Stanley Bard, long time proprietor of the Bohemian Chelsea Hotel and a “Robin Hood” of innkeepers, dies at 82 in Florida

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March 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

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Arthur Miller at left, Arnold Weinstein center, and Stanley Bard at right

in photo by Rita Barros.

By Mary Reinholz

The old red brick building on the west side of downtown Manhattan was once home to luminaries like Dylan Thomas, Arthur Miller, Joni Mitchell and any number of wannabes and miscreants who needed an affordable place to crash. This one time crucible of creativity is nearly empty now, a ghostly construction site as renovations at the world famous Chelsea Hotel drag on.

All the paintings and sculpture that once hung on the lobby walls or dangled from the ceiling, many donated by grateful residents in lieu of back rent, were put in storage years ago or reportedly sold after Stanley Bard, the Chelsea’s late long time proprietor, was ousted in 2007 from his position as manager and majority owner by the hotel’s board of directors. I knew Bard back in the day and believe that coup broke his heart. Read more

IT’S TIME FOR PACIFIC PALISADES TO BUILD ITS OWN WALL

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March 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

Kevin Nealon- Honorary Mayor

Mayor Kevin Nealon: An accomplished crime fighter, but were his election results tainted?

By BOB VICKREY

After reading the latest crime report in our local paper, I’m calling upon the citizens of Pacific Palisades to come together and build a wall around our town.

Just the other day I read that two CD’s were stolen from a vehicle parked along Swarthmore Avenue. And twice last week my newspaper went missing from my driveway. This rampant crime wave is out of control and must be stopped before it gets even worse.

You may have noticed that we’ve been attracting a bad element recently from Santa Monica and Brentwood—not to mention the celebrity types from Malibu that are crossing our border. Many of these people are known stockbrokers, accountants, entertainment lawyers—and even worse!

I’m sure there are some good people from these places but they are not sending their best. Read more

MY PAL DIVAD SREGDOR

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March 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

 

 

David Rodgers

David Rodgers

 

By Tony Cloud

(Editors note: The writer remembers his boyhood friend David Rodgers here in this short essay. I’ve known Tony Cloud since we were young kids, so you can imagine my pleasant surprise in recently discovering his creative and fresh voice as a storyteller. You will notice no explanation is offered for the reversal of letters in the title—a subtle nod to their boyhood secret code of friendship.—Bob Vickrey)

Yep, Ole Divad was something special.

An old friend from way back in the Cub Scout days, he was.

Karen and I drove to Lake Charles to witness his hitching when we were expecting our first daughter fairly quickly

Sure was hoping all would work out and we could get back across the Sabine in time so I wouldn’t have to break the news later to her that she was a “coon-ass” by birth. Read more

Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative Holds Conference, Issues One-Year Progress Report

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March 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

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Leslie Evans

In February 2016 the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted a 47-point strategy to combat homelessness under the title the Homeless Initiative. One year later, on February 8, 2017, they sponsored the First Annual Homeless Initiative Conference. Little reported (no article in the LA Times), almost 500 civic leaders gathered at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels for an all-day session.

Opening speakers included County Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Janice Hahn and the mayors of Inglewood and Whittier. Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke later in the program. There was an extensive review of the year’s progress, chaired by Phil Ansell, Director of the Homeless Initiative. Presenters were from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), the County Housing Authority and Department of Mental Health, and the Sheriff’s Department. Read more

LUNCH CLUB WELCOMES A NEW MEMBER

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March 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

 

 

Taverna Tony patio

All photos by Barry Stein.

 

By Bob Vickrey

In the last couple of years since our monthly lunch club began visiting some of Southern California’s most famous and historic restaurants, we’ve been pressured by many friends who have expressed strong interest in joining our four-man group.

We have managed to resist until now, but we finally realized that four senior citizens like ourselves could use someone with a good memory. Sometimes it takes all four of us to tell a story and recall all the events that took place. I think we may have found that person.

