It was only a decade or so ago, but it's getting harder and harder to remember that then-California Coastal Commissioner Ruth Galanter rode into her L.A. City Council office under the banner of "slow growth." Her mantra then: too much traffic, too much pollution, too many concessions to developers. Her mantra since then: Let's make a deal.
We're not just talking Playa Vista here, the long-embattled mega-project Galanter campaigned against but, once in office, won approval for after developers agreed to restore an additional 70 acres of the Ballona Creek Wetlands.
In recent weeks, Galanter has been going to bat for another development she took on back in her pre-City Hall days: the Howard Hughes Center, a planned 2.4-million-square-foot office-and-hotel complex in the sleepy community of Westchester. Make that the once sleepy Westchester. Much to the dismay of many local residents, Galanter helped win approval last month for a massive "retail-entertainment complex" - a 22-screen multiplex, an IMAX theater, a Nordstrom's Rack, restaurants, shops, the works, essentially - developers plan to add to the massive project. A mini-Century City if you will, which should make getting to LAX all the more peachy.
Now Galanter will tout the concessions she so deftly wrangled from the developer in exchange for her support - the elimination of a 26-story office building, the overall lowering of the remaining six office buildings, etc. But as her Westside constituents digest these bromides, they might want to remember that Galanter also once pledged to never take campaign contributions from developers with controversial projects in her district. Last time we looked, her coffers were fat with dough from lawyers and consultants working for said developers - including at least half a dozen working on the Hughes Center project itself. Galanter calls this sticking by her pledge. To us it sounds like a cop-out.
Ruth, you've come a long way, baby.
Too Old To Rock?
Can it be that KPFK, that once-proud bastion of progressivism and political correctness, has itself succumbed to that newest and latest of isms - ageism - in its ongoing efforts to revamp the station's programming lineup?
This past Saturday, KPFK's new management team pulled the plug on one of the station's longest-running shows, 12 O'Clock Rock, DJ Andrea 'Enthal's weekly showcase of underground and punk rock.
According to 'Enthal, she had been warned by program director Kathy Lo some months ago that plans were in the works to ice the show because station management considered the 44-year-old 'Enthal "too old."
Do the folks at KPFK understand the difference between "old" and "legendary"? For 18 years, 'Enthal has been spinning a raw mix of cutting-edge underground in her Saturday midnight time slot. The show's semiregular live sets introduced listeners to seminal alt-rock and experimental artists like Fear, Minutemen and Dream Syndicate, which released a much-revered CD of their in-studio performance. Today 'Enthal can still be found scouring the racks at local indie record stores for new releases by musical upstarts both snotty and sublime. Okay, we're a little biased. Last week, in our "Best of L.A." issue, we named 'Enthal's show one of the 10 best after midnight.
Program director Lo admits to being younger than 'Enthal (though she wouldn't give her exact age, sources put her in the "late 20s, early 30s" bracket) but emphatically denies that the DJ's age was a factor in her firing. The problem, she says, was a conflict over programming policy and that the type of music 'Enthal was playing can be heard elsewhere on the dial. Other than that, she says, she "doesn't feel it's productive to talk about it in the press."
'Enthal, meanwhile, is planning to file a grievance with the station.
Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.
Crime is down. Violent crime is way down. So why is the LAPD still trying to convince us that we are all on the verge of becoming victims of crime?
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We refer to a 10-page "informational circular" distributed recently as part of the department's "Personal Security Month" activities. (September was officially designated Personal Security Month, in case you missed it.) Take the preamble: "Los Angeles attracts all types of people, and the majority of them are law-abiding." Only a majority? 51 percent? "However, you have no way of knowing who is and who is not." In other words, it's not only the criminally inclined 49 percent you have to worry about, but everyone who crosses your path. (Here we are getting some insight into the LAPD psyche.)
There follows a staggering 172-point crime-prevention plan, which, if you followed all of it, would have you thinking about nothing but your impending victimization for months.
Here are some samples from the section on driving: "Never allow your gasoline gauge to fall below the quarter-tank level." "Drive with all car doors locked." "Keep windows rolled up whenever possible." (So much for enjoying So Cal in a convertible.) And our favorite: "If you see another motorist in trouble, do not stop."
According to the city charter, the department's mission is to "reduce crime and fear of crime." The department's informal mission of maintaining its status as the most prominent institution in the city, however, seems to depend on cultivating a paranoid populace. Give us a break.