LA Observed Notes: Catching up with media, politics and place

bobs-big-boy-lapl.jpgLA Landmarks Lost and Almost Lost is a new exhibit of photos from the collection at the Los Angeles Public Library opening Thursday at the Central Library. The show and a book are curated by Cindy Olnick of the library's Photo Friends. Valley Times photo.

Our occasional roundup of news and notes, with some catching up since I didn't post during the holiday week. Between posts, keep up with LA Observed on Twitter — with the feed's 24,411 other followers.

At the top

nyt-trumpjr-grab.jpgSwamp rats: Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort met in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin who was understood to be offering "compromising information about Hillary Clinton," the New York Times reports with help from multiple unnamed White House "advisers." After the story went up, Trump Jr. revised his earlier statement and confirmed the meeting and the offer of damaging info about Clinton.

Amy Pascal is back: Two years after being ousted as head of Sony's movie studio with a $40 million exit package, Amy Pascal is profiled by the New York Times: she "seems to have emerged stronger and happier, having reinvented herself as a producer through her company, Pascal Pictures...On a personal level, after a lot of soul-searching, some in a therapist’s office, she has tried to see the hack as freeing. After all, she has no more secrets." The writer, LA bureau staffer Brooks Barnes, says on Facebook, "Amy Pascal somehow found the strength to trudge forward after events that would have destroyed most of us. For that, many people now see her as a role model for dealing with adversity. She's definitely a survivor."

Yes, that Carl Reiner: Reiner wrote a piece for the NYT's Sunday opinion section advising Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy that he's too young to retire. Read if you wish

nadia-lockyer-kgo.jpgNadia Davis-Lockyer: Sad to report that the former Alameda County supervisor and current Los Angeles County homeless services official is in the news again. Alcohol is involved. Davis-Lockyer was arrested in the Sierra foothills, where she was on vacation with her husband Bill Lockyer, the former California Attorney General, and their three children. Tuolumne County sheriff’s deputies found Bill with a minor injury and Nadia with a blood-alcohol level of 0.22 percent. She was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor spousal abuse and released on $5,000 bail. Long Beach police had responded to the couple's home in March and she was briefly reported as missing. In June, she posted on Facebook that Bill Lockyer had been abusing her. Davis-Lockyer was confirmed in May to serve on the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Commission, appointed by Supervisor Janice Hahn.

Media notes

Journalists need to stop taking Trump's bait, former CNN chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin argues in an LA Times op-ed piece... Rachel Maddow is warning media colleagues that someone is circulating fake documents showing Donald Trump ties to Russia in an apparent bid to undermine the credibility of any outlet duped into reporting the story... A whole bunch of New York Times copy editors were encouraged last week to take buyouts and leave. The NYT is thinning the editor ranks and re-imagining how stories get published. Executive editor Dean Baquet explains some changes in the editing process... Hearst, for many decades a major player in LA newspapers and politics — why do you think Westlake Park was renamed MacArthur Park? — is doing just fine in the current media environment — and looking to acquire more print papers. The team includes former LA Times digital executive Rob Barrett. Ken Doctor analyzes.

The Los Angeles Times has a job opening posted for a western energy and environment reporter. But don't buy a house or sign a lease: The opening carries an unusual caveat for the Times or any big-city newspaper: "This is a temporary, five-month contract position aimed at producing signature work on an issue that has risen to the top of the national political agenda."... KCET is back with a new season of SoCal Connected this fall, and ahead of that is airing three specials on environmental topics, starting Tuesday at 8 p.m. KCET also released ratings numbers last week that it says show that, for the first time since leaving PBS six years ago, KCET was the top public broadcast station in SoCal in prime time last quarter.... Joe Pompeo filed his final Morning Media wrap-up for Politico before leaving for Vanity Fair. The newsletter is now in the hands of Hadas Gold... Months after its merger with Gizmodo Media Group, Fusion has changed its name to Splinter.

Here's where the LA Times newsroom will really feel the rumored move to Aon Center: parking at the 62-story tower on Wilshire and Hope is $265 monthly for an unreserved spot, $360 for an assigned space... Seen on Facebook: The new owners of the current LA Times building have shut down the rooftop basketball court used by staffers "because a ball went over the edge and down onto the street below."... Times culture columnist Carolina Miranda investigates and finds that LA is down to two actual porn theaters. Used to be many... Why does it seem like nobody cares about female athlete's concussions? In ESPN Magazine's body issue.

