Dunga Brook Diary: Big Swinging Balls 

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November 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

The horse, of course


by Vicki Whicker

I bought my house sight unseen from a post on Facebook. I am probably going to say that more than once in this monthly column. Maybe once each month. I don’t think it can be stressed enough. Sight unseen!

I don’t need a lot of information. When something comes at me, I either say yes or no, there is no weighing of the options—I’m not calling my therapist, no friends are consulted, certainly not parents (long gone by this time, anyhow), my ex and his wife aren’t in on it, I might have mentioned it to my son and my best friends but I wasn’t looking for input. It’s just me, myself and I. Read more

Remembering Former Colleague Digby Diehl: Journalist, Author, Literary critic and “ghost whisperer” to Natalie Cole, Patti LuPone, Dan Rather and Esther Williams-for starters

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November 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

Digby Diehl with Patti LuPone at NYC launch party for her memoir circa 2010 (Getty Images)

By Mary Reinholz

The late journalist Digby Diehl, a longtime Pasadena resident, was an author, co-author and a literary critic — a big, bearded guy who sometimes gave the impression that life for him was a day at the beach. I first got to know him nearly 50 years ago when he assigned me books to review for Coast, a fine arts guide, and later for the Los Angeles Times. Then I moved to New York. We had one lunch in Greenwich Village when I was working for Women’s Wear Daily. He was running a prestigious publishing firm. Read more

Ron Galperin’s Report on Homeless Camps

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November 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

Leslie Evans

What is L.A. doing with the camps while waiting for housing and shelters to be built?

A read through the 46 dense pages on homeless camps released September 27 by City Controller Ron Galperin reveals a maze of overlapping jurisdictions that have difficulty communicating with each other, laws that are sometimes ambiguous, often not enforced, legal restrictions, and stalled plans to expand storage facilities for homeless belongings, still limited after years of discussion to a single building in Skid Row.

That doesn’t mean that nothing is being done. There is clearly an aggressive effort to clean up street camps. The devil, as usual, is in the details. Read more

A Glimpse Of Dust Unto Shadow

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November 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

[Seven years ago first-time author Linda LaRoche gained entry into her genealogy by documents she found through The Church of Latter Day Saints. She had been told her family’s roots were in Mexico. But records indicated she descended from Criollos (Spaniards living in Mexico that kept their blood lines pure). Amazed by her findings she began to ask questions. Her mother, who had been an intensely private woman had not shared her family history other than their migration from a comfortable life in Northern California to Santa Clara, a village outside of Guadalajara, Jalisco. But approaching her twilight years, her voice grew steady and louder and her memories were vivid. LaRoche, documented as if she had become a trustee, a conduit to honor the past. She heard about violence, injustice, a lack of humanity and disrespect for life that brought tears to her eyes. The resulting portrait is illustrated in Dust Unto Shadow, a sensitive collection of short stories told in her mother’s voice and written with Hispanic folklore chronicling the quest in living for love.
Copies are available at: http://www.lindalaroche.com/resume_linda_laroche.htm  ]

This is an excerpt:

We fought a lot in Santa Clara. Not just to fend off enemies but to fit in. Maybe because there was little to do or maybe it was because that’s what we had learned by watching my father take out his rage on my mother, and as kids we took it out on each other, or maybe it was because life was hard and it made people hard or maybe it was because we were cramped, and it was dirty but whatever the reason it seemed that everyone had to fight. Read more

A Bank Violates Its Trust

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November 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 
By Les Zador

Some months back I sent out a newsletter about one of my ongoing cases.  My client was another personal injury lawyer, and his bank that helped itself to money in his attorney-client trust account to cover itself for money it (mistakenly) claimed that my client owed the bank in his personal capacity.   It was an interesting case then, and it became a more interesting case once I had the opportunity to take the deposition of a couple of the bank’s employees who had been involved in the decision to invade my client’s attorney-client trust account to cover what even the bank knew was, at best, a personal debt.  The case finally settled, but on terms that must remain confidential.  I am, however, at liberty, to discuss the facts of the case, which are interesting even for the interesting times in which we live.

