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About that matzoh shortage

Regarding this afternoon's item on a shortage of matzoh for Passover, mileages vary:

"I noticed the shortage too! I live in a very Jewish neighborhood…..near Pico/Robertson…closer to Pico/Fairfax. At my "ghetto" Von's, there's usually a huge Passover display in the front of the store. This time, there was a small display with every kind of matzoh EXCEPT Manischevitz! I ended up with some delicious Israeli wheat matzoh for my kugel. I'm thinking of eating tortillas the rest of the week. They aren't leavened, right?"

"i find the matzoh shortage blurb had to swallow. i checked with some observant jewish friends who said they nor others they know had any problems at all. and there was plenty on the shelves of the gelson's i shop at."

"I am glad to know that we are not the only Jewish family in town that cannot find matzoh (or, as the manager of our local market put it, "Passover crackers".)

"Kevin, please protect my identity to save me from ridicule at ****** HQ....But...I can affirm the shortage of Matzoh...I went to TWO different grocery stores last night and could not find any matzoh. Both in the WeHo/Cedars-adjacent area....Pavillions at Santa Monica and Robertson, and Ralphs and Beverly and Doheny. The managers said there was none to be had."

"I got a chuckle out of your items on the 'matzoh shortage' in Los Feliz. As a former resident of that neighborhood I can state that while it's a great place to live on many counts, it has none of the things a more than "semi-observant" Jew needs. I'll be happy to supply directions to Fairfax, Pico-Robertson or my own shtetl of Valley Village, where you can't turn around this time of year without tripping over a box of matzoh!"

"Aren't there any Kosher tortillas? Aren't they flour, water, and salt?"

"Hi Kevin, this isn't the first year of shortages. I noticed it last year. So this year I purchased those multi-box packages as soon as they come out. Cause if you run out in the middle of the week, you're up a Red Sea without a paddle. Thanks for all the coverage, kosher-for-passover or otherwise."

"U mite wanna add that the WSJ reported on shortage of kosher for passover margarine last week."

Monday, April 21 2008 • Link • Email this post • Submit an email
Not that George Putnam

I'm wondering if any other readers did what I did today. I saw the headline "Richard Gere to Play George Putnam" and -- for an instant -- puzzled over what connection Amelia Earhart had with the former KTTV and KTLA anchor. I mean, he's old, but not that old!

Nick Faitos
Santa Cruz

Indeed. I should have used the full name, George Palmer Putnam, that Mr. Amelia Earhart was known by as a writer and publisher. — KR

Wednesday, April 16 2008 • Link • Email this post • Submit an email
Another view on Malibu camping

Marshall Lumsden, a former magazine editor who lives at Broad Beach, takes exception to Jenny Price's Native Intelligence case for camping in the Malibu area.

 I must take issue with the recent Native Intelligence column in which Jenny Price takes some broad swipes at Malibu and its residents. Did she miss? Let me count the ways.

Her opening sentence refers to the Malibu City Council’s vote to “ban camping on many public lands. . .” In fact, only three sites were at issue: Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy land in Corral Canyon, where the most recent fire started, Ramirez Canyon, and Charmlee Wilderness Park, which is owned by the City of Malibu and not the Conservancy. She adds, rather breezily, that as far as she knew it was “the first official measure the city has taken to prevent future fires.” In fact, the City has had a fire prevention program in conjunction the LA County Fire Department almost since Malibu became a city. It combines educational programs with brush-clearing efforts in inhabited areas.

The fact that the L.A. Times reported that 3 percent of all wildfires in all of California are caused by campfires is hardly reason to ignore the risk, especially since few of the other activities she cites take place in these contested areas, or will not unless they move construction crews in to build the camp sites.

And the next time her North Carolina friends ask her why “rich people in Malibu” continue to live in places where fires are inevitable,” she can ask them why rich people in North Carolina build houses on the barrier islands where they are prone to hurricane damage.

