Archive for October, 2009

Boy, could I relate to this story.

Steve Lopez discussed the pros and cons of ditching Los Angeles for the unsurpassed natural setting of Lake Tahoe.

My nirvana is on the Nevada side on the northeast shore.  I, too, wage an ongoing internal debate over the benefits of swapping Los Angeles for the Lake.

Personally, I am not ready to forego life in the city altogether; then why is it I always hate leaving Lake Tahoe?  If only I could extend my trips by a few days each, perhaps I would feel differently.

Here are some benefits that the Tahoe Basin has over L A:

The roads are excellent and maintained regularly, especially on the Nevada side.  Although there is heavy snow, its removal is prompt and reliable -light years faster than it takes to get a pot hole fixed in LA.

There is plenty of shopping in the near vicinity, with every major store available in the greater Reno/Carson City/Tahoe area.  We could hit all the major stores we patronize in L A within a mile in Reno.

The airport is excellent in terms of access and connections.  It is a window to the world.

There are four seasons, each beautiful in its own way.

With the four seasons, there are year-round sports and outdoor activities.  You can usually play golf in the dead of winter by driving down to Reno or Carson City, although some winter storms have been known to drip significant snow doen there.  There are four major ski resorts and several smaller ones within easy reach.  Some of them offer mountain bike trails in the summer.

The region will be bidding on the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Swimming in the lake is a refreshing and clean experience.  The water is 99% pure.  It takes a little getting used to the temperature, but I do it and I’m a wimp.

The restaurants both at the lake and in the towns below are comparable to the quality and selection here in L A.

Quality shows are also available at the major resort/casinos.  The Peppermill Resort in Reno was recently expanded and rivals top Las Vegas hotels for comfort and service.

The air is clean and the temperatures are moderate relative to the season.  Even down at Reno and Carson City, a hot day is more manageable than in the San Fernando Valley.

Although housing is relatively expensive at the lake, you can find excellent housing on the outskirts of the metro area, a mere thirty minutes away.

Hospitals are ample for the population and found close to every community.

The University of Nevada Reno, while it won’t be confused with Harvard, conducts top notch environmental research, has a medical school and hospital, a full liberal arts and sciences program and big time Division 1 athletic programs in all major sports.

Sacramento is only two hours away, accessible by train, air and highway; San Francisco is only four hours away.

I can go on and on.

The area is not totally free of problems.  The south shore was over developed many years ago and has some criminal elements with urban connections.  The casino culture attracts a certain undesirable element, as you would find in any city offering gambling, but that is the exception rather than the rule.

The north, west and east shores are relatively free of major crime.  Bear break-ins are a bigger threat than burglaries, although if you use some common sense, you can avoid those encounters.

Given the sorry state of Los Angeles and California governance, Northern Nevada looks more and more attractive.


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As many of you, I receive countless e-mails from people claiming to be deposed dictators, former cocoa merchants, bankers and widows with hidden furtunes….and they are willing to share 50% with you!

I usually exchange the most creative e-mails with a close friend.  They are entertaining.

However, I stumbled across this web site.  It is a must read for all of you who appreciate the genre of those loveable million-dollar missives.


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Showing reruns of the Brady Bunch in sweeps week would not be a good strategy for a major network.

So why is the Essel campaign regurgitating flyers from the primary?  Is it lack of money?

I don’t think so.

There were two campaign flyers on my doorstep when I returned home yesterday evening.  The one showing four smiling faces of average citizens, apparently none of whom live in the Valley, and the Krekorian “gift list” claiming he received $26,000 in services and favors from benefactors.

Perhaps these two flyers were in Essel’s inventory and she is being a good environmentalist by recycling them.

Well, how about using the blue bin instead?

This is the runoff, the sweeps period of the local election entertainment network.  Candidates need to offer fresh material with new negativity.  I yawned when I read the retreads last night.  Thank God the Yankee-Angels game was being aired.  Even a one-sided affair on the diamond was more interesting.

I shudder to imagine what the Krekorian campaign will offer.  I do not believe he can come close to matching his opponent’s war chest.

My advice to Krekorian: do not use the flyer with the old picture of Bill Clinton and you.  It looks like Eddie Haskell shaking hands with an inebriated Boris Yeltsin.

The candidates need to reenergize their core supporters -perhaps the old flyers might accomplish this objective, but if they want to have any hope of attracting supporters of the other eight individuals who ran in the primary some imagination will be required.

