LA Observed Notes: Trump's new war, media notes and more

cartonlandia.jpgCartonlandia, a sculpture by Ana Serrano at the Craft and Folk Art Museum on Wilshire.

Our occasional roundup of news and notes, from media sources and our in-box. As always, between posts you can keep up with LA Observed on Twitter — now with 24,523 followers.

How's it going in Donald Trump's America?

Let's see. Last week North Korea said Trump's verbal insults about that nation's leader makes a missile strike on the U.S. mainland "inevitable." The president called the Russia cyber allegations being investigated by Congress, the FBI, a federal grand jury, Facebook and Robert Mueller all a "hoax." He picked a fight with African American players in the NBA, and he used a nearly all-white rally in Alabama to call on the NFL to fire any "son of a bitch" who kneels during the national anthem. He's now expressed more personal anger against peaceful black NFL players than against the Nazi creeps who rioted in Charlottesville.

The NFL already had some potentially very bad news circulating after the brain of the late player Aaron Hernandez was found to have advanced CTE. At least Trump managed to change the conversation again — except that he (scientist and deep thinker that he is) dismissed the risk of concussion as a real thing. Not even the NFL can afford to do that any more.

Trump's slam at NFL players who protest drew some strong reactions. "Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players," said the commissioner Roger Goodell. "Insulting and disgraceful," said former commissioner Paul Tagliabue. "A pathetic lack of leadership," wrote USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan. LA Rams owner Stan Kroenke is a major Trump donor, as are other team owners, but he issued a statement saying the team will continue to support players' freedom to peacefully express themselves.

Around the league, as you'd expect, many more players took the knee during the anthem this weekend. So too did the anthem singer at Detroit, WNBA players, an entire high school team in Seattle, Stevie Wonder and Oakland A's catcher Bruce Maxwell. Fox News Channel's Trump yes man in chief Sean Hannity tweeted that he won't be watching the NFL any more, but even the former governor Jesse Ventura blasted Trump.

The president's slam at NBA players appears to be a tantrum over star Steph Curry rejecting the invitation extended to chanmpions to visit the White House. LeBron James in a tweet called Trump a "bum" and said "Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!" Kobe Bryant also weighed in:

Political analyst Ron Brownstein explained on Twitter that the "point of this fight is not very hard to find - more signaling to white racial resentment, which has been central to Trump message from day 1." "Other than white, straight, Christian men, it's hard to think of a group President Trump hasn't offended or attacked as a candidate or in office," Axios' Mike Allen reports. "Trump's mostly white, mainly rural, majority-male base clearly laps this up — and he knows it." The list of Trump's victims

Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, from the Right: "I'm confident we'll contain & transcend Trump. But the damage Trump's now doing to our national comity & civic fabric is genuinely alarming."

Mexico and Puerto Rico

Local journalists have been doing great work from Mexico's earthquake zone. For the LA Times, reporters Patrick J. McDonnell and Kate Linthicum have been going non-stop, and photographer Gary Coronado too. Linthicum has tweeted personal angles about neighbors on her street in Mexico City whose apartment building was condemned. The Times also has Andrea Castillo and Cecilia Sanchez in Mexico. A number of SoCal TV reporters also were dispatched to Mexico City, including Fox 11's Gigi Graciette. Daina Beth Solomon, the former LA Business Journal Reporter, had just started working in Mexico City for Reuters when the quakes hit.

"This still feels like a death in the family," writes LA journalist Daniel Hernandez, who used to report for the LA Times in Mexico City. "My friends' Facebook posts in DF are heartbreaking, stirring."

LA Times photojournalist Carolyn Cole has been sending back photos and tweeting from Puerto Rico, where the U.S. territory is without power and still awaiting aid from the mainland. Hillary Clinton called on Trump to send immediate aid to Puerto Rico, with a specific recommendation.

And from the Dodgers' Enrique Hernandez:

Besha Rodell leaves LA Weekly, Los Angeles, U.S.

LA Weekly restaurant critic Besha Rodell has moved back to Australia, but the decision wasn't easy. She writes: "The blur of packing and logistics shielded me somewhat from the enormity of what I was doing: Giving up the best job in the world."

Editor Mara Shalhoup says she will be replaced.

Eater LA says Rodell will be missed on the Los Angeles food beat.

Los Angeles has long been in the shadow of the impossibly large aura of LA Times’ Jonathan Gold, the world’s only Pulitzer-winning restaurant critic. Besides him, there are fewer than ten people making full-time money covering the food scene in LA, (two at the LA Times, two here at Eater, and a scattering of other players and freelance types around the city). And now Los Angeles just lost LA Weekly food critic Besha Rodell, one of only two full-time food critics in the city, and the only anonymous one who also holstered a star-rating system, unlike Jonathan Gold.

So what does the loss of a huge chunk of the critical food writing scene mean for Los Angeles? A lot....

Gold won that Pulitzer, by the way, as one of Rodell's predecessors at the LA Weekly, not for his work at the Times. Meanwhile, if you haven't seen it, Gold is now also a bot at the bottom of LAT food stories.


