LA Metblogs 2008 Grinch of the Year: Sam Zell

The readers of LA Metblogs have voted and overwhelmingly chose to tug their ears in the direction of Sam Zell, the 2008 Grinch of the Year! If you need one, two, or a couple dozen reasons as to why Zell is deserving of this honor, check out LA Observed’s recap Signs of Our (L.A.) Times.

Congratulations, Sam! Ebenezer Scrooge and William Mulholland will be delivering your certificate you personally.

Based on numbers of registered Metblogs readers, the faceless masses of Proposition 8 backers came in 2nd, although unregistered voters placed them in first place (as previously mentioned, these numbers don’t count due to the ability to digitally stuff the ballot box).

LA Times marches on

There are several Youtube videos of Sam Zell, the Chicago real estate magnate/Los Angeles Times-owner, clutching a lecturn and snarling at journalists in his employ about his “philosophy” in vulgarity-strewn upbraidings at the various newspapers he owns. In one posted last February, during a Q & A with writers and editors from the Orlando Sentinel, Zell tells a reporter “fuck you,” prefacing the epithet by saying “You need to, in effect, help me by being journalists that focus on what our readers want, and therefore generate more revenue…”

This statement alone exhibits the essential nature of Zell’s misunderstanding of, and disregard for, journalism and shows his ill-suitedness for owning any organization that disseminates news.

But In spite of the bad rap that Zell gets (and deserves,) the LA Times isn’t a bad paper. It still has Continue reading LA Times marches on

LA City Council Mulls More Smoking Restrictions

It’s being reported all over the place this morning that the City Council is considering a proposal by the Tom LaBonge-headed Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee to ban smoking on restaurant patios or within 10 feet of any outdoor establishment that serves food or beverages. Fortunately for you club goers, age-restricted venues such as bars and cigar bars would be exempt. Surprisingly to me, much of the anxiety over the proposal seems to revolve around who’s going to be responsible for enforcing the curb rather than whether customers have the right to smoke outside. Regardless, the easy money is on the proposal making it through the City Council easily given the success of similar measures nationwide, including in local municipalities like Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Calabasas.

Metro Explains Why Subway Will Take Forever

Yesterday, I asked Metro a few questions regarding their new timetables for several projects, including the Subway to the Sea. Today, Rick Jager from their Media Relations department answered:

1. Besides funding issues, why is the completion of the Purple Line to Santa Monica expected to take so long?

The next steps before subway construction could start are estimated to take 2 to 3 years. This includes full environmental review, approvals, engineering and design. We then estimate that construction could take about 7 years (1) depending on what the final project ends up being & (2) if all funding is available.

The funding generated by Measure R will come in over a 30 year period and therefore the schedules are based on an allocation of these revenues to many projects over the life of the sales tax. The schedule for the Westside project which identifies completion to Westwood by 2032 is driven more by the availability of funding than the time needed to construct. The actual time needed to construct the Purple Line Extension to Westwood would be considerably less than 23 years.

2. Does the projected completion date of 2032 to Westwood include the Pink Line extension from Hollywood/Highland (Alternative 11)? If not, how would that affect the Westside timetable?

Continue reading Metro Explains Why Subway Will Take Forever

5 Questions with an Artist and victim of art theft.

Just before Christmas local gallery owner, Lisa Barrios let me know that a piece had been stolen from her gallery in the heart of Old Town Monrovia (yes, folks the city with “no crime” had someone in doing their Christmas shoplifting).  She was heart broken, beside herself fearing the reaction of the artist, Paul K. Merwin,  who had created the piece.  

Lisa said she was completely gobsmacked by his response.  Not only did the artist handle it well, but took it in stride.  His comment “I guess I should be flattered that someone thought enough of my art to go to jail for it”.    

“Petra” is the name of the piece and is pictured here.  It is a mixed media sculpture of aluminum and bone.  It has a retail value of $2,400.   As you might guess, Monrovia police are involved as both the gallery owner and the artist would like to have it back. 

