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Morning Buzz: Monday 2.26.07

Welcome to the new (post-Oscar) week. Last week's Editor's Dozen of posts is here. Click below for today's Buzz.

Morning Buzz
Mark Lacter link
Shout out to South-Central and Carson
An emotional Forest Whitaker talked about growing up in South L.A. during his acceptance speech for the best actor Oscar. The show ran almost four hours and still had no time to acknowledge tubist Tommy Thompson.
Homeless funds disappoint
Efforts to commit $100 million to homeless programs in L.A. County have run into trouble. DN
Mayor's school board kitty
Mayor Villaraigosa's Partnership for Better Schools has pumped $807,701 into Tamar Galatzan campaign in the Valley, with the money really coming from Univision Chairman A. Jerrold Perenchio, the home health care workers union, producer Stephen Bing and Anschutz Entertainment Group. The Times' Howard Blume also reports that "Money from the mayor's committee is being kept out of District 1, with interested donors instructed by the mayor's allies to give directly to [Jonathan] Williams instead. Williams is challenging incumbent Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte. In both races, UTLA is on the other side from the mayor. LAT
Monday columns
Hymon/LAT: Huizar's coffee house for Boyle Heights.
Orlov/DN: Lesser presidential candidates in town.
What does a CAO do anyway?
County chief administrative officer David Janssen guests on Larry Mantle's AIrtalk about 10:40 am on KPCC 89.3
Probation for new baseball writer?
Kevin Baxter is the new LAT hire on the baseball beat, but in today's story on Juan Pierre there may be warning signs. It's a puff piece, but the Times always piles those on during spring training — source building for the long season, I guess. The more troublesome part is that Baxter gushes that "over the last four years, no NL player has collected more hits than Pierre, who has averaged 203 a season, leading the league twice." It's accurate, but he offers it as his main criteria for judging Pierre as a hitter. Let's hope he doesn't actually believe that Pierre is a premium offensive threat just because he is durable.
Annenberg announcements
USC Annenberg named Marty Kaplan, head of the Norman Lear Center on campus, the first occupant of the Norman Lear Chair in Entertainment, Media and Society. Also, associate professor of communication Josh Kun directs the new Popular Music Project, billed as a "one-stop home for the study and analysis of popular music that will bridge the USC campus with the music communities of Los Angeles." Info.
Layoffs at LA Weekly
A round of cutbacks last week hit only one editorial staffer, a copy editor I'm told.
TNR switches up
The New Republic is switching to a fortnightly with more pages in print and a revamped website.
Getting around
Sandra Tsing Loh reviews I'd Rather Eat Chocolate by Joan Sewell in the current Atlantic.
No more Postcards from Paris
The Times officially killed its least necessary blog, the one being written from Paris.
Jumped the shark
Sure sign that the LAT Current section's Outside the Tent feature has run its course: they used a piece on Sunday by Joseph Mailander, arguably (well, almost certainly) the least respected blogger in L.A.
LAFD blogger profiled
Brian Humphrey chats with Spare Change blogger and fan Nedra Weinreich. No word on when the fire department blog may return, or any detailed explanation as to why it has gone into hiatus.
Personal takes
Loaded deck in traffic court
Producer T. Alex Blum spent some time in traffic court in Santa Monica and came away convinced that you won't get a fair hearing if you challenge a ticket.
By the time the judge got to me, I had observed that every single case in which the officer took the trouble to appear was resolved in exactly the same way, regardless of how the defendants argued their cases or what evidence or witnesses they presented.

That entire morning, the judge never questioned or challenged a word uttered by a police officer. Several times during the proceedings, I observed officers looking over at their brothers in blue and smirking as they gave evidence. It was plain to me that the judge would accept the police officers' words without question or challenge.

Sadly, I came away thinking that, under these circumstances, a police officer might be tempted to clean up the details of his story, omit inconvenient facts, embellish or even lie outright, even if just for the sake of efficiency, when it appears the outcome is never in doubt.

New chair at UCLA Law
UCLA Law School is is planning to establish the nation's first endowed academic chair in sexual orientation law, using a $1 million gift from a gay couple. LAT
Journos at USC
LAT staff writer Cara Mia DiMassa discusses "The News and Public Policy: The Case of Skid Row" at 11:45 am for USC Annenberg and the USC Unruh Institute of Politics. Then at 7 pm, NYT columnist Thomas Friedman gives the President's Distinguished Lecture. on Iraq and international relations.

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