Media notes

Metro reporter Veronica Rocha has left the Los Angeles Times for the breaking news team at CNN's website. Another hire by former LA Times managing editor S. Mitra Kalita... Thomas Frank, one of the CNN journalists forced to resign after the network retracted a story on Anthony Scaramucci, has a new job covering national security and counterintelligence for BuzzFeed. "I haven’t seen or heard from any serious journalist who thinks the reporters” in that situation “are the ones who ended up with the black eye,” editor-in-chief Ben Smith said... The new publisher of Los Angeles Magazine is Josef Vann, who has been vice president and group publisher of Vegas, Atlanta Peach, Art Basel, Inside Out, Oceans Drive Dining Guide and Ocean Drive Español for Niche Media. He also was publisher for Phoenix Home & Garden magazine. He described Los Angeles’ mandate as “content for Angelenos, by Angelenos."... LA-based media reporter Dylan Byers is heading up CNN's new reporting vertical, Pacific, focused on West Coast tech and media... KCRW and WNYC Studios in New York produced an eight-part series on how Los Angeles became such an expensive place to live. There Goes the Neighborhood also has a live-event aspect... USA Today Network staffers spent 2 weeks in a helicopter to map the U.S./Mexico border and examine the wall issue... New NYT culture editor Choire Sicha, formerly of Gawker, speaks... The Hollywood Reporter profiled fake news-for-profit fictioneers Sean Adl-Tabatabai and Sinclair Treadway as "emerging alongside the more high-profile Breitbart as an integral player in the Trump era's L.A. alt-media axis."... Journalists, beware that you are what you tweet — and hiring managers are watching... New Yorker video: "On a weekend in August, the Los Angeles Convention Center was the setting for a surreal convergence of cosmetics and 'influencers.'”... LGBTQ Historic Places in L.A. is a new film series from the Los Angeles Conservancy... On Sunday night Oprah Winfrey made her debut appearance as a "60 Minutes" correspondent.

Media people doing stuff

The LAT's David Lazarus read credit reporting firm Experian's 17,000-word terms of service, which you probably didn't when you signed up... Dateline NBC's Josh Mankiewicz recommends the "Murder Survivor's Handbook," tweeting "If the worst has happened and you've been touched by murder, this is a very good resource."...AP court reporter emeritus Linda Deutsch urged parole for former Manson follower Leslie Van Houten in an LA Times op-ed... The New York Times obituary on architect Gin Wong referred to retired LAT Metro reporter Bob Pool as a critic... Photographer Art Streiber makes a credited appearance, as Bobby Riggs' photographer, in "Battle of the Sexes," the new movie about tennis stars Billie Jean King and Riggs... Ryan Gattis, the author of "Kung Fu High School" and "All Involved," talks about his newest Los Angeles novel, "Safe," with Geoff Manaugh for FSG Work in Progress... Kumail Nanjiani will host SNL on Oct. 14 with musical guest Pink. Gal Gadot hosts the week before on Oct. 7... Former KPCC producer Dorian Merina is now living and tweeting in the Philippine province of Batanes...Michael Sigman posts interviews with Marilyn & Alan Bergman... Longtime outdoors writer Tim Cahill is back in print, writing on how the Grand Canyon nearly killed him.

Fired-by-Trump U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is now a podcaster. And kinda funny:

Media obits

Lillian Ross of the New Yorker died last week at age 99. For your enjoyment, her 1950 profile of Ernest Hemingway for the magazine. She outlived the author of her NYT obituary by seven years.

Manuel Rodriguez, a Spanish teacher at Valley College for 35 years who wrote memorable pieces for Zocalo Public Square about the Los Angeles he grew up in, died at age 87. His stories covered his time as a newspaper boy and as a devoted news junkie. His son is Zocalo founder Gregory Rodriguez.

Anacleto Rapping, the former LA Times photojournalist and teacher at the Brooks Institute of Photography, died of cancer on Sept. 17. He also had worked for the Thousand Oaks News-Chronicle. There will be a service and reception at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village at 10 a.m. on Saturday September 30. Facebook

Big buildings under construction

Perla_Rooftop_HR.jpgIf you haven't noticed, Los Angeles is growing some new high-rise districts. Downtown at 4th and Broadway, in the middle of the gentrifying Latino shopping district, a half-block from Grand Central Market, the 35-story mixed-use Perla tower (above) is starting to go up. 450 condo units plus higher-end shopping than anyone who currently shops on Broadway is likely to use, in a part of downtown with no tall buildings. The next section of downtown to be transformed by the introduction of high-rise where none exists today is the Arts District, along the river bank.

Outside of downtown, the push to densify along transit lines is behind a 29-story tower proposed in a big project at the former KABC Radio site on La Cienega, near the Expo Line station there. And out by me, a 13-story tower is going up on the former cement plant land adjacent to the Expo Line's Sepulveda station. That project, with three other buildings, will add 595 residential units to a sad little stretch of Pico Boulevard. Lots of changes coming for Pico, one of those east-west Westside streets already locked down during rush hours with traffic and coming and going from Santa Monica. Multi-use projects of varying sizes are popping up all over the place. If you wondered, the demolished former Norms restaurant on Pico remains vacant and looks to have the start of a homeless encampment around it.

Selected tweets

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