The drainage pipes she refers to were built by the county and the state of California long before Malibu became a city. Certainly, big houses on the beach don’t help the environment, although the residents tend to be better day-to-day stewards of the beach than some visitors are. But that certainly isn’t a serious argument for keeping the public off the beaches, and nobody I have known in twenty years of living here has ever suggested such a thing.

She accuses Malibu of having some of the state’s dirtiest beaches, but that dubious honor is actually spread fairly evenly up and down the coast. Interestingly, the one beach that ranks in the top (bottom?) ten is Surfrider Beach in Malibu, which is a public beach and doesn’t have houses on it. A second Malibu beach that got dishonorable mention a couple of years ago was at Paradise Cove, which is a gated community with some mobile homes. Unlike Broad Beach and other residential beaches, which have free access and free parking, it treats its beach as private and charges $25 for parking. Your regular correspondent, Veronique de Turenne regularly files pretty pictures from there of wildlife, sunsets and cute dogs on the beach (in violation of county ordinance, I’m afraid).

Price also refers to “notorious efforts just a few summers ago to re-engineer the tide line” which “created extensive environmental damage.” She is referring to Broad Beach and she has not the slightest proof that it was either the intent or effect of the homeowners’ attempted repairs of storm damage to “re-engineer the tide line.” If she had a better knowledge of the natural movement of sand on the beach, she would know that such a thing is impossible in any case. Nor is there any evidence that there was any extensive or lasting environmental damage stemming from those actions. She must find it ironic that some of the biggest contributors to Heal the Bay, the nonprofit that monitors the above-mentioned dirty beaches, live on Broad Beach.

All of this just to make the case once again that people who live in Malibu are bad sorts who want to keep out the great unwashed. Sorry, but it isn’t true. The camping issue is NOT an access issue, however much she would like it to be. Thousands of people come to enjoy Malibu’s parks and beaches every year (even Broad Beach) and there are already some 1,300 camp sites in safer venues close to the ocean from Mugu through Malibu. This is a dispute about proposed camp sites in three fire-prone and environmentally sensitive places near human habitation, Corral Canyon, Ramirez Canyon, and Charmlee Wilderness Park, a city park prickly with deed restrictions and ESHA regulations.

Most of the people I know would agree with me that the Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy has done great things in rescuing wilderness areas from the developer’s bulldozer. And sometimes we wish that the planning commission and the California Coastal Commission would put some brakes on development. But this time, we think Joe Edmiston has gone a bit too far. And any argument that relies on insinuations, exaggerations, half-truths and downright falsehoods is not likely to change our minds.

Marshall Lumsden

Jenny Price stands by the accuracy of her post — ed.

Monday, December 31 2007 • Link • Email this post • Submit an email
Columnist's one-note monorail idea

David Lazarus, the Times' new consumer columnist in the Business section, didn't impress with his column endorsing one man's monorail plan as a solution to regional traffic.

  Thanks for the comments on the recent column in the L.A. Times by David Lazarus touting DOA regional transit plans. Damien Goodmon already had a write-up on his "vision" in May , so why does this guy with no credentials and a plan that is going nowhere deserve so many additional column inches? And with his recent grandstanding in re Expo line grade crossings at Dorsey High his credibility is about zero among transportation activists. I first saw Brian C. Brooks' monorail along flood control channels proposal when he was touting it at the 2006 Alternative Car Expo; it is an idea so bad it doesn't deserve even cursory attention, much less being treated as a legitimate proposal.

It is sad the Times seems DOA on transportation and its nexus with land use. There is a debate about the future of our region going on and it is a disgrace the leading media voice in the area isn't involved, either in its news coverage or opinion pages. The recent blast my colleague Kymberleigh Richards aimed at the Times I think is dead on: "The Times changes its transportation beat reporters so much, I’m not convinced anyone gets up to speed to know what they’re talking about."

Dana Gabbard
Executive Secretary
Southern California Transit Advocates

Monday, December 31 2007 • Link • Email this post • Submit an email
On TV news in Los Angeles

Posts on NBC4 news director Bob Long's comments about the future of television and on KCAL-9 reporter Mary Beth McDade not recognizing the name of infamous despot Pol Pot prompted some email....