Her name is Siri. She is courteous. She’s quiet. She doesn’t speak unless spoken to, and she doesn’t take up much space at the table. You may know her as the voice of the Google app on your cell phone. Siri has become an important member of our team recently and has been an invaluable resource as we each struggle to remember a fact that once came to mind so easily. Read more

New Book by Lionel Rolfe: “The Fat Man Returns”

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February 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

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This is a sequel to The Fat Man on The Left: Four Decades in the Underground, published in 1998. The first book came about when author Lionel Rolfe wrote about Rush Limbaugh in the San Francisco Chronicle, before Limbaugh was particularly famous. From there it traced many curious byways of the newspaper business and characters that business comes in contact with. The new volume is a series of essays focused on the Bohemian life and literature of California. It tells about musicians and actors, writers and poets, but also politics, philosophy, city planning, and the ugliness of human beings toward animals—everything from elephants to birds. Here you will find keyboard pioneer George Duke, Yoga teacher Indra Devi, dying Sierra glaciers, the coffee house scene of the 60s in Venice, labor organizing, Echo Park bohemians, the decline of the Los Angeles Times, the once-famous L.A. Free Press, and other matters of great import. Rolfe also squarely faces his own left wing politics, and admits it hasn’t changed him during the decades of his life. At the end, he returns to our brutal treatment of the animal world—“Are We Really The Smartest Creatures on Earth.”

Available now from Amazon:

Paperback: $12.95  Kindle: $9.50

 

Trump’s Attacks on the Press get Fierce Blowback from Top NYC Journalists

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February 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

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Sold out crowd at NYU’s Skirball Center auditorium

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From left, Lydia Polgreen, Huffington Post; Jacob Weisberg, Slate; Borja Echevarria,  vice president and editor- in- chief of Univision and David Remnick, The New Yorker

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CNN’s Brian Stelter, moderator

Photos by Mary Reinholz

By MARY REINHOLZ

Article 12, Virginia Declaration of Rights, 1776: “…The freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty and can never be restrained but by despotic governments.”

He has demonized reporters as among “the most dishonest creatures on earth.” Stephen K. Bannon, his rightwing chief strategist, has called them the “opposition party” and said they should just “shut up.”

Donald J. Trump’s long running war against the traditionally Democratic press grinds on. But five days into his first term as Republican president of the United States, the former real estate mogul turned commander in chief got some fierce blowback from a group of top journalists meeting on stage at New York University’s Skirball Center auditorium in Greenwich Village.

They had gathered there for a panel discussion, titled “Not The New Normal,” on how to cover America’s new president in a changing media landscape pockmarked by fake news, “alternative facts” and outright lies, many emanating from the White House, they said. Read more

What Is A Nation?

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February 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

Trump says if you don’t have borders you don’t have a nation. That’s wrong. A nation is not geography, it’s a group of peoples with a common culture who agree to be a nation. There are no borders in nature. Look at a rainbow. Red blends into orange, blue blends into green, and so on. Borders are like children drawing a chalk line on the playground and play fighting over the line. Great fun when applied to football games; deadly when applied to reality. If there are no borders, there are no border wars. As John Lennon said, “Imagine there’s no countries, it’s easy if you try.”

John Owen

Los Angeles

What Happens If There Are No Borders?

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February 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

Leslie Evans

John Owens raises an understandable discomfort with national borders in the era of Donald Trump and Steve Bannon. Their unfeeling extremism and ultra-nationalism are reprehensible and contrary to more widely accepted American values.

Our country has gone back and forth on this issue for a long time. The massive wave of immigration from Russia and Eastern and Southern Europe from the 1880s led to the extremely restrictive rules of the 1924 Immigration Act, which set quotas that virtually excluded everybody except from the major West European countries like Germany and France, and from Great Britain.

The 1965 revision opened the gates pretty broadly, especially with its family reunification provisions. Nevertheless, even that liberal reinterpretation did not simply throw the doors open to all comers.

Nations are not at all just groups of people who think alike and chose to live together. Great Britain is the result of centuries of warfare with the Scottish, Irish, and Welsh. Spain, France, Germany, and Italy, are all states that were formed through the forcible unification of many rival principalities. Read more

LUNCH CLUB DEVELOPS A CASE OF SPITFIRE GRILL ENVY

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February 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

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BY BOB VICKREY

Photos by Barry Stein

From the moment our monthly lunch club entered the Spitfire Grill restaurant in Santa Monica, I began envisioning a place like this in our own village.

This informal neighborhood bistro and bar across the street from the Santa Monica Airport felt immediately like home as we were escorted to our table—and as I simultaneously began helping Rick Caruso plan his Palisades Village Project with an excellent restaurant choice for his consideration.

The “Spitfire” had its roots in the old Lindaire Coffee Shop that opened on the same site in 1954 by a young Air Force Lieutenant who had grown tired of the complaining by his fellow pilots at Douglas Aircraft about having nowhere to eat in the airport area. The restaurant quickly became the favored dining spot and hangout for the aircraft workers at Douglas as well as for the employees of nearby Clover Field. Read more

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