Catching up on some older notes: Sam Zell is out flacking his memoir and giving his revisionist history of how it wasn't him that screwed up everything he touched at Tribune... For $135,000 you can fly around the world with other rich people and selected New York Times journalists... A BBC story makes the case for not getting too excited about the hype trying to get you to watch a new TV show about Amelia Earhart... Jeffrey Toobin on what's behind the National Enquirer's sycophantic zeal for carrying Donald Trump's water... And everybody’s talking about KTLA reporter Wendy Burch getting puked on in Hermosa Beach on July 4.

California media beat

Speaking of the Hearsts... The Journal of Alta California is the latest attempt at a California-centric publication. It's billed as a quarterly magazine and it's coming from William R. Hearst III. It's got the beginnings of a website up and a Kickstarter page with scant activity thus far. "Relying on the best writers, photographers and artists the state has to offer, Alta will bring to the stories from the Pacific coastline to the fields of the Inland Empire, and from the redwoods in the north to the desert in the south—and everything in between. Hollywood. Silicon Valley. Sacramento. The farmland. The forests. The rocky shores and sandy beaches. Alta will chronicle it all."

Well. Other good efforts have come and gone, so we'll see. First it will have to shake the Bay Area centrism baked into so many of the past tries at a pan-California publication. First issue in the fall, says a press release.

Meanwhile, CalMatters is doing well after two years and has plans for more collaboration and growth, according to a Nieman Lab piece... Zocalo's Joe Mathews has posted a letter to America from California... Fresno County's agricultural commissioner said that an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 livestock died in June's Central Valley heat wave. So many dead cattle are piling up that Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties declared a state of emergency and gave dairies permission to bury or compost cattle carcasses on site. Per CBS and AP... News that a second gray wolf pack has established itself in far Northern California was cheered by many, but met with scorn by some ranchers. The Bee's Dale Kasler looks at the complications.

Some notes: The family-owned Antelope Valley Press has been sold to a new owner led by a Canadian newspaper executive...The Signal in Santa Clarita is looking for two weekend reporters... The Bakersfield Californian has an opening for editor of its Tehachapi News.

Media people doing stuff

Rick Wartzman, the former LA Times and Wall Street Journal reporter and editor who now directs the Center for a Functioning Society at the Drucker Institute, was on Fresh Air with Terry Gross talking about his new book, "The End of Loyalty: The Rise and Fall of Good Jobs in America."... LA Times editorial page editor Nick Goldberg discussed the Times' new book on Trump on Frank Buckley's KTLA podcast... Venice-based politics writer Ron Brownstein is launching a new CNN column on demographic, cultural and economic changes dividing America... Real estate beat reporter Daina Beth Solomon has left the LA Business Journal and says she will start with Reuters later this summer in Mexico City. She was just named a SoCal Journalist of the Year by the LA Press Club... Climate writer Eric Holthaus is joining Grist as a contributing writer and moving from Tucson to Minnesota... The Rev. John H. Taylor, who was consecrated Saturday as the Episcopal bishop for Southern California, is the son of the late LA Times features editor Jean Sharley Taylor... Lesley Balla puts five questions to chef Ludo Lefebvre for Modern Luxury

caltrans-sign-dont-cross.jpgGood story in LAT: There's only one Caltrans sign left warning motorists to beware of migrant families running across freeway lanes near the Mexican border. The signs, first posted on I-5 in 1990 when more than 100 were killed annually trying to run across freeways, were inspired by images from then-LA Times photographer Don Bartletti and created by graphic artist John Hood. A median fence and big drop in illegal border crossings rendered the signs less necessary.

