No major traffic problems so far with Obama visit, LAPD says
Los Angeles police said Wednesday night that there had been no reports of massive traffic jams earlier in the evening during rush hour as President Obama's motorcade drove through Westside streets.
The president arrived at Los Angeles International Airport for fundraising events and was taken by helicopter to a park in Century City, where be boarded a Suburban SUV for the Beverly Hilton Hotel and two fundraising events later in the Holmby Hills.
"Everything went smoothly as far as we know," Los Angeles Police Department Officer Karen Rayner said. "We had no reports of significant incidents or delays."
Motorists gave mixed reports on Twitter; some complained that traffic was crawling on thoroughfares such as Santa Monica Boulevard but others said it was not much worse than usual rush-hour snarls.
The fundraising reception and dinner was at the residence of Bradley and Colleen Bell in the Holmby Hills neighborhood north of the L.A. Country Club. Bradley Bell is the executive producer of the soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful."
The co-hosts for the event were actor Will Ferrell and his wife, Vivica Paulin. The president is expected to be met by about 1,000 supporters at the reception, where the Foo Fighters will be performing.
Obama took the stage around 6: 30 p.m. and thanked people including the Foo Fighters, Rashida Jones, Jack Black and Los Angels Mayor Antonio Villagarosa.
Obama spoke without notes or a teleprompter. He recalled wining in 2008 and his victory speech in Grant Park in Chicago. "Change is hard... It's hard to remember
that in the heady days," the president said.
He said the outpouring of support in 2008 was because "people were feeling there was a mismatch of the idea of what America should be and what was happening
around the country."
At the second event, about 80 people were expected to attend a fundraising dinner at the same Holmby Hills home. Tickets for that event cost $35,800. The money raised will go to a joint fundraising committee run by the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
On Thursday, Obama is scheduled to travel to the Newport Beach neighborhood of Corona del Mar, where he will attend a fundraising luncheon at the home of real estate developer Jeff Stack and his wife, Nancy Stack, for which tickets cost $2,500.
Between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Thursday, motorists are advised to stay clear of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards and Pico Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars, the LAPD said.
—White House pool reports and Robert J. Lopez
Photo: Dozens of California Highway Patrol motorcycles wait to lead President Obama and his entourage from the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Credit: Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times