Talking Points

Helping in Houston, new lion cubs, Garcetti's back

p59-p60-nps.jpgP-59 and P-60 were found in the Santa Monicas earlier this month.

A semi-regular bite at the day's news and observations. Previous Bullet Points. All of our media posts in one place.

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1. On the ground in Houston
The former hurricane Harvey has now dropped a record 50+ inches of rain on the Houston area, with more still to come and concerns about levees and dams. It's an astounding regional humanitarian disaster affecting millions of people. Task forces from both the Los Angeles city and county fire departments are on hand to help with rescue and relief efforts.

I gave a shout out to the LA teams in Houston in Monday's LA Observed segment on KCRW. It's been a shining several days for journalists showing their crucial value to society in moments like this, while facing their own personal and family crises. Only the creepiest of partisans doesn't get it. Here's a couple of Twitter call outs to LA reporters doing good work in Texas.

The LA Times joined other media outlets around the country in waiving the paywall on Harvey coverage. Some stunning photos and good stories on the LAT's coverage landing page.

2. Meet P-59 and P-60
p59-p60-b.jpgThe newest Santa Monica Mountains cougar cubs were found and tagged at a den on August 14. P-59 is female, P-60 is male. The National Park Service says the cubs were born to P-53, who is now believed to be the youngest female in the local mountain lion study to bear offspring. She is about two years old and is the lion who turned up, unexpected, as a chirping kitten in 2015 at a kill in the mountain range. She is the last of her litter to survive.

Researchers strongly suspect that DNA testing will prove that P-12 fathered the new cubs. He is the male who is the only lion known to have crossed the 101 freeway from the north and entered the Santa Monica Mountains. P-12 brought new genetic material into the local colony but has now mated repeatedly with lions in his bloodline.

“If P-12 is in fact these kittens’ father, that also means he’s their grandfather, their great grandfather, and their great-great grandfather,” said Jeff Sikich, a biologist with Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. “Inbreeding to this degree really highlights the need for providing safe passage across the 101 freeway so new mountain lions can enter the population and breed.”

More photos

3. Garcetti is back from New Hampshire
As we reported ahead of time, Mayor Eric Garcetti appeared at a cocktail reception in the Hamptons then headed to New Hampshire to support a Democratic candidate for mayor in Manchester. Just by showing up, Garcetti is credited with kicking off the 2020 presidential campaign for Democrats.


Just like that, the 2020 retail campaigning for president began right here in a strip-mall campaign headquarters Monday, when Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti showed up for what he called “the most important race in the country.”


There’s still enough hesitation about getting out there that Garcetti is the only prospective 2020er who’s come to campaign for Craig, and even he insists that this is all coincidence. He was on a family vacation in the Berkshires, and just happened to throw in a cocktail reception in the Hamptons at billionaire Ron Perelman’s along the way, so why not head an hour up the interstate from Boston to throw in for the only campaign outside of his own that he’s gotten involved in this year....

“You can curl up in a corner and cry, you can yell at the Twitter feed on your phone, or you can do something,” he said, rationalizing what he says is his focus on local races at an event where he was already working the line cooks, speaking in Spanish. Leaning into his Mexican heritage, he made a corny joke as only a stumping politician can — “A Mexican restaurant? You had me at hello — or hola.”

“Right now it’s on mayors to set an agenda for the country,” Garcetti said. “In the past, it used to be on Washington to save cities. Now it’s on cities to save Washington.”

The mayor's made a couple of public appearances in Los Angeles on Tuesday and on Wednesday he heads to Sacramento for a 10 a.m. presser on affordable housing.

4. LA Times newsroom love for Megan Garvey
When Tronc cleaned house of the top masthead editors of the Los Angeles Times recently, many in the newsroom were stunned that those invited to leave included Megan Garvey, the deputy managing editor who led the website and digital staff. Fans in the newsroom and beyond are posting glowing testimonials by name on a pop-up website. The posters include reporters, web producers and data analysts lauding Garvey's leadership of the LAT's digital transformation and younger journalists who value her as a mentor.

"Megan, thank you for being an innovator and for your leadership. You are a brilliant journalist and will be sorely missed,” writes politics editor Christina Bellantoni. "People who were paying attention knew that you have been the linchpin of the L.A. Times digital efforts for the last decade. And it’s not even close," said former staffer Martin Beck. Nicco Mele, the former deputy publisher at the Times who now directs the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, posted: "Megan is a magnet for talent, identifying and attracting exceptional people and bringing out their best work. Just look at the team she built, and they work they did together: that is the definition of leadership.”

Two more names stand out. Shelby Grad is the assistant managing editor for all Metro and California news, and himself the subject of a newsroom outpouring of support that may have played a role in the exit of top editor Davan Maharaj: "She led The Times digital transformation, building a newsroom that put the web first while maintaining the principals and ambition that makes the newspaper special. Her innovation, hard work and high standards are built into this place.”

Former managing editor S. Mitra Kalita, now a top digital executive at CNN after a brief stint at the LAT, also weighs in: "She’s a doer, walks the talk and embodies what newsrooms need more of: honesty, compassion, methodical yet nimble thinking, a willingness to dip into code or headlines to get the job done. I was honored to work alongside her, and am saddened by what the LAT lost.”

5. A few media notes
Speaking of Bellantoni, I missed her first-person Health piece earlier this month on the challenges of breastfeeding at work in the Times newsroom (and elsewhere.)... A federal judge threw out Sarah Palin's defamation lawsuit over a factual mistake in a New York Times editorial about her. Zero evidence of malice, the judge said in a ruling that confirmed the value of "rowdy" political journalism... PBS SoCal will air on Sept. 8 the premiere of "Tyrus Wong: American Masters," on the art, life and enduring impact of the Los Angeles artist who died last December at age 106.... Former LA Times editor-reporter and San Bernardino Sun columnist Wesley Hughes died at age 88... LA’s Comedy Softball League plays at Penmar Recreation Center in Venice. The season begins anew in September.

6. Pink blobs of Echo Park Lake
pink-blobs-echo-park-lake-eastsider.jpgThe Eastsider explains the mystery.
The pink lotus blossoms at Echo Park Lake have pretty much faded from view. But there’s another bright pink sight that can be found all over the lake: apple snail egg sacks.

The bubble-gum colored blobs have multiplied in recent weeks, attaching themselves to the lake’s concrete retaining walls, rocks and aquatic plants.

The blobs first showed up in mass in 2013 shortly after the lake was refilled following a two-year-long renovation and cleanup project....

7. Selected tweets

More by Kevin Roderick:
'In on merit' at USC
Read the memo: LA Times hires again
Read the memo: LA Times losing big on search traffic
Google taking over LA's deadest shopping mall
Gustavo Arellano, many others join LA Times staff
Recent Talking Points stories on LA Observed:
Nate 'n Al's in play, sexual abuse of swimmers, cougar kills horse
Media notes: LA Weekly massacre, more bad men, LAT editor and Trump
Pacific News Service RIP. NY Times profiles a Nazi. Good reads.
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
Exits from the Daily News and LAT, mom dress code for Hollywood, more notes
Biggest Los Angeles brush fire was actually in 1938. And more.
Helping in Houston, new lion cubs, Garcetti's back
Garcetti has weekend date in the Hamptons