 Wow -- this post is so timely in my life right now. Just this week, I decided to stop watching television news because of all the attention afforded to OJ, Britney Spears and other inane celebrities.

Every morning, I would turn on KNBC to watch the local early news, then watch the "Today Show." That ended on Monday. I was so disgusted by the amount of time spent on these people who have no effect on our lives. The "Today Show" spent the first half-hour (or 21 minutes) devoted to OJ and Britney -- the first-half hour is supposed to be for hard news. I used to only listen to NPR in the car, but no more. NPR is now my main source of non-printed news.

I used to work in television news and still have friends at KNBC. I often voice my complaints about the direction of the news and they usually agree, but say their hands are tied. So, I was pleased to hear Bob Long's comments about tabloid coverage in news. But I'm sure if I watch tonight's news, I will see some celebrity or "caught on tape (in another state)" lead the broadcast.

Thank you for including this post.

Nadine Ono

 Makes Bob Long’s comments last week about the relative ignorance (semi-literate was his term, I believe) of the younger generation of newspeople seem prescient, no? The spirits of Murrow, Sevareid and H.V. Kaltenborn must be moaning. If anyone doubts that this unfathomable lack of everyday knowledge is the norm, just watch Jay Leno’s “dummies in the street” interviews (Jaywalking) each week.

I think I’ll go mix a stiff Scotch and water.


Michael J. Furtney
Los Angeles

 I find it interesting that Bob Long and perhaps other news directors don't seem to get the picture. Maybe they are too close to the problems and issues surrounding the TV news meltdown and simply don't notice. The problems with TV news can be discovered just by watching the local network news programs. They spend too much time, money and effort chasing meaningless stories such as Paris Hilton, etc, and not enough time on the real issues affecting all of us here in L.A.

Also, why do the local news directors send out reporters to stand in a neighborhood when a story has taken place when the reporter doesn't interview anyone about the story? The reporter is there for what reason? It doesn't add anything to the story, and seems like a waste of the station's resources.

The local networks will not change because they fear change and stick to the same old formula which no longer works. The local networks need to get their heads out of the sand and look around to see the changing landscape.

William Richardson
Van Nuys

 As dismaying as the lack of knowledge on the part of the Channel 2/9 reporter, it pales to the horribly disappointing Sept. 6 NY Times 2008 Olympics story that included a statement that FDR had gone to the Berlin Olympics in 1936 and met with Hitler, based on an assertion from Dana Rohrabacher of all people. (It was quickly corrected the next day with an italicized "not" included for emphasis.) How is it possible that any New York Times reporter (or editor) could not know that Roosevelt never met with Hitler, indeed as President never traveled outside the United States until Cabablanca in 1943 (if you overlook his Nova Scotia rendezvous with Churchill in June 1941)? Any such FDR-Hitler meeting would still be resonating in contemporary conversation, not to mention history books and war-themed movies. Lack of historical knowledge among reporters at any TV station is probably a sine qua non these days, but at the hallowed New York Times?

David Smollar

 What is killing TV news is the empty indulgences of news broadcasts. "Happy Talk" news began in my old hometown, New York City, and it has been down-hill since then. Stop the dumb jokes and juvenile chatter.

Kids News put local newscasts to shame. When I want to be entertained I look at entertainment shows. I want to know what is happening in my community, my country, the world. Stop behaving as if we are having a drink or out barbequing. I'm not going to watch because you try to be funny. You insult my intelligence when you believe I cannot pay attention without your gimmickry and foolishness. Also, stop grinning. When you are told you must smile it becomes unnatural - a grin. You do not have to smile [grin] to look pleasant and be believable. When there is a justifiable amusing segment, so be it.

I once saw a piece where the field reporter could not contain himself when giving the report; the anchors could not stop laughing; one of them could not even return to the air until later in the broadcast, and those of us tuning in at home were falling apart because the report was hilarious. These instances you can understand.

