Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Email from the BABCNC re. Prop B (Solar Energy)

Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council
We received the e-mail below as part of the lively debate regarding Prop B.  Please note that this is not the position of the Bel Air Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council, rather provided to you as information regarding this important issue.
Thank you.

City Hall Political Machine Tries to Intimidate Activist Community

Lawsuit Seeks to Squelch Public Debate on Solar Energy Fraud

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and his team of lobbyists, strategists and pay-to-play cronies have sued the eight people who signed the No. on Prop. B ballot argument -- an attempt at intimidation under the guise of law.

This measure isn't about solar energy and has nothing to do with the largest solar energy initiative ever undertaken. The City Council and mayor could initiate that by their own actions. This is solely about paying blackmail to the DWP and its IBEW union which have blocked solar projects for a decade and would have exclusivity on large-scale projects under this measure.

The Solar Eight -- Jack Humphreville, Soledad Garcia, Humberto Camacho, Kristine Lee, Nick Patsaouras, Joe Pulido, James O'Sullivan and me -- will not be silenced by this tactic.

But our lives have made difficult as we need to respond in court on Tuesday to the allegations that are ballot argument is false and misleading. We were unable to find a lawyer knowledgeable in city election law because this was dropped on us during Christmas week but Noel Weiss, candidate for City Attorney, has now volunteered to provide us help in putting together our pleading. The next hearing in court is Jan. 8.

Stephen Kaufman's law firm, which represents the mayor, eight City Council members and a host of other political figures, is handling the case for the City Hall political machine for the named plaintiff, Mitchell Schwartz, a high-powered environmental lobbyist.

This isn't just an attempt to squelch the Solar Eight or the debate over this phony ballot measure but a direct assault on everyone's right to freedom of speech and to participate in the political and electoral process.

We need support from Neighborhood Councils, homeowner and resident groups, service clubs, churches and every individual who cares about L.A. This is a defining moment. We need to come together and stop the political machine that is destroying the city. If we won't fight as one against these tactics and this dirty deal, I don't know that we ever will.

The March 3 primary gives us the chance to change L.A., to elect candidates to the City Controller's and City Attorney's offices who can stand for the community. Villaraigosa, Wendy Greuel and Jack Weiss along with the 15 obedient council members will have nothing in their way if they prevail in this election.

I have written about it today and over several days recently. Here are the links to copy and paste:

Support the Solar Eight. Support the efforts to make this a great city and get rid of Chicago-style corruption.
cell 818-621-8349
office 818-704-8418

LA Tops the List of 10 Worst Real Estate Markets for 2009

10 Worst Real Estate Markets for 2009

The housing market hasn't bottomed out yet. For the third quarter, the closely-watched S&P Case-Shiller national home-price index fell 16.6%, and experts are predicting further declines. Of the top 100 markets, here are 10 with the worst forecasts.

1. Los Angeles

2008 median house price:

2009 projected change:

2010 projected change:

The median home price in the L.A.-Long Beach-Glendale metro area is projected to fall nearly 25% in 2009 - the biggest drop in the country.

2. Stockton, Calif.

2008 median house price: $248,050

2009 projected change:

2010 projected change:

3. Riverside, Calif.

2008 median house price:

2009 projected change:

2010 projected change:

4. Miami-Miami Beach

2008 median house price: $293,590

2009 projected change:

2010 projected change:

Miami will be nursing the hangover from its epic building boom for years to come. After falling 22% in 2008, prices are predicted to plunge another 23% next year.

5. Sacramento

2008 median house price:

2009 projected change:

2010 projected change:

6. Santa Ana-Anaheim

2008 median house price: $532,810

2009 projected change:

2010 projected change:

7. Fresno

2008 median house price:

2009 projected change:

2010 projected change:

8. San Diego

2008 median house price: $412,490

2009 projected change:

2010 projected change:

9. Bakersfield, Calif.

2008 median house price:

2009 projected change:

2010 projected change:

10. Washington, D.C.

2008 median house price: $343,160

2009 projected change:

2010 projected change:

Copyright Associated Press

On the Lighter Side - No Pants Subway Ride Coming to Los Angeles

It's that time of year again for New Yorkers to get a fill of riding the subway with no pants. Luckily (or the opposite depending on how you feel), this year the annual Improv Everywhere event is spreading across the nation including Los Angeles on the afternoon of January 10th.