There are over two-thousand potential votes on the table.  They do not represent the partisan loyalists of unions, developers and other institutions that voted by mail and were swayed by the glossy mailers. No, this segment is comprised of independent citizens who scrutinize the issues.

I know that both Krekorian and Essel have been working the former candidates for endorsements, but that will not be enough.  They need to deliver an intelligent message with specifics as to how they will tackle the critical issues facing the city.

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I made a quick circuit of the Sherman Oaks Fair on Sunday.

I ran into Jill Banks Barad (Chair of VANC) and her husband Ross, who I absent-mindedly addressed as Robert Pine (the actor who plays Jim’s father on the Office), and David Hernandez and his spouse.  David is running for Mike Feuer’s seat in the Assembly.

Feuer was there as was Paul Krekorian.  Tamar Galatzan was also in attendance.

Chris Essel was definitely there being guided around by former CD2 candidate Frank Sheftel.  It evoked a fleeting memory of Camelot for me.

With a crowd of 80,000 passing through and a the CD2 runoff election approaching in December, I was surprised at the lack of campaigning on behalf of Essel and Krekorian.

Krekorian did have a booth, but you would not have known it, at least when I went by around noon or so.  The two campaign staffers sat quietly behind a table with expressions reflecting general indifference.  Why staff was not positioned at the front handing out flyers and engaging passersby is a mystery.  I am certain the booth cost the campaign a little money, so why not get value from it?

An even bigger mystery is why didn’t Chris Essel have a booth?

It cannot be for want of money.

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Power and Rain

This is not a takeoff of a James Taylor song.

I just received the following from a DWP spokesperson.  I appreciate his timely reply to my request.  It appears to make sense to a layman such as me.


According to Marvin Moon, dust and dirt build up on the lines, poles, transformers during the dry months and with even the first light drizzle can turn that into a slurry which of course becomes a conductor that can and does cause arcing and lead to shorts and outages.  With heavier rains and/or where the ground becomes saturated or other conditions cause heavy runoff, water can accumulate in underground vaults.  Those vaults hold splices and transformers with connections that are insulated, but deterioration of the insulation combined with water filling the vault can cause outages.  Of course, there is also the factor of wind, with tree branches or other items causing arcing, downed wires and poles etc.

 Regarding power systems in other regions of the country, particularly regarding the first rains of the season like we have in Southern California,  unlike here, there are frequents rains throughout the year that tend to keep the debris from building up on the system thereby preventing the formation of the slurry.  I was in Michigan last 4th of July and the weather changed frequently during week, including rain, wind, hot and cool.  Of course during the late fall or winter with freezing rain or snow, they do experience widespread outages on a much larger scale than we experience here. 

 Let me know if you need more info on this.

 Greg Bartz

LADWP Government & Neighborhood Relations Liaison

City Council Districts 2,4,6,7 & 13

East Valley & Central Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Areas

(213) 367-2800

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It is difficult to assess if the Governor of Iowa is overreacting to claims of corruption and misuse of tax incentives designed to attract filming in his state.

There is nothing in this article from the Wall Street Journal that presents a strong case that laws were broken.  If anything, it appears that local businesses benefitted from the productions.  Yet, there is a criminal investigation.

There must be something more to this than meets the eye, otherwise the state is shooting itself in the foot. 

Perhaps some modifications to the program are in order, but throwing the baby out with the bath water does not make sense.

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Whether you tweet, blog or have a facebook page, be aware -your employer or anyone can check on what you say or display. 

Regardless of your industry, if you are in a position where you deal with vendors, government or the public in general, saying the wrong thing can have a lasting effect on your life.

This article from THR, Esq. focuses on a rising trend in Hollywood to include clauses in the contracts of talent covering standards of conduct in cyberspace

According to the article:

“This is just the beginning,” says a top talent lawyer. “Hollywood has a long history of controlling what talent says in the media. This is just a new area of media that hasn’t been controlled yet.”

As a blogger, I am acutely aware that what and how I present my opinions are a reflection on me.  It does not matter that I will never be confused for talent.  My reputation is important to me.  While I express controversial opinions freely and with complete candor, you will not find my material riddled with profanity or vindictiveness as you might find in another blog (I am hearing there might be some efforts to finally clean things up over there).  I also do not allow inappropriate or vulgar comments.

That’s just not me. 

Regardless, all of us need to be sensitive about what we say.

Freedom of speech may be alive and well, but impressions might be formed that can cause a ripple effect throughout our social networks.

Be frank, be opinionated, be rhetorical, but be civil.

Also check your contract.

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