The nation’s eyes were fixed this weekend on the Oscar race unfolding in Hollywood. But with just days to go before the citywide March 5 election, local political contests were getting just as hot and heavy.
The Times took a wide-angle look at the challenges facing the city as voters pick a successor to termed-out Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. City leaders have already cut hundreds of millions of dollars out of everyday services and ongoing maintenance to stay afloat, but the next chief executive will have to make hard decisions, especially in light of costly, ill-timed spending commitments made at City Hall and a failure to adjust to the region's weakening economic foundation.
Greuel is not the only one receiving outside aid in her bid. Kevin James, who has received nearly a half-million dollars of support from an independent committee, issued a plea for new funding from the Texas billionaire who has thus far bankrolled much of the effort. Meanwhile, James continued to attack Greuel for her ties to the union representing many workers from the city’s Department of Water and Power.
The mayoral candidates made their Oscar picks for best movie, and tried to use the focus on Hollywood bonanza to woo voters. James highlighted his endorsement by the Bring Hollywood Home Foundation in a fund-raising appeal that warned, “Imagine a Hollywood with no Oscars because the industry was run out of town by our city's bad policies.” Greuel put out a mailer featuring the head of her rival, Councilman Eric Garcetti, superimposed on an Oscar statue with the headline, “And the award goes to... ERIC GARCETTI. Worst Performance By A Politician In A Leading Role.”
Two men who found their way onto the red
carpet at the 85th Academy Awards were detained and one was
arrested, police said Monday.
Using a fake press pass, one man without credentials sneaked into an area Sunday where celebrities were walking and posing for photos in front of the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, said Norma
Eisenman, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department.
It didn't make the LAPD's day when officers dispatched to a home
owned by Clint Eastwood in Bel-Air quickly found out the legendary actor was apparently the
latest victim of a "swatting" incident.
Police had been told there were men with
assault weapons at the residence.
But officers quickly determined no one was in danger at
the home, avoiding the full-scale tactical response that has arrived at
"swatting' incidents at the home of other celebrities, Lt. Andrew Neiman
Officers said that, as in earlier cases, the 911 call was likely the work of pranksters seeking to unleash a large police presence
at the home of a celebrity.
The call to Eastwood's residence occurred Tuesday; it was unclear if anyone was actually staying there at the time.
On Thursday, a "swatting" call was made in an effort to bring a large police response to the Playboy mansion. Again, police were quickly able to confirm nothing dangerous was occurring at the Holmby Hills mansion.
This week's incidents are the latest in a recent rash of hoax 911 calls reporting fake crimes at celebrities' homes. What began as a prank among party-line callers and gamers in recent months has spread to target celebrities, authorities say.
Victims in recent months include Ashton Kutcher, Justin Bieber, Tom Cruise and Simon Cowell. Earlier this month, a 12-year-old was charged with making 911 calls and reporting fake crimes to police, sending them to Kutcher's home and a Wells Fargo Bank branch.
Law enforcement officials have said that swatting is a problem because it diverts resources from real emergencies.
More than 50 people packed a small hearing chamber at Los Angeles City Hall on Tuesday to speak out about a proposed multimillion-dollar development in Hollywood.
The Millennium Hollywood project, if approved, will cost an estimated $664 million to build. The mixed-use development would include two skyscrapers and a series of smaller buildings near the iconic Capitol Records building at Hollywood and Vine.
Support came from business associations, including the Hollywood and Los Angeles Area Chambers of Commerce.
Opponents, many of them Hollywood residents, decried the height of the planned skyscrapers, the additional traffic and the noise and light pollution they said the development would create.
"Do we want Hollywood to be like New York City?" said Robert Adjemian, who lives near the proposed development site. "I certainly hope not."
After the hearing, the Planning Department will submit a report to the Planning Commission with their recommendations for the development's zoning and density.
The Los Angeles Planning Department will hear public comments starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday about a controversial, multimillion-dollar development planned near the
Capitol Records Tower at Hollywood and Vine.