If you're thinking this might be illegal, it might be and it might be not. According to Metro's Chief of Transit Police, Commander Dan Finkelstein, this event and ones like this in the past are usually no big deal "if it's not going to impact the quality of life, the safety of the passengers and not in violation of the penal code." Basically, if you're not being disruptive and showing off private parts, the likelihood of a citation is little to none, but you never know, he said. It's all situational and depends on the context. In the past, the Sheriff's Subway Office, whose employees are savvy blog readers, has been respectful of such events and they just want to make sure things don't get out of control.

So if you're feeling a little risky and risqué, join GuerilLA's Los Angeles Facebook event page and enjoy the reactions you'll get from the unsuspecting public.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Security Alert / Lock Bumping

Lock bumping is a lock picking technique for opening a pin tumbler lock using a specially-crafted bump key. One bump key will work for all locks of the same type.

Although this "technology" has been around for some time, with the internet, how-to videos and lock bump kits available online for less than $5, this is a real threat to unprotected homes.

Sign of the Times - Israeli War has entered the Internet Age

In the midst of its Gaza operations, the IDF is entering yet another conflict zone: the Internet. The Israeli army announced yesterday the creation of its own YouTube channel, through which it will disseminate footage of precision bombing operations in the Gaza Strip, as well as aid distribution and other footage of interest to the international community.

IAF destroys truck with Grads 
Footage shows terrorists loading vehicle with missiles; Navy joins op

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Planning a Holiday Trip? How about trying one of the Top 10 New Hotels

Travel & Leisure Magazine has named its Top 10 New Hotels for 2008.
CLICK HERE to decide where to go for your next vacation.

And of course, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that our own Hotel Bel~Air was named the (lucky) #13 Hotel out of Travel & Leisure's 500 World's Best Hotels for 2009.

This 1920's hideaway, set on 12 lush acres (complete with its own swan lake) in a serene residential neighborhood a short drive from Beverly Hills, was recently rebranded as part of the Dorchester Collection; a new spa will debut later this year.

STATS91 rooms; 1 restaurant; 1 bar.
ROOMS TO BOOKThose in the north end of the property are closest to the pool and offer the most privacy.
INSIDER TIPHave a yoga lesson on your private patio.
COSTDoubles from $425.

icon key

New to the T+L 500High-Speed InternetGymPool
SpaTennisGolfOutdoor Activities
Water ActivitiesFishingKids' Program  

What sets the Bel-Air apart is its sense of sanctuary; despite the property’s relatively large size (12 acres), the warm staff, the cozy Spanish Mission-style architecture, and old-world gestures like complimentary tea service create an intimate ambience here. The 91 uniquely decorated rooms all have luxurious, understated touches like Alicante marble tiles and Pratesi linens; many of its 39 suites include fireplaces. Those with private patios are tucked behind walls covered with cascading bougainvillea, flowering shrubs, and giant California oaks. Lunching on lobster salad and La Grande Dame on the Bel-Air terrace, while gazing over the swan pond and pretending not to notice the Oscar winner at the next table, is a decades-old L.A. pleasure.

Tip: If you’re keen to see the Olsen twins, forget about it; celebs who require the attention of gawkers and paparazzi know to head elsewhere.

Room to Book: The 835-square-foot Grace Kelly Suite, with its floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a private garden patio, outdoor Jacuzzi, and burbling fountain.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Michael Jackson back in the Neighborhood - or at least in neighboring Holmby Hills

Are those bells I hear?  Santa, is that you??  No, according to the Realestalker and TMZ, Michael Jackson has rented a $38 million pad in neighboring Holmby Hils with seven bedrooms, 13 baths, 12 fireplaces, a screening room and, of course, a wine cellar. Rent is reportedly $100,000 per month.

For sleepovers, there's a guest house, swimming pool and garden.

The deal was inked several weeks ago under a heavy-duty confidentiality agreement. Michael already has stayed there.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Best Photos from 2008

January Events at the Getty

Behind the scenes at the Getty Villa, our one millionth visitor, great westerns, jazz meets klezmer, and more January 2009
Find Events at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa Share with a friend
Thanks a Million!—Celebrate with us this weekend as the Getty Villa marks one million visitors. Pick up a free treat, enjoy family activities, and save on gifts in the Museum Store. Learn more and book your free tickets to the Getty Villa. E X H I B I T I O N S

Current Exhibitions

Future Exhibitions

Explore the Collection

Captured Emotions: Baroque Painting in Bologna, 1575–1725
through May 3
The Getty Center
Learn how a group of creative rebels changed the course of art after the Renaissance in this exhibition of sumptuous paintings from Bologna, Italy. Masters of nature, texture, movement, and the human form, the Carracci family of painters and their followers set the standard for European art for over two centuries. The exhibition includes 27 paintings from the Dresden State Art Collections, many never before seen in North America.