I encourage news directors and producers to go back and look at the newscasts of more that 35 to 40 years ago and see how dignified and eloquent the broadcasts were. Vanilla you say? Then be satisfied to lose your industry. Quality can be diminished, not destroyed, but mediocrity implodes. You will not hear them utter "hey" or "you guys" [unless referring to males] or, "there's two...." These newspeople were wordsmiths. Trash TV and the Internet are destroying quality newscasts, because when profit is paramount nothing remains sacred. Not even the English language.

Clayton Warner

 I believe, in your description of the conversation with the air head reporter, that you intended to refer to the robber as a "perp," as in perpetrator instead of "prep."

Tracy Taft

[Indeed. It's in the original blog item I picked up. Thanks - ed.]

Wednesday, September 26 2007 • Link • Email this post • Submit an email
Lacey still doesn't like me

Mike Lacey, the head editor of Village Voice Media and the determining influence over the LA Weekly and OC Weekly, doesn't appreciate my reporting and comment on the inner turmoils (and comings and goings) at his papers here. Here's his previous letter; recent posts about the departure of Jeffrey Anderson and the LA Weekly's move to a sad part of Culver City spurred this new sour missive. It runs here as submitted, false accusations and all.

 As a source of gossip, half truths, lies, slander, unfounded speculation and general lazy-ass foolishness, LA Observed remains invaluable.

Comes the news flash that three writers have, or will soon, depart the LA Weekly. To LA Observed, these are not matters of opportunity but signs of darkening skies.

Perhaps a little perspective would help.

LA Observed initially observed that the Weekly's editor, Laurie Ochoa, only kept her job because her husband was one of our talented writers. [Uh, not exactly - ed.] This sort of sexist/racist speculation is the kind of nightsoil that only a blogger could get away with. In the real world, such insulting drivel would get someone punched in the nose.

More recently LA Observed speculated that the Weekly was moving to a new office as part of a conspiracy that I had hatched. The proof: The new office is on the westside, and I stay on the west side when I'm in town.

The reality: I have not seen the new offices. I don't know where the new offices are. I was not consulted about the new offices or involved in the selection of the new offices. The new offices were chosen by the paper's publisher.

Admission: When I leave the desert to visit Los Angeles, I do occasionally stay in a westside hotel. To paraphrase Willie Sutton...that's where the ocean is.

LA Observed continues to keep posted on its archive the wildly erroneous opening section of The Nation's diatribe attacking us from pillar to post. The author of this "expose" wrote that we paid $400 million for Village Voice Media, which includes LA Weekly. Since the writer was off by a mere $400 million (the transaction was a merger with no cash involved. See -- literally--dozens of business articles at time of merger), even the politicized true believers who run The Nation admitted their mistake and removed this egregious section from their Web site. What does it say when LA Observed can not even meet the minimal standards of The Nation?

So now we return to the latest news that one of our columnists took a position with the Los Angeles Times. Well ... good for him. And another writer has a book deal that will take him to Mexico City... Frankly, I'm jealous.

The third writer left when he could not force the paper to give him a new editor. Your theory is that there is something wrong with the editor in question, Jill Stewart.

Nothing could be further from the truth, despite your repeated attempts to suggest such.

In general we do not allow writers to shop editors as if they were selecting produce. We attempt to have writers meet generally accepted principles of journalism. Mr. Anderson is a talented reporter, but his personal conduct towards his editor was so over the top -- borderline abusive on several occasions -- that he found himself apologizing for his behavior and, ultimately, looking for a new employer.

In a city like Los Angeles writers find books, scripts and other opportunities. At any newspaper you have the occasional clash.
You might have ascertained all of the above if you ever picked up the phone and talked to the targets of your biliousness.

Yours etc etc

Michael Lacey
Executive Editor, Village Voice Media

[I've spoken or corresponded with more than two dozen present and past LA Weekly staffers, but Editor Laurie Ochoa has never returned my calls and emails checking on facts through the years. - ed.]

Wednesday, September 26 2007 • Link • Email this post • Submit an email
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