Catching up: The Los Angeles Times won a Loeb Award for beat reporting for “Big Money, Unlikely Donors," by David Zahniser, Emily Alpert Reyes, Joe Fox, and Len De Groot... The Wrap's Sharon Waxman described, with a not-hidden sense of outrage, the details of the groping she got from TSA agents at an airport checkpoint... Greg Hernandez has left Gay Star News, where he was the U.S. correspondent for five-plus years, to join the communications staff of the Los Angeles LGBT Center... Former LA Times photographer Barbara Davidson was recently hired by Volvo Cars to make street photographs using the safety camera built into their cars. “I think the car camera has incredible artistic potential,” she says... Former LA Times and Zocalo journalist Jia-Rui Cook wrote (for the New York Times) about what it was like inadvertently giving birth to her baby in her car.

Media obituary: Debbie Laiche, a retired veteran of the Los Angeles Times composing room and color lab, died at age 65.

A word about Patton Oswalt

patton-oswalt-fb-profile.jpgMany know that the LA comic actor Patton Oswalt lost his wife suddenly in 2016. He has spoken publicly and emotionally about her death and becoming a single father. Oswalt announced last week that he has become engaged to actor Meredith Salenger. All fine, except that on social media some people with opinions object to Oswalt finding love again. This prompted Erica Roman, a Florida blogger, to pen an angry retort she calls A Widow’s Rage Defense of Patton Oswalt’s Engagement. Sample:

So, my dear ignorant, judgmental, assholes, this one is for you.

You aren’t entitled to an opinion. You don’t get to comment on the choices of a widower while you sit happily next to your own living spouse. You didn’t have to stand and watch your mundane morning turn into your absolute worst nightmare. You didn’t have to face the agony of despair and the only person who could possibly bring you comfort had been ripped from your life forever. You didn’t have to stand in the ashes of what was once your life, when the sun itself darkened and the very air you breathed felt toxic in your lungs. Go back to scrolling Facebook and keep your ignorance to yourself.

Oswalt thanked her on Facebook. "This is so amazing. And SO well-written. I expected some bitter grub worms to weigh in (anonymously, always always always) with their much-needed opinions when I announced my engagement last week. And I decided to ignore them. But yeah, I felt this rage. And Erica articulated it better than I could have ever hoped. So there you go. Thank you, Erica."

A few politics notes

At age 78, and after 25 years in the House, the NYT says Rep. Maxine Waters is enjoying "an odd new celebrity" because of her barbs directed at President Trump.

Two longtime LA County sheriff's officials have said they will run next year against the incumbent Sheriff Jim McDonnell. The latest is retired commander Bob Lindsey; current Lt. Alex Villanueva previously announced. Both sound opposed to the post-Lee Baca reforms that McDonnell brought in from the outside.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck contends that the rise in crime stats is leveling off and he expressed optimism that crime would actually begin to drop again.

LA Times columnist Robin Abcarian gives a sympathetic ear to a small Westside development dispute over plans to build apartments where Pico, Gateway and Exposition Blvd. come together — and that would claim the taco restaurant Tacomiendo.

State Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León talked with Conan Nolan on NBC4's News Conference Sunday about the $100 million targeted for revitalizing the Los Angeles River.

City Controller Ron Galperin posted on Facebook the news that his father, Levi Isaac Galperin, died at age 96. "My father was a survivor of the Holocaust, served in the Israeli army, was an opera singer, a Cantor, a Rabbi, a hospital chaplain, a PhD in music, a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Over the course of nearly a century, my father witnessed a fast-changing world from his roots in Iasi, Romania to the City of Los Angeles -- which became his home." Full post


Violinist Ginger Smock was a critical figure in the development of the Los Angeles jazz scene and a trailblazing leader for female musicians in the male-dominated music industry of the 1940s and 1950s. - National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Falcon Theatre in Burbank, founded by the late director Garry Marshall, will be renamed the Garry Marshall Theatre - American Theatre

D. J. Waldie on "how Angelenos invented the L.A. summer" - LA Times op-ed

styles-ville-shop-ladn-hg.jpgStyles Ville Barber Shop, the oldest black-owned business in Pacoima, celebrates 60 years - Daily News

Haim, the musical sisters from the Valley, get a feature inside the New York Times.

Remembering the Los Angeles Sports Arena: One Year after a Cultural Icon’s Demolition - Sport in American History

Inside the unreal celebrity life of Hunter Greene, a 17-year-old baseball prodigy from Stevenson Ranch who’s expected to save America’s pastime from itself - B-R Mag

Selected tweets

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