Learn more about this exhibition.

See all events related to this exhibition.

Joseph and Potiphar's Wife / Cignani
Above and banner detail: Joseph and Potiphar's Wife, Carlo Cignani, about 1670–80. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Photo © Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Photographer: H.-P. Klut

Fragment to Vase: Approaches to Ceramic Restoration
through June 1
The Getty Villa
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the conservation labs of the Getty Villa with this exhibition, which explores how ancient vases are reconstructed from fragments. Learn how conservators combine investigative tools with knowledge of the forms and designs of ancient vases to unlock the secrets of fragmentary vessels.

Learn more about this exhibition.

See all events related to this exhibition.

Conservator Jeff Maish completes work on a large mixing vessel at the Getty Villa
Get a glimpse of the ceramics conservation work at the Getty Villa in this new exhibition.

The Getty Commodus: Roman Portraits and Modern Copies
through June 1
The Getty Villa
Why was this ancient bust of Roman emperor Commodus long thought to be a modern copy? Discover how conservators and art historians gathered evidence for the bust's ancient origin, and how clues on the marble itself led to new insights about its true date. You can also meet the man behind the portrait in a free lecture on January 22 exploring Commodus's reputation as a ruthless gladiator and devious madman.

Learn more about this exhibition.

See all events related to this exhibition.

Bust of Emperor Commodus / Roman
Ancient or modern? Bust of Commodus (detail), Roman, A.D. 180–185

Reconstructing Identity: A Statue of a God from Dresden
through June 1
The Getty Villa
Unearthed from Roman soil with no head and only one arm, this over-life-size statue from the Dresden State Art Collections has long been a mystery. This exhibition traces why it has been restored in various guises over the centuries and reveals what curators and conservators concluded about the statue's identity during its just-completed restoration at the Getty Villa.

Learn more about this exhibition.

See all events related to this exhibition.

Statue of a God / Roman
Statue of a God (detail), Roman, A.D. 100–200. Skulpturensammlung, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

Current Exhibitions

Future Exhibitions

The Belles Heures of the Duke of Berry
Don't miss the Belles Heures! Saint Nicholas Saves Seafarers (detail) in the Belles Heures, Limbourg brothers, 1405–8/9. Image courtesy of and © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters Collection, 1954 (54.1.1, fol. 168)

Also on View at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa

Current Exhibitions—Last chance for In Focus: The Landscape and Please Be Seated: A Video Installation by Nicole Cohen, both closing January 11 at the Getty Center. Plus, Tango with Cows: Book Art of the Russian Avant-Garde, 1910–1917, Jim Dine: Poet Singing (The Flowering Sheets), and Dialogue among Giants: Carleton Watkins and the Rise of Photography in California continue through the holidays.

Future ExhibitionsDrawing the Classical Figure, featuring classically inspired visions of the human form, opens December 23 at the Getty Center. In Focus: The Portrait, examining the evolution of the portrait photograph from the 1800s to today, opens January 27.


Performances and Films

Reservations and Information:
(310) 440-7300

Sounds of L.A.: Andy Statman
Saturday, January 17, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, January 18, 3:00 p.m.
The Getty Center
Our annual world music concert series is back with free concerts from brilliant artists who mix tradition and experimentation. Kicking off the series is mandolin magician Andy Statman, who fuses soulful klezmer with avant-garde jazz and American roots music. Free; reservations required. Reservations available beginning Tuesday, December 23, at 9:00 a.m.

Learn more, make reservations, and see what else is coming up in Sounds of L.A.

