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the skunks of los feliz
Wanna know just how Mayor Villaraigosa is planning to get a handle on traffic? Whether he prefers Pink's or Tail O' the Pup? If the LAX expansion plan is headed for a major retooling or straight to the scrapheap? If he agrees that all Lindsay Lohan really needs is a good, hearty breakfast at the Griddle to get right with the eating-disorder gods?

You can ask him by clicking here, and submitting your questions for ABC7's "Ask the Mayor" segment on this Sunday's Eyewitness Newsmakers program.

Policy wonks, beware: there's a 50 word limit for mayoral queries, so keep your interrogatories re: CRA/LA's Downtown Los Angeles Parking Management Ordinance Implementation Project, for instance, brief and to the point.

Questions along the lines of "Boxers or briefs?", on the other hand, will most likely go straight to the top of list.

They make for good television, don't ya know.
Today's Daily News bemoans the McMansion-ization of established neighborhoods, a trend that I've noticed (and railed against) here in Los Feliz. According to the piece, neighborhoods are beginning to fight back with anti-infill zoning regulations, something that I hope the GGPNC will look into.

Of course, those brutal stucco boxes that have sprouted on the NW corner of Los Feliz and Vermont do have a certain fascist charm, if you're a size-obsessed yuppie with questionable taste.
Look out, Alcove, there's a new patio hotspot in the neighborhood.

The recently relocated Cap'n Cork (perhaps riding high from that Beck shout out) has set tables out on the sidewalk, along with a grill which, one presumes, is used to prepare all sorts of meat-related delicacies. Now, maybe the Carne Asada con Cap'n Cork really rocks, but noxious fumes from the traffic on Hillhurst, the complete absence of shade trees or other vegetation, and the pesky L.A. Municipal Code prohibition against consuming alcoholic beverages on the premises of a liquor store would all seem to conspire against success.

Then again, maybe the combination of red meat, cigarettes, and booze will prove to be canny counter-programming against the clean-living namby-pambyism of Puran's and the Nature Mart.
The Daily News, Janus of L.A. newspapers:

Headline sez "Surprise! Traffic is bad!" (As a bonus, the piece also manages a sly plug for breaking up L.A. Hey, it is the Daily News, folks.)

Editorial sez "No surprises here - traffic is bad!"

Though Mayor Villaraigosa turned D.C. on with his smile this week, he came home with little more than a bulging Rolodex and the same empty municipal pockets he left with.

The Democratic congressional delegation of California put their PR machines to work trumpeting his arrival, and the Mayor put his not inconsiderable schmoozing skills to good use, but it remains to be seen how sympathetic Republicans will be to funding requests from the city that uptight right-wingers view as Sodom, Gomorrah, and Paris (France, not Hilton) combined.

On Hizzoner's docket for this trip:

- Funding for the proposed 405 carpool lane, something car-lovin' Republicans should be able to get behind. Besides, it'll only cost a piddling $400 million dollars. Hell, that pittance wouldn't even pay for a week of combat operations in Iraq. It's chump change! Hand it over!

- A fairer share of Homeland Security funds. This may be a harder sell, since farm state Republicans love to bring home the bacon to such target rich environments (snicker!) as Goshen, WY and Absaraka, ND. Those folks take their Homeland Security very seriously - just check out the Wyoming state web site. Front and center is the Wyoming Homeland Security Advisory, which is currently at "Elevated" (Jayzuz, Edna, al-Qaida's comin' fer our cows!).

Can he swing it? Can he squeeze water from the GOP stones in Congress? Maybe. But, at the very least, he's taking his case right to 'em, blinding them with his grin while he sneaks a wing-tip into the cracked door, Jehovah Witness-style.
Welcome to Jack in the Box, may I take your order please?

Yeah, can I get a Zesty Turkey Pannido, an attempted armed robbery and a Diet Coke?

Would you like to supersize that to a deadly shooting and stabbing melee?


It's only fifty cents more.

Yeah, okay.

Thank you. Pull around for your total, please, and keep your gat handy.

Area 51 revealed - by Google Maps!

The resolution isn't high enough to detect the presence of LGM, Greys or, for that matter, Dick Cheney.

But they are there... they are there.
Public Service Announcement:

The GGPNC is warning in their latest Crime Report that the Koreatown Rapist is believed to have committed two attacks in the Los Feliz area, both in March of this year. His presence, along with that of the still at-large Hyperion Bridge Rapist, doubles the number of serial sex offenders targeting our neighborhood (though the Hyperion suspect has been quiet lately, thank God).

