FROM Martha Groves
Preservationists Raise Concerns over Historic VA Properties All over the country, 100's of designated historic landmarks are at risk of being destroyed because of neglect by the Veterans' Administration. That's according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The VA's Westwood campus has three dozen historic buildings, and two are on the National Register of Historic Places . Both of them may face the wrecking ball. Martha Groves reports for the LA Times .
Mountain Lion Prowls Griffith Park Since it was established, there have been rumors of mountain lions living in Griffith Park, but they seemed less and less likely as the Park was surrounded by urban expansion, including freeways. But federal officials have now revealed pictures of a lion they're calling P-22, accidentally photographed by a remote camera setup for a wildlife survey.
UCLA and the Sale of a Cultural Treasure Residents of Bel Air aren't known for community activism, but they'll hold a meeting tomorrow night on UCLA's planned sale of the Hannah Carter Japanese Garden, donated by a former UC regent with the promise that UCLA would maintain it "in perpetuity."
Traffic Snarls without Warning There's more trouble ahead for traffic in Westwood and the Sepulveda Pass. Metro's weeks of warning about "Carmageddon" gave drivers plenty of time to plan alternatives to using the 405 through the Sepulveda Pass for one weekend this past July. But this morning, Metro started three months of reduced lanes on Sepulveda Boulevard without any public notice until last Friday. It waited until then to issue a press release advising motorists to "plan ahead and allow additional time to reach their destinations."
Homeless Vets and the VA The number of homeless American veterans has dropped in the past two years, but Los Angeles still has 6000, roughly 10 percent of the nation's total, and a recent lawsuit says many ought to be housed on Veterans Administration property on the Westside of LA. Some 387 acres were dedicated for that purpose back in 1888, but since the 1960's, much of the land's been converted for rental-car storage, a hotel laundry, the UCLA baseball team and the Brentwood School. This week, the VA issued a press release describing plans for modernization.
Saudi Prince Downsizes His MegaMansion Last week, the City of Los Angeles took a stand against over-sized homes. The so-called Hillside Mansionization Ordinance imposes restrictions based on parcel size, the steepness of slopes and other factors. Now super-agent Michael Ovitz and other residents of Beverly Hills have taken matters into their own hands. A son of Saudi King Abdullah has agreed to reduce his residential compound from 85,000 square feet to 52,000. Martha Groves has followed the story for the LA Times .
19th Century Remains Remind LA of Its History It took 15 years to resolve the conflict over remains of a thousand Native Americans discovered during construction of the massive Playa Vista development on LA's Westside. They were stored in cardboard boxes in a trailer parked on the site, until 2007, when they were removed, covered with white seashells and buried again during a sacred ceremony. Two and a half weeks ago, the remains of a hundred people stopped construction of a Mexican-American cultural center in downtown Los Angeles. The downtown site isn't the only ancient cemetery that's aroused local passions and possible legal action. The City of LA has designated as "extremely historic" land in Santa Monica Canyon surrounding the Marquez Family Cemetery , which holds the remains dating back to the early 1900's.
LA's Measure H; Beverly Hills' Measure Q Since 1997, the Los Angeles Unified School District has raised $20 billion, $14 billion from four bond measures and the rest from matching funds. That money is for building new schools and re-building old ones, and there's still $6 billion left. But now, LAUSD has come up with Measure Q , yet another bond issue to raise $7 billion more, as Howard Fine reports for the LA Business Journal. Meantime, in affluent Beverly Hills, the burning issue is a referendum on the City Council's decision to allow the Beverly Hilton Hotel to remake itself into something resembling New York's Waldorf-Astoria, along with two luxury condo towers 16 and 18 stories high. The Beverly Hilton is at the intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards. Martha Groves covers the lifestyles of Beverly Hills residents, rich, famous and otherwise.
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?