Andy Statman performs on January 17 and 18
Andy Statman, the meister of avant-garde Jewish soul. Photo: Ilana Pelzig Cellum
F I L M   S E R I E S

Performances and Films

Reservations and Information:
(310) 440-7300

How the West Was Shot: Six Westerns, Six Decades
Fridays and Saturdays, January 23 & 24 and 30 & 31
The Getty Center
See six of the greatest westerns ever made at this free film series that traces the evolution of the genre from John Ford's 1924 classic The Iron Horse to Sam Peckinpah's underestimated 1973 masterpiece Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. The series explores how the western landscape has long provided a raw palette for filmmakers, just as it has for photographers such as Carleton Watkins. Free; reservations required.

Learn more and make reservations.

Learn more about the current exhibition Dialogue among Giants: Carleton Watkins and the Rise of Photography in California.

Still from Howard Hawks's Red River (1948)
Man, horse, landscape: still from Howard Hawks's Red River (1948) © United Artists. Photo: United Artists/Photofest
L E C T U R E S   &   P A N E L S

Lectures and Conferences

Reservations and Information:
(310) 440-7300

The Seduction of the Soul in the Duke of Berry's Prayer Books
Thursday, January 15, 7:00 p.m.
The Getty Center
Explore the tension between spirituality and sensuality in paintings in the Belles Heures with senior curator of Manuscripts Thomas Kren. Kren also discusses other books commissioned by 14th-century French duke Jean de Berry—a devout Christian, but also a pleasure seeker and a sensualist. Free; reservations required.

Learn more and make reservations.

Learn more about the current exhibition The Belles Heures of the Duke of Berry.

Saint Catherine Tended by Angels / Limbourg Brothers
Saint Catherine Tended by Angels (detail) in the Belles Heures, Limbourg brothers, 1405–8/9. Image courtesy of and © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters Collection, 1954 (54.1.1, fol. 17v)

Carleton Watkins and the Element of Time
Sunday, January 25, 3:00 p.m.
The Getty Center
Learn how Carleton Watkins captured time itself in his photographs of the 19th-century west in this lecture by senior curator of Photographs Weston Naef. Naef explores why Watkins photographed the same places again and again over the course of his career. Free; reservations required.

Learn more and make reservations.

Learn more about the current exhibition Dialogue among Giants: Carleton Watkins and the Rise of Photography in California.

Vernal Fall, 300 Feet, Yosemite, No. 87 / Watkins
Vernal Fall, 300 Feet, Yosemite, No. 87 (detail), Carleton Watkins, 1861

Modern Art in Los Angeles: Gallery 32
Wednesday, January 28, 7:30 p.m.
The Getty Center
Betye Saar, Suzanne Jackson, Carolyn Peter, and others participate in a public conversation about the impact of Gallery 32 (1968–70)—one of the few art spaces in L.A. to exhibit emerging African American artists. Organized in collaboration with Loyola Marymount University's Laband Art Gallery. Free; reservations required.

Learn more and make reservations.

Stabilized Warrior (detail), Timothy Washington, 1969. Courtesy of the artist
F O R  F A M I L I E S

Family Activities

Tips for Families

Tickets and Information:
(310) 440-7300

Mythical Monsters: Family Workshop
Saturdays, January 17, 24, and 31, 10:00 a.m.–noon
The Getty Villa
Spend a Saturday with beasts and monsters! Explore heroic tales and classical myths from the ancient past in this creative hands-on workshop filled with projects and ideas for further exploration at home. Children must be ages 6–10 years, and at least one adult must register per family. This one-session course is offered three times. Course fee $10 per adult, $5 per child. Open to 15 participants for maximum personal attention.

Learn more and get tickets.

Roof Ornament with Medusa / Etruscan
Meet monsters (like wicked Medusa) and the heroes that defeated them in this new family workshop.
Event Calendar

Event Calendar

Reservations, Tickets, and Information:
(310) 440-7300

Event Calendar

The holidays are a perfect time to get away to the Getty! Plan your visit with our event calendar. Holiday bonus: The Villa is open two special Wednesdays this holiday, December 24 and 31. It's an ideal destination for out-of-town guests.

Drop by the Sketching Gallery for free drawing sessions with artist-in-residence Aaron Smith on January 8, 15, 22, and 29. Discover whether Roman emperor Commodus was really a madman in a free lecture at the Getty Villa on January 22. Enjoy one of our many free talks and tours, offered daily. Plus, spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon with Getty Drawing Hour on December 21 and January 4 and 18.

Reservations are also available now for more free events in February, including an evening of transrational sound poetry on February 4 and a lecture on nude male statuary in the ancient world on February 5.

Most events are FREE.