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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Real Estate

Yay! L.A.'s Crazy Home Prices Are "Losing Steam"

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Wed, Nov 26, 2014 at 7:03 AM
Average income earners in L.A. can't afford to buy an average house in this market, plain-and-simple. A spring report found that Angelenos with a median household income of $53,284 could only realistically afford to buy a $276,000 home. And good luck finding one of those around here. In fact, a median household income will barely get you an average two-bedroom apartment in L.A.


But the news on the housing front might be improving. We recently told you that an increasing number of homes were coming to market. And now, a report released today by real estate data site RealtyTrac says prices are starting to cool off in L.A.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UPDATE at 9:58 p.m., Nov. 25, 2014: The freeway blockers have dispersed. More at the bottom.

A second night of protests over the decision by a grand jury not to indict an officer in the shooting of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Mo. saw demonstrators block the 101 freeway downtown tonight.

See also: Ferguson Decision Inspires Traffic-Blocking Protests in L.A. (PHOTOS)

California Highway Patrol officers moved in to disperse the crowd shortly after 9 p.m. The group seems to have broken off from protesters who stood outside Los Angeles Police Department headquarters at First and Main streets downtown.

Demonstrators allegedly threw barricades and other items onto the freeway from the Grand Avenue bridge in order to stop traffic before trickling into lanes.

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  • File photo by Uber
An Uber driver was stabbed in the face and neck during a robbery early today in South Los Angeles, police said.

The attack in the 600 block of West 61st Street was reported at 3:45 a.m., Los Angeles Police Department Officer Drake Madison told us.

The driver had stopped there to pick up two people he thought comprised his fare, said LAPD Sgt. John Mumma. When he began to believe the suspects weren't the people he was supposed to pick up, the driver asked for directions, the sergeant said.

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Casual curses are the most effective.” —William Burroughs.  “Don’t drink Jobu’s rum. It’s very bad. It’s very bad.” —Pedro Serrano, Major League.

It’s superficially absurd to wonder if the Los Angeles Lakers are cursed. The 16 championship banners hanging from the Staples Center rafters, $4 billion TV deal and generally sanctified history, at least theoretically, offer evidence to the contrary. But whether you’re MacBeth, Sleeping Beauty, or Alex Rodriguez, even the most favorably blessed at birth can fall victim to the wrong coven.

In order to trace the source of tribulations, I consulted a wiccan, a feng shui expert, a psychic and a shaman to determine if the hex is real and what can be done about it.

“I’m sensing a foreign dark energy that started attaching itself to the team around the Chris Paul trade,” says Justine Kenzer, proprietor of — an opinion mirrored by basketball and paranormal experts alike. “And it seems to be coming from really far away. It’s a foreign dark energy invading the team, not an internal one.”

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  • LAPD
A robber who targeted a Melrose Avenue ATM user in Hollywood is now being targeted by the Los Angeles Police Department.

The LAPD last night put the suspect's photo on blast, so to speak, distributing it to the world at large with the hope that someone might recognize him.

It's not clear if detectives believe the guy has allegedly done this more than once, but here's what cops are telling us:

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California is the richest state in the union, given that we're the largest and that we have a massive population of wealthy people.

But, at the same time, we also have the nation's poorest residents. A lot of them. Yes, the Golden State is so big that it occupies both extremes of rich and poor.

On the upcoming occasion of Black Friday, the people over at personal finance website WalletHub analyzed personal spending—on food, gas, cars and more—in America to come up with a list of "2014′s States with the Biggest Spenders." California ranked near the bottom, you cheapskates.

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  • David Stanley/Flickr
Y'all must be thankful for the jackpot you are about to receive, because Las Vegas is the number one destination for SoCal travelers this Thanksgiving.

So says the Automobile Club of Southern California, which this week revealed its list of "top destinations" for Southern California tourists over the holiday weekend (see it below).

The Auto Club also echoes previous reports on the topic: Traffic will be worse this year as a result of a recovering economy and lower gas prices, which have inspired people to get on the road for their turkey and other delights.

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  • Illustration by Mike Ray

For eight days each November, the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel closes down. Guests of the luxury hotel — who typically pay $500 or more a night — are turned away, as the entire place is handed over to movie executives from more than 70 countries.

This is the American Film Market, or AFM, which for 35 years has operated a thriving swap meet for independent filmmakers and distributors. Each hotel room is converted into a temporary office, where producers pitch buyers on their slate of films.

Over the years, a rough hierarchy has emerged. The major players in the independent world — the Weinstein Company, Lionsgate, StudioCanal — have suites on the hotel's top floor, with dramatic Pacific Ocean views. The less established companies — the ones that may be at their first AFM, or their last — are crammed into the lower floors, with views of the street.

On opening day of the American Film Market, the hotel lobby is a cacophonous din of broken English. It's like the United Nations, except instead of diplomats it's full of movie people in blazers and open-collared shirts. Foreign governments are formally represented. Many of them have booths where they try to entice producers with tax credits. "Come shoot in South Africa," says one banner. "35% rebate." Next to the front door is a big stack of trade publications. The major trade papers all produce "show dailies" — big, glossy magazines on the deals happening inside this very hotel.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

UPDATE at 11:32 p.m., Nov. 24, 2014: Protesters blocked the 110 freeway near downtown. Find more details below.

A decision by a St. Louis County grand jury not to bring criminal charges against the white cop who shot an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo. in summer has sparked demonstrations from coast to coast.

In Los Angeles protesters blocked traffic in Leimert Park, Beverly Hills, Exposition Park, Mid-City and Westwood, keeping Los Angeles Police Department officers, who were on tactical alert, and other law-enforcement agencies busy throughout the evening.

However, attempts to get on freeways were thwarted [until they weren't; see more below]:

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  • Camp of Champions/Flickr
With temperatures in the 80s forecast through Thanksgiving, we wouldn't blame you if your snowboard has been stuffed in your closet without much hope of coming out.

But the folks at Snow Summit and Bear Mountain say this is the week to dust that board off. Snow Summit is scheduled to open for the season on Wednesday and Bear Mountain opens Black Friday.

Is it even cold enough overnight to produce artificial snow?

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