Read more

Dunga Brook Diary: Bucolic Madness

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October 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

Vicki Whicker: Central New York Country Girl.

[Vicki Whicker six years ago decided to leave Los Angeles. She packed up, bought an old farmhouse in Central New York State, and now chronicles her journey by iPhone photography, as well as with her prose (https://www.facebook.com/vicki.whicker ). Many follow her on Facebook as she posts her photos of the lush countryside, accompanied by her remarkable writing. (She is included in the anthology Twelve Los Angeles Poets (https://smile.amazon.com/Twelve-Los-Angeles-Poets-Onthebus/dp/0941017141/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1506735743&sr=8-1&keywords=twelve+los+angeles+poets )


Vicki Whicker

This diary is not for LA lovers, there are plenty of you and this is not for you. Undecided LA newbies? Only fires, floods, riots, earthquakes and time will tell.

This diary is a cautionary-tale for the LA denizens who find themselves involuntarily perusing (nights, lunch hours, before coffee) the web, looking for little places with a big spaces where the air is clean and the water plentiful, where there may be a cow or two, definitely chickens, a place where (they imagine) dollars go further, and traffic-jams consist of tractors chugging sun-dappled roads, a place where you can definitely afford to own an 1820’s farmhouse. Read more

To Live and Drive in LA

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October 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

By Bob Vickrey

I knew this day would eventually arrive that would require a dreaded in-person visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles—a premise that Stephen King should have considered as a theme for one of his chilling thrillers.

I found out recently that after reaching a certain age (you’ll find out soon enough what that age is,) the DMV will no longer automatically issue your license renewal by mail. It had been 20 years since I had been required to actually visit a branch—apparently because I had not been involved in an accident, nor been cited for any moving violations, and had not robbed any major banking institutions since the last renewal period. Read more

LA County to Field 38 Homeless Outreach Teams

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October 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

C3 homeless outreach team in Downtown Skid Row. Photo: Curbed Los Angeles

Leslie Evans

Who runs them? What do they do? What’s new about this?

As the Los Angeles homeless crisis has deepened, county and city government, with county health agencies in the lead, have been investing in new and more comprehensive homeless outreach teams. City Council member Jose Huizar, whose district includes Skid Row, on September 8 announced that sufficient funding is now in place to boost the number of teams, now roughly 25, to 38 by the end of the year. Read more


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October 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

Lunch group with Madeo owner Gianni Vietina (standing). All photos by Barry Stein.


By Bob Vickrey

Our monthly lunch club decided to check out Madeo Italian Restaurant in West Hollywood after it was announced that our town will have its own branch of the famous trattoria when the new Palisades Village Project opens in 2018.

Madeo is known as one of the best Italian restaurants in the city of Los Angeles and it also has a reputation as a place where first-time customers may flinch at their menu prices. But our group appreciates fine food, so we forged ahead after draining our bank accounts beforehand.

I took a quick look at the online menu before arriving and noticed the Dover Sole, which is flown in from Holland—and is all yours for $72. Maybe their printed menu would offer a trout amandine entrée (“trucked in” from Malibu Creek) at a slightly friendlier price. Read more

Motel Conversions for Homeless Housing

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October 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary · Comment 

1057 Vine Street, Hollywood motel conversion to homless housing by Step Up on Vine.

Leslie Evans

There are plenty of aging motels, some abandoned and others barely scraping by. City governments, nonprofits, current owners, and developers are discovering that one promising possibility is to convert them to efficiency units for the homeless, especially homeless veterans.

Los Angeles in May 2017 approved a plan to create 500 apartments for homeless vets. 400 of the units are to be created by a partnership between the Shangri-La Construction company and the Step Up on Second nonprofit homeless support agency. The other 100 will be developed at one North Hollywood motel by the Volunteers of America. Read more

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