It took a bit of emails and the Holidays for me to get all the information I needed to do this post.  I have to admit I admire the graciousness Paul exhibited in his initial reaction, and for indulging me with a 5 questions regarding his art and the theft.  To get the full 5 questions and Paul’s responses you need to make the jump.

Continue reading 5 Questions with an Artist and victim of art theft.

Michael Jackson is back in town hoo haa (insert snark here).

There’s a hundred-and-one snarks I can toss in on why we don’t need another celebretard in town, but Jackooo is back in town. Hide your (insert snark here). The AP story for Mail.com ran just moments ago: he has signed off on a 1 year lease (not purchase but with his foreclosure record who’d make a mortgage for him now) in Bel Air.

His dentist in Weho should be happy to have his patient and entourage back in his office. (Not quite 6 degrees of separation – the dentist is a friends’ ex-significant other so I do know the guy).

Now can’t we all sleep better knowing he is back?

The photo is from the mail.com news brief done by AP.

Metro: Um… We’ll Get Back To You

There has been quite a reaction to yesterday’s news regarding Metro’s construction timetables for new rail lines in Los Angeles. One of the biggest outcries comes at word that the Subway to the Sea – the Purple Line that currently terminates at Wilshire & Western – won’t even reach Westwood until the year 2032. Naturally, a lot of us had questions.

Jody Litvak of the Metro Westside Extension Study Team joined in on the comment section to update us on the Subway to the Sea’s progess. I shot her an email with a few questions:

1. Besides funding issues, why is the completion of the Purple Line to Santa Monica expected to take so long?

2. Does the projected completion date of 2032 to Westwood include the Pink Line extension from Hollywood/Highland (Alternative 11)? If not, how would that affect the Westside timetable?

3. With the city’s population expected to increase dramatically in the next 30 years, why aren’t there more projects on the drawing board, such as a possible SGV-SFV line connecting Pasadena-Glendale-Burbank-Universal-Sherman Oaks to connect with the 405 corridor?

Jody responded by referring me to Rick Jager at Metro’s Media Relations Department. I repeated my questions to Rick, which elicited the following response at 2:39 this afternoon:

Continue reading Metro: Um… We’ll Get Back To You

Larry Flynt asks feds for porn industry bail out

LA-based Hustler Publications owner Larry Flynt, along with Girls Gone Wild CEO Joe Francis, said today they will ask Congress for $5 billion for the sagging adult entertainment industry, the bulk of which is produced in the San Fernando Valley.

Francis said, “The US government should actively support the adult industry’s survival and growth, just as it feels the need to support any other industry cherished by the American people… We went from a system of laissez-faire economics where the government let’s the invisible hand control the market, and now the government gets involved and corrects things and we have a $13 billion dollar industry that’s very in need of correcting.”

While some may scoff at the notion of yet another taxpayer-financed attempt to harden one more slackening sector of the US economy, Flynt said, “People are too depressed to be sexually active… It’s time for congress to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America.”

Santa Monica City Council Member and Former Mayor Herb Katz Dead

Sad news is rippling through Santa Monica today, as residents hear that City Council member, former Mayor, architect, and popular local figure Herb Katz has died after a long illness.   Herb was involved in public service in Santa Monica for decades, serving twice as Mayor Pro Tempore, once as Mayor, and twice as a member of the Santa Monica City Council, a post he held until his death.  He was also the president of RTK Architects, which was responsible for numerous projects around the Los Angeles area, including Playa Vista Studios, Granada Hills Elementary School, and various office buildings, car dealerships, and retail establishments.  He never let illness slow him down.

Herb could just as likely be seen at Santa Monica’s Joslyn Park with his dogs as at a public event.  I have fond memories of spending the day with him in June 2007 at the Eames Case Study House in Pacific Palisades, to celebrate the 100th birthday of Charles Eames.

I don’t know any details yet about a memorial service, but I know the outpouring will be huge for this beloved man.  Condolences to his wife Brenda and to his family.

