stories list... The editors of the LA Review of Books have compiled "by theme the LARB interviews, essays, and reviews you most gravitated toward." The review is running a December matching donation campaign... Los Angeles Magazine's year in review.

LA photojournalists too: Monica Almeida makes the New York Times photo year in review for her image of a Muslim prom queen in Fontana. Jonathan Alcorn makes the Washington Post best of 2016 with an image of burned trees at the Blue Cut wildfire near Wrightwood, and also posts his own nine favorite Instagram photos.

Media people doing stuff

elizabeth-chou--twitter.jpgElizabeth Chou (right) is the new LA Daily News reporter at City Hall, a few steps down the third-floor press row from her old digs at City News Service. She is also secretary of the AAJA-LA chapter... Brooke Binkowski, the managing editor of and former SoCal radio reporter, is featured in a New York Times piece on the web fact-checking site that looks poised to grow in importance during the Trump years. Snopes in its very early days was known as the San Fernando Valley Folklore Society and then mostly debunked urban legends.... Recently formered Fox 11 anchor Jeff Michael is now with the CBS LA duopoly: "I'll be on @cbs2kcal9 here and there. Amazing news operation. My privilege to join them."... LA Observed graduate Jacob Soboroff has been anchoring the news this week on MSNBC.... Stephanie Bluestein, a journalism professor at California State Northridge, takes over Jan. 1 as president of the Society of Professional Journalists chapter in LA. Christina Cocca, lead editor of news curation at BuzzFeed, becomes vice president.... Xeni Jardin of BoingBoing and KCRW tweets the great news from a room at Cedars-Sinai: "Hospital coffee actually tastes amazing when your surgeon tells you no detectable cancer go forth and live plz"... LA-based writer Scott Timberg quotes LA music publicist Cary Baker in a piece on people suffering from Trumpsomnia... Mel editor Serena Golden gives some real-world Twitter advice to freelancers: "I love your pitches but I do not love receiving them the week between Christmas and New Year's so please have mercy and hold your fire"... LA Times ace war photographer Carolyn Cole is picking up a new skill on holiday: underwater photography... LAT columnist David Lazarus guest-hosted this week on KABC radio... LAT reporter Hector Becerra was quoted in the Guardian's story Hollywood’s hidden Hispanics: why LA’s Latinos are invisible on screen

And finally: Ken Gurnick, the dean (I think) of Dodgers beat writers, revisits what it was like observing the swan song of Vin Scully. He includes this LAFD video I had not seen of the Van Nuys Airport reception for Scully, returning in October from San Francisco following his final game.

Politics and government notes

It's been more than three decades since Bill Boyarsky pioneered linking campaign contribution to votes by the LA City Council — and nothing has really changed. The latest LA Times reporter on the case, David Zahniser, explained in a Wednesday piece that real estate developer Rick Caruso and people around him have donated more than $476,000 to city officials and their pet causes in the last five years. "Now, Caruso wants [Mayor] Garcetti and the council to approve a 20-story residential tower on La Cienega Boulevard, on a site where new buildings are currently limited to a height of 45 feet." Such conflicts at City Hall go way beyond Caruso, and Garcetti gives the standard LA politico line: Development decisions at City Hall are “absolutely separate” from contributions: “Projects should be assessed on their merits and nothing else.” Yes, they should be... Councilman Paul Koretz went out to the site Thursday to say he no longer supports the project. Opponents also got some media coverage.

Lamest idea of the decade?: Sell naming rights to Metro stations. I didn't think there could be a more provincial civic trend in LA than naming so many freeways and obscure intersections for people who happened to die in the last 20 years, but this might be it. LAT transpo reporter Laura Nelson surveys the topic.

connie-llanos-courtesy.jpgGarcetti press secretary Connie Llanos (right) is leaving to do strategic communications and public outreach here for Airbnb, joining former Villaraigosa aide John Choi. Airbnb has political fires here and elsewhere but Llanos says she won't be lobbying City Hall. The firm's registered lobbyist is Arnie Berghoff. Llanos previously worked for City Council members Curren Price, Tony Cárdenas and Felipe Fuentes and the mayoral campaign of Wendy Greuel. Before that she was a Daily News reporter... Llanos' replacement is George Kivork, one of City Hall's reps in Washington.

alejandra-campoverdi-campaig.jpgThe crowded field in the 34th congressional district picked up an LA media person over the holidays: Alejandra Campoverdi, the former Obama White House aide who was managing editor of EmergingUS, the LA Times-affiliated site created by immigration advocate Jose Antonio Vargas. She came to the LAT as director of video initiatives and also briefly was director of multicultural content. She went to school in Santa Monica, has degrees from USC Annenberg and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and lives downtown. Intro video

More transitions: Coastal commissioner Wendy Mitchell, part of the bloc that voted to oust executive director Charles Lester this year, resigned Friday. A new audit critical of the commission came out Friday from the state Department of Finance... Juan Rodriguez, the campaign manager for the winning Kamala Harris for Senate campaign, will open and run a new Los Angeles office for SCN Strategies, the consultancy founded by Ace Smith, Sean Clegg and Dan Newman. The former Villaraigosa intern, 31, gets some ink from The Bee... Former Republican lieutenant governor and San Fernando Valley congressman Ed Reinecke died at age 92... The LA city planning department is hiring for two new positions: public information officer and public relations specialist. The filing period closes Jan. 13.