The owners of the Capitol Records building have plans for two
skyscrapers and a cluster of smaller buildings, about 1 million square feet in
total. The complex of apartments, offices and shops would surround the famous cylindrical
building that resembles a stack of vinyl records.
The developers want to change the zoning code. The Planning Department will also consider adopting the city’s environmental and
traffic report about the project.
Proponents of the $664-million Millennium Hollywood project, including developers Millennium Partners and Argent
Ventures, say the construction would be a boon to the area. The project
is the most ambitious to date in a series of revitalization projects in
Hollywood. Other major projects included the completion of the Hollywood and Highland
Center in 2001 and the opening of the W Hotel at Hollywood and Vine in 2010.
The skyscrapers would
be more than three times taller than most
buildings in the area, according to a report on environmental and traffic impact
written by the city.
The buildings would block views of the Hollywood sign and Capitol
Records building, create light pollution and generation construction dust, opponents said. Others fear that the neighborhood will lose its character.
A series of major road closures has begun in Hollywood to accommodate the Academy Awards.
The Oscars will be held at the Dolby Theatre in the Hollywood & Highland Center. On Sunday, Hollywood Boulevard was closed between Highland Avenue and Orange Drive. Public buses will be rerouted, according to the Oscars' website.
On the day of the show, this coming Sunday, road closures will spread throughout the area, including the north and south 101 Freeway offramps at Highland Avenue as well as Hollywood Boulevard between La Brea Avenue and Cahuenga Boulevard.
Los Angeles' election day is rapidly approaching. That's clear from the candidates' frenzied schedules, the money pouring into increasingly ubiquitous television campaign ads and the glossy pitches and hit pieces piling into mailboxes.
Spending by independent groups not controlled by the candidates just topped $1.5 million. And another fundraising reporting period ended Saturday, after potential donors were bombarded with last-minute pleas for cash. The latest financial numbers will be available later this week.
With just over two weeks before the March 5 election day, the candidates hopscotched across the city all weekend, opening new field offices, speaking at an education event at a downtown middle school, marching in a Chinese New Year parade and attending Sunday services at an African American church.
Here are other developments in the mayoral race as reported by The Times:
Texas billionaire Harold Simmons has no obvious business in the city of Los Angeles but is bankrolling the Super PAC that just began airing TV ads for James, an attorney and former talk show host. The sole Republican in the race, James is considered a long shot in heavily Democratic L.A. But backing from Simmons -- a major GOP donor who has helped fund some controversial campaigns in the past -- could boost James' profile.
There are no green rolling hills here, no thatched cottages or bogs. But the spirit of Ireland is alive and well in a Hollywood mini-mall.
The Irish Import Shop has been around for 50 years. In a little brown shopping center on Vine Street, it's wedged between a nail salon and a dry cleaner. Other neighbors include check cashing business, a Subway, a tattoo parlor and a pawn shop.
But step inside the shop and you might just feel transported elsewhere.
Often, the owner, Anne Colburn, burns little dabs of peat -- so the shop smells like being home by the fire in Ireland. She's stocked the place with many Irish classics, kitschy and otherwise: hand-carved Celtic crosses, Claddagh rings, egg cups shaped like leprechaun hats, Aran sweaters, tweed caps from Donegal and heathery capes woven in Kerry.
It's obviously the place to come for all things shamrocks on St. Paddy's Day.
But the biggest draw, Colburn says, is the northernmost aisle -- and not just for homesick Irish people. Brits, Australians, South Africans and people from the Caribbean visit this aisle, full of Irish and British sweets, biscuits and drinks. A freezer holds Irish sausage and rashers (bacon), as well as black and white pudding and frozen rounds of soda bread.
People come for the favorite foods from home. But they stay to chat and reminisce, Colburn says.
Read more about the Irish Import Shop as a home away from home here in my latest City Beat story.
And scroll down here to check out my photos of the shop in the visual reporter's notebook I sent out on Twitter:
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.