I know everybody out there probably follows personal security practices, but just for review here's the LAPD Rape Prevention fact sheet.

R.I.P. Scotty.

Readers of Arthur Magazine, Spaceland habitues, and anyone who makes the Cahuenga Crawl (Amoeba-Karma Coffee-Vinyl Fetish) on a regular basis, perk up your ears:

ArthurFest is coming to the Barnsdall Art Park this Labor Day weekend. Featuring performances by such luminaries as Sonic Youth, Cat Power, and Yoko Ono(!?!?), this two-day event is sure to provide hours of aural enjoyment for drooling Sleater-Kinney fanboys (and those aging hipsters with fond memories of drooling over Kim Gordon back in their college days, especially that time SY played the USF Sun Dome, and they were kicking into "Silver Rocket", and maybe it was the pot, or the heat, but she looked like a flaxen-haired goddess up there on stage, violently abusing her bass while coolly nodding her head in time with the beat... but I digress, and that story was not about me anyway).

And, as if that's not enough mind-blowing entertainment for one summer weekend, the Fest is also offering food (get ready for the inevitable Fred 62 booth, people!), film screenings, and "a booth featuring 80-year-old bluesman T-Model Ford, who will dispense wisdom & possibly kisses for a small price".

Fair warning to anyone coming in from beyond the Vermont and Sunset corridors (or, God forbid, the Westside): traffic will be an iron-clad bitch. Do yourself (and us) a favor and take the Red Line to the Sunset/Vermont station. It's just a half block to the park, and the $3 roundtrip fare will surely be cheaper than what local parking lots will be charging.

For more info, click here.

For advance tickets, click here.

For a great pic of Kim Gordon, click here.
Boiling heat.

Raging brush fires.

Civil unrest over heavy-handed LAPD tactics.

Ah, sweet summertime in L.A.
In the face of a growing fund-raising controversy, LAUSD Superintendent Roy Romer has released a list of donors to his Friends of L.A. Schools public relations fund and, to paraphrase Johnny Caspar, "ethically, it's a little shaky".

According to the Daily News:

"Friends of L.A. Schools Inc., which Romer formed in February just days after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his support for plans to break up the district, received single donations of $10,000 from investment bank Goldman Sachs, DMJM building consultants, Turner Construction and publishers Harcourt Inc. and Pearson Education - all of which have contracts totaling millions of dollars with the school district."

Romer, natch, claims that he would never, never let double-secret slush fund contributions from contractors doing business with the District affect the LAUSD's contract bidding process. That may come as a surprise to the folks who shelled out money to his fund, unless they did, truly, give him money out of the kindness of their corporate hearts.

But, as the aforementioned "businessman" Johnny Caspar also said: "Now, if you can't trust a fix, what can you trust?"

It seems at least possible that some donors were hedging their bets, thereby ensuring the fix would stay in. Suggesting otherwise strains credulity.
WTF? of the day: WSJ editorial page lauds Karl Rove as a principled "whistleblower"!

And all this time I though he was just a ruthless political hack, with no abiding principles whatsoever....

Must have brainwashed by the "angry left". Feeling much better now.

In the aftermath of Antonio Villaraigosa's win in the mayoral runoff, and the attendant era of good feelings that has followed, one interesting question has gone unanswered:

Whither Bob Hertzberg?

According to a presser I found crammed into Le Pew Mailbox yesterday, he's still plugging away at his old bete noir, the LAUSD.

In an open letter to Superintendent Roy Romer, the very office-less pol (citing the Fair Political Practices Commission v. American Civil Rights Coalition, Inc., et al. decision) calls for the release of "...information with respect to donors and contributions made to Friends of L.A. Schools, Inc."

This group, a nonprofit concern set up to raise money for LAUSD PR operations, has raised hackles in some quarters (i.e., the Valley) due to the shroud of secrecy surrounding the identity of it's donors. This unaccountability has also aroused fears among elected officials that Superintendent Roy Romer is sitting on what amounts to a $150,000 PR slush fund, money that can be directed (with no public oversight) against foes of the LAUSD.

Whether this gathering controversy gains any traction with the public at large remains to be seen, but this very public move by Hertzberg raises some interesting questions - well, actually, it's awakening within me my propensity towards wild, unsupported speculation, but hell, that's what a blog is for, right?


Since Hertzberg has been working as an un-official advisor to Mayor Villaraigosa, and has, in press reports, proclaimed himself to be familiar with the Mayor's thinking on a number of issues, is this letter a sub rosa swipe at Romer by Villaraigosa (who has yet to publicly comment on the controversy)? Or is this just Bob being Bob, trying to visit upon the LAUSD the death by a thousand cuts?