Add politics notes: Gail Kennard, VP of the city's cultural heritage commission, argues that the City Council should preserve Parker Center, the derelict former LAPD headquarters. It's “not an easy building to love,” she acknowledges, but the commission voted unanimously to grant monument status. The building's fate is with the council.... Councilman Mitch O'Farrell tries to explain his proposal to make child play areas in city parks off-limits to adults who aren't with a child... The New York Times examines whether the 405 modernization price tag of $1.6 billion was worth it. My take: Don't know, but as a daily user the traffic experience on and especially around the freeway is better. Everything being relative... The Pomona City Council is entirely Latino for the first time... Patricia Krenwinkel, the one-time follower of Charles Manson who is California's longest-serving female inmate, appeared Thursday before a parole board. She has been denied 13 times previously. No change is expected. At the Sharon Tate house In 1969, she stabbed Abigail Ann Folger to death and the next night in Loz Feliz helped to kill Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. No decision was reached... New California laws for 2017: LAT, DN.

California vs Donald Trump: Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado met with Trump in Florida about becoming secretary of agriculture... Rep. Adam Schiff, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, says the Russian cyber intrusion on behalf of Trump's election "was utterly unprecedented"... As Americans cluster by cultural preferences as well as politics, the NYT found that popularity of "Duck Dynasty" was a better indicator of Trump support than was a vote for George Bush in 2000... White supremacist leader William Daniel Johnson, who resigned under pressure from Trump's slate of convention delegates, was until last year a member in good standing and officer of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California. Now the organization is reeling over it... Radio host Hugh Hewitt interviewed incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer about their mutual hopes for a hard conservative Trump administration. Transcript... Former LA Times and Daily News columnist Tim Rutten blogs that The Right’s Hatred of California Is Really Fear of a Future that Already Is Working... Matthew Yglesias of Vox: "Trump has lied enough times about enough things that journalists should know better than to take his tweets at face value"... The LA Weekly offers up 10 Ways to Fight a Trump Presidency in Liberal California

And this was posted Friday by the governor's office on behalf of Jerry Brown and Anne Gust:

Random notes

Tennis great Serena Williams announced on Reddit her engagement to the service's co-founder, Alexis Ohanian... Phil Jackson and Jeanie Buss used Twitter to announce the end of their engagement this week: His, Hers. The president of the Lakers adds: "The love of my life is the Los Angeles Lakers. I love Phil & will always. It's not fair to him or Lakers to not have my undivided attention"... greta-gerwig-abbie-a24.jpgIn the new Michael Mills film "20th Century Women," Greta Gerwig's character works for a time as a photographer at the Santa Barbara News Press, circa 1970s. LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who was still a working actor herself in the 70s, took in the Oscar-buzz movie's premier showing Tuesday evening at The Landmark on Pico... A state court of appeal upheld a 2012 award of $150,000 to Burbank police detective Steve Karagiosian, who was targeted for discrimination and harassment as an Armenian American.... Nice in the WSJ: "The rise of Los Angeles-based saxophonist Kamasi Washington was easily the biggest jazz story of the past 18 months."... Press release of the day: "The Los Angeles Dodgers and Live Nation will make a major concert announcement on Thursday, January 5"... Susan Wolfe-Devol, the first female Luthern pastor in Orange County, died at age 61. She was married to longtime LA Times editor Steve Devol.

Carnegie_deli_exterior.JPGA message from the Langer family: "We mourn the closure of Carnegie Delicatessen. Langer's Delicatessen-Restaurant is saddened by the impending closure of Carnegie Delicatessen & Restaurant, a true legend in this business. New York - and the world - are much poorer for their passing."


The nightmarish holiday season at Los Angeles International Airport may be an indicator of what’s ahead for LAX. LA Times

The LA hood where Snapchat millionaires will snap up houses post-IPO. Hollywood Reporter

Bringing back the United Artists Theatre, now known as The Theatre at Ace Hotel. KCRW

Buildings at Bodie State Historic Park in Mono County suffered damage from a trio of magnitude 5+ earthquakes this week. The ghost town will be closed temporarily. Bay Area News Group

Anticipating the Marciano Art Foundation in the Millard Sheets-designed former Scottish Rite Temple on Wilshire Boulevard's Park Mile. LA Times

The Top 25 Most Instagrammed Art Spaces of 2016 include some LA favorites. The Creators Project

Truck crashes on the adjacent 210 freeway make the Gold Line a "catastrophe waiting to happen," Neal Broverman says at Los Angeles Magazine

hill-street-tunnel-demo.jpgThe year in review for the LAPL photo collection from its senior librarian Christina Rice, herself the author of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood's Forgotten Rebel, includes this slide image of the Hill Street tunnel downtown being demolished in 1955.

A good behind-the-scenes story on how emergency room doctor Sujal Mandavia came to save a life in his season ticket section during an LA Kings game at Staples Center. Emergency Physicians Monthly

A century of El Segundo: Five surprising ways the coastal city has made its mark on the Southland. KCET

The 14 best Mom and Pop bookstores in LA, apparently defining M&P as pretty much anything except Barnes & Noble. Los Angeles Magazine

A Hawthorne raccoon family observed on Periscope

Reminder: the Rose Parade is on Monday, Jan. 2 and the route through Pasadena will begin closing early that morning. Map and details from the city of Pasadena

Staples Center will unveil a statue of Shaquille O'Neal on March 24.

Why Sting’s son has gone in search of the new Messi to launch City of Angels FC. The Guardian

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