Late Morning Addenda
JM, Riverside, 2.25.08
Joseph Mailander a guy in la • elsewhere • email
Every day, every night, a few dozen RVs, campers, and vans call Riverside Drive between Glendale and the 2 home. Homeless? In need of help? In need of ticketing? No. In need of nada. Displacing these would cost the City more than the effort is worth. But they do make for a sorry case, and speak to the need for market-driven, rather than government-driven, affordable housing in the City.
The government has already had over a decade to install a missing rung or two on the housing ladder, and it has failed, even despite two precipitous home price drops. Find a planning chief with the talent to give the market a chance to supply the missing rungs, rather than one who throws up her hands and says she's powerless to do anything but issues permits for anything that comes along.
He remains our friend, and he remains a beacon: Zuma comes up big with a story that sounds eerily like another Prop S in the incubator. The kleptomanic City has tried to clip its own Department, the DWP, for an extra $63 million. An adjudicant (not sure what kind---Zuma says "a Court") has said, Let's have a real trial about this. If the past is prelude, this ongoing battle won't see much print, so stay tuned here and there.
And bookmark Zuma while you're there, especially because...
Russ Stanton's new regime's decision to put the Times' content-free blogs above news on pages like this one is awful. It's just plain awful. The Times is apparently so scared of local news-aggregator and publicity-driven blogs that they're now apparently going to do their own aggregating, using bloggers to lead in to their own stories---which of course does nothing but create an extra layer between you and content, one of the biggest of Internet no-nos. Has Russ ever been sold a bag of goods!
If this is Tony's idea, well, it's the first time I've known him to falter badly on an Internet matter.
The reason people read aggregator blogs is not because they like having a filter. It's because they cotton to a particular narrative voice. They may like or hate the voice, but it's the voice that's really what's getting read. The voice makes its own narrative interesting by stitching in the stories of others; and the voice gets easier and easier to tune out when it is obliged to hype. A good aggregator's voice is typically a writer's, not a publicist's---and that's why it's sad to see a writer like Veronique de Turenne subordinated to a publicist's role at the Times.
Speaking of subordinate publicist voices: the paper also wants to get more bloggy about books, so, rather than find an actual literary voice, it hired someone who sometimes links to people who sometimes read them.