Pasadena Pistolera Protects Poor Pooch From Pesky Pest

In this morning’s links, Curbed LA pointed me to an article in today’s latimes.com covering an incident in Pasadena yesterday evening in which a resident decided to shoot a raccoon that attacked her dog. Apparently the woman first tried beating the thing with a long-handled garden tool of some sort but when that didn’t stop the onslaught, she… well, let’s just let PPD’s Lt. Bruce George explain it:

“So she goes and gets her gun and tries to shoot the raccoon, and it doesn’t do anything,” he said. “It still doesn’t stop. And then she whacked it a couple more times with the shovel, and then the raccoon died.”

As one of the many commenters to the article puts it quite succinctly: “…if you shoot one, and ‘it doesn’t do anything,’ then you have missed.”

The raccoon killer was not charged with a crime because the otherwise unlawful and repeated discharging of a firearm was deemed to have been an appropriate response by law enforcement. I’m basically OK with that. Seeing as how dangerous raccoons can be I do not fault the woman for coming to the defense of her dog.

But in the interest of showing that not all raccoons are crazed killers, I offer up the backyard encounter I had with one last summer as it climbed out of our neighbor’s loquat tree:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DYh0jiLoGk[/youtube]

The Upside of the Downturn: Cheap Stuff

The recession/depression is not all bad. Not only can we look forward to a world with fewer doggie spas and stretch Hummers, expensive stuff is getting cheaper. My favorite Valley bargain, massage at National Holistic Institute, is now so cheap that I feel like I’m getting over when I go. While Spencer’s deal below is even better, a 50-minute massage for $20, NHI’s 2009 rate, still qualifies as super cheap. It feels wrong not to book at that rate. It gets even cheaper if you buy gift cards (6 for $100 or 13 for $200). 

(Twenty photo courtesy of boogaloo.)

Laurel Tavern in Studio City is Hiring

Do you need work? Do you like to stand? Can you deal with drunks? Perhaps this Craigslist posting is for you.

Laurel Tavern – the bar formerly known as The Sapphire in Studio City – needs a doorman.

Doorman (Studio City)


Reply to: [email protected] [?]
Date: 2009-01-07, 11:27AM PST

Friday and Saturday night schedule – 10PM-Close.

Must be responsible, reliable, patient and pleasant.Thank you.

Location: Studio City

  • Compensation: Per shift pay…
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
  • Please, no phone calls about this job!
  • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

PostingID: 983899336

Should you land this gig, I expect VIP treatment for my entourage. This is non-negotiable.

“Stamp Series” Premier at LA Art Walk Thurdsay 1/8/09

The Los Angeles Center for Digital Art is premiering artist Leslie Tucker’s “The Stamp Series” 1/8-1/31/09.  The opening reception will take place in conjunction with Thursdays Downtown LA Art walk.

I have to admit when I saw the opening images on my invitation I got a big grin and thought “this is absolutely brilliant”.  Reading more into it I have to admit this artist has some wit to her.   Documenting the change in pop culture by honoring the demise of white bread on a commemorative stamp.  Brilliant (at the risk of repeating myself).

Details: January 8-31, 2009 Reception: Thursday January 8, 7-9pm, Los Angeles Center For Digital Art, 107 West Fifth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Image courtesy of LACDA and used with their permission.  For their full press release you need to make the jump. Continue reading “Stamp Series” Premier at LA Art Walk Thurdsay 1/8/09

Mops – what one does to get back in shape after the Holidays.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZQfpsvy2RA[/youtube]
My youngest son is in a travel basketball league. We get 2 breaks a year. At the end of the breaks their practice is more about conditioning than skill building to slough off the extra weight and lethargy gained during their break.

Last night was the end of the Christmas break and a lot of conditioning took place. The one that always makes me cringe is “mops” – or bent over using your shirt to mop the gym floor as you go as fast as you can from one end to the other then back. Go Santa Anita Mountaineers-mop that floor!

How many others out there are in some sort of conditioning after the break?

Vid by me with the phonecam.