Could the former union organizer (and spouse of a teacher) and the knight errant of local control of schools have found common ground on the education issue?

And what office, exactly, is Mr. Hertzberg running for now?
Two questions:

1) Doesn't this guy look like the demented love-child of John Waters and Raul Julia?

2) What kind of parent would leave their child alone with the demented love-child of John Waters and Raul Julia?

Disclosure: Photo grabbed from ABC7 website. Please Disney, don't sue!
Sporadically funny. Full of secession in-jokes. 10 minutes long.

Travel now back to the days of Valley VOTE and LAFCO.

Relive Jim Hahn's finest(?) hour.

Behold, The L.A. Civil War!

Who speaks for the elephants at the Los Angeles Zoo?

Richard Pryor, that's who....

Seems the world-famous funnyman (whose albums I spent many a pot-hazed summer day listening to in high school) is calling for the L.A. Zoo to send it's trio of pachyderms to an elephant sanctuary, rather than follow through on the Zoo's plans for remodeling and expanding the massive beast's current digs (which currently consist of a patch of dirt and a water hose).

Noted within the linked piece is the fact that Mayor Villaraigosa has also gone on record as being in favor of giving the long-suffering animals a one-way ticket to Retirementville, a preserve where they can rest their huge, and presumably, achy feet, whilst dining on the finest grasses the North American continent has to offer.

Which I'm all for.

However, if you follow the logic of this all the way to it's conclusion, you might begin to feel that perhaps all the animals in the Zoo should be sent to preserves rather than live out their lives in small, though humane, enclosures.

And if I actually endorsed such a leap of logic, I would risk a polite, well-reasoned, intellectually sound response from wildbell, whose views I do respect.

So, instead, let me close by saying: "Fuck'n is good for you, jack. Gettin some pussy beats having a war."
If you're Antonio Villaraigosa, you know you're enjoying your honeymoon period with the press when even the Daily News fawns over you.
Fans of extreme close-ups, early Clint Eastwood, and, of course, "The Whistle", take note: The Autry National Center is presenting a tribute to the great Spaghetti Western auteur, Sergio Leone.

"Once Upon a Time in Italy: The Westerns of Sergio Leone" will run from from July 30 to January 22, 2006, and will feature screenings of some of the master's greatest works, including a series of outdoor screenings that will be free to the public.

In conjunction with the screenings, the Center has also put together a nice little online exhibit, featuring posters, publicity shots, and other images from the museum's collection (though not all images are necessarily directly related to Leone's films).

Most interesting of all (and not a little bizarre), is the members only preview, which, according the Center's website, will feature:

"...live classical music–including the unforgettable soundtracks composed by Ennio Morricone, colossal 8-foot puppets reenacting scenes from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, exciting demonstrations of Western-themed movie stunts, Italian wines and beers, espresso stations, a bruschetta bar, and an Oscar-style entrance! "

Which begs the question: do we really need to see a 8-foot puppet of Lee Van Cleef? And what the hell do puppets have to do with Spaghetti Westerns, much less Sergio Leone?

But I quibble.

I mean, check out the outdoor screening schedule alone:

Saturday, August 27 A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
Saturday, September 3 For A Few Dollars More (1965)
Saturday, September 10 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
Saturday, September 17 Once Upon A Time in the West (1968)

And, for Leone completists, the Center has even joined with AFI to throw in a rare screening of Once Upon a Time in America.

Very nice, indeed.
Slate weighs in on the purported controversy over how to pronounce our brand new mayor's surname. I didn't realize it was that difficult, but I guess I'll take their word for it.
His thunder has been muffled, if not outright stolen, by the Sandra Day O'Connor resignation, but today Antonio Villaraigosa will be sworn in as L.A.'s mayor. The ceremony, which was expected to command national media coverage, is mere minutes away and the cable news channels are full of breathless speculation about another Latino politician - Alberto Gonzalez.

As the pundits and politicians sharpen their swords in expectation of a bruising, brutal confirmation battle over Bush's forthcoming Supreme Court nomination (whether Gonzalez or some other crypto-fascist jurist), I'm watching the overwhelmingly positive local coverage of the inaugural parade, with nary a mention by any of the Southland's tanned news gatherers of O'Connor's retirement.

Our smiling new Mayor, and the celebratory, hopeful mood of the city, represent the best of our democracy.

I think, though, we're all about to get a very good look at the worst.


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