Obama Hits Hollywood on Fundraising Juggernaut, Streets Closed, $$$ Raised

I’m staying in my jammies all day because there’s an Obamajam ahead.

Monday POTUS attended two fundraisers in Beverly Hills, one at the home of producer Haim Saban, the other where he was joined by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-NV)  at chez Magic Johnson, who called Obama

“the greatest leader in the world,” and highlighted the benefits of Obamacare.

I don’t know how affordable this Affordable Care is really going to be. My insurance went up from $222 to $388 for the same coverage, and I don’t understand why men and women past childbearing age are paying for maternity care, since they can’t have babies…

Anyway, today Obama is busy collecting checks for the House Senate Victory Fund, a joint committee to raise money for Democratic House and Senate candidates–tickets for the Saban party where guests included former ambassador Nicole Avant and her husband, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos; Eli and Edythe Broad; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; Berry Gordy; Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were $16,200 per person. And at Magic and Cookie Johnson’s $2,500 to $15,000 per person affair, where organizers expected about 160 people, including LaToya Jackson; the Los Angeles Clippers’ Antawn Jamison and Ashley Lewis; Diane Keaton; the Clippers’ J.J. Redick and wife Chelsea; as well as a number of members of California’s congressional delegation. He’ll will attend a $32,500-per-person breakfasty/60-person roundtable co-hosted by Melanie Griffith at the home of of producer Marta Kauffman and her husband Michael Skