Index
Friday
Nov212014

POLITICS/MEDIA: U.S. visit, Prince William, Duchess Kate: Dress code for journalists (including technicians), various reports ....

* New York Daily News:  "Prince William, Kate Middleton's U.S. visit will mandate reporters follow dress code" - "U.S. reporters applying to cover a visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to New York and Washington next month have been reminded of Buckingham Palace's posted policy on proper dress for covering the royal family."

* ABC News:  "Duchess Kate and Prince William: Reporters Covering Their US Visit Must Adere to a Dress Code"

* New York Post:  "Don't wear jeans if you want to interview Prince William and Kate"

* Daily Mail:  "Dress smartly, no texting and no walking backwards: Timely reminder on etiquette for US journalists with just a few weeks until William and Kate arrive on royal visit"

Friday
Nov212014

DEVELOPMENT/URBAN AFFAIRS: Los Angeles real estate, Zillow report, L.A. Weekly: "The Good News Is That More Homes Are on the Market in L.A." ....  

* LA Weekly:  "The Good News Is That More Homes Are on the Market in L.A." - From the Weekly:

L.A. is one of the most expensive cities in America when it comes to paying rent or buying a house. But the folks at real estate website Zillow have at least a little good news for us today. They say L.A.'s relatively low number of homes for sale is on the rise. The market is loosening up.

Inventory in Los Angeles is up nearly 20 percent compared to last year, Zillow says. Even better, if you ask us, is the news that inventory for the lowest-priced homes is up 27.3 percent compared to 2013. In the so-called "middle tier" of homes, we're talking 25 percent more listings, says the site.  And, hey, if you're a baller, there are 10 percent more homes on the market in the high-end category, too, Zillow says.

Now the bad news: Prices aren't coming down, it would seem. Zillow says L.A. home values are up 7.1 percent compared to last year. The Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) is at $530,400, which means it will probably cost you half a million dollars to get a typical roof over your head in the market. And median rentals are up 4.2 percent, with the Zillow Rent Index hovering at a steep $2,429. (Zillow's rental data tends to skew higher, toward single-family homes).

The site reports that there were more homes for sale in 25 of the 35 largest metro areas across the nation compared to last fall.

So does this mean that the insane, post-recession housing market we've seen in L.A. is starting to cool off? Maybe a little. Here's what Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries says.....................

Friday
Nov212014

POLITICS (National): U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Ferguson, Mo. grand jury deliberations, law enforcement concerns: "Holder frustrated with Mo. governor over actions before Ferguson grand jury decision" .... 

* Washington Post:  "Holder frustrated with Mo. governor over actions before Ferguson grand jury decision" - From the WP:

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has expressed concerns privately to Missouri officials this week about their recent actions in advance of a grand jury’s decision in the Michael Brown case.

A top aide to Holder called the office of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) earlier this week to express Holder’s displeasure and “frustration” that the governor had declared a state of emergency at a news conference and activated the National Guard in advance of the grand jury decision in the Ferguson shooting, expected to be announced in the next few days, according to a Justice Department official.

“Instead of de-escalating the situation, the governor escalated it,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the subject. “He sent the wrong message. The tone of the press conference was counterproductive.”

Senior Justice officials also told U.S. attorneys around the country on Tuesday to be in close touch with local police to prepare for any possible violence in their cities, should the grand jury decision not result in an indictment of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Brown, an unarmed black teenager, on Aug. 9.

On Friday, Holder released a video.......................

Friday
Nov212014

L.A. CITY HALL: Development, downtown Los Angeles: "Long-Stalled Hotels Could Open in 2015" ....

* Downtown News:  "Long-Stalled Hotels Could Open in 2015" - From the DTN:

A pair of Downtown dead zones could finally return to life next year, following a Central Area Planning Commission ruling in favor of the owner, who had long clashed with an influential local union.

The Clark Hotel, at 426 S. Hill St., and the Embassy Hotel, at 831 S. Grand Ave., have both been owned for more than a decade by New York’s Chetrit Group. The company’s effort to turn the long-shuttered structures into boutique hotels screeched to a halt when hotel workers union Unite HERE Local 11 filed appeals. Although the union raised questions about the projects’ environmental impact reports, most observers believed the opposition was related to whether the hotels would hire union workers.

On Oct. 28, the five-person commission denied the appeals on both hotels, allowing them to move forward with permits. No further appeals will be considered, according to the CAPC.

The Clark and Embassy are slated to open in about four and eight months, respectively, said Elizabeth Peterson, who is representing the projects. Both buildings have secured their certificate of occupancy, she added.

   ****

The hotels’ slated openings would likely coincide with the start of the city’s new minimum wage for hotels................

Friday
Nov212014

POLITICS (National, Local/Los Angeles): Department of Veterans Affairs, West Los Angeles campus, editorial: "Construction must stop on West L.A. VA property that's in dispute" ....  

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "Construction must stop on West L.A. VA property that's in dispute" - From the LAT:

When a federal judge ruled last year that the Department of Veterans Affairs had abused its authority by leasing land on its expansive campus in West Los Angeles, he didn't order the VA to kick out its tenants immediately. But it's surprising to learn that one of those tenants on an invalidated lease is now building an outdoor amphitheater on the grounds.

The lawsuit that led to the ruling was filed by several public interest law groups on behalf of homeless and severely mentally disabled veterans. It contended that the VA had illegally leased land to organizations and businesses that were not specifically providing healthcare resources for veterans — as Congress requires of any land-sharing agreement with the VA. In August 2013, U.S. District Judge James Otero agreed and voided the leases, but stayed enforcement pending an appeal. Mediation efforts between the parties recently broke down, and appeals are planned.

One of those leases is held by the Veterans Park Conservancy, a nonprofit, privately funded group that has worked since the late 1980s on preserving and enhancing the VA grounds. In 2007, the VA leased the conservancy 16 acres. Among other things, the conservancy created the Historic Women Veterans Rose Garden on that land.

Now the conservancy has broken ground on the Hollywood Canteen Amphitheater, an outdoor pavilion that, according to its website, will be an entertainment venue as well as a space for “alternative wellness therapies” such as tai chi, painting and yoga for veterans and their families. That may sound well-intentioned, but lawyers for the homeless veterans see it as a violation of Otero's ruling and have asked him to issue a restraining order stopping the construction. Otero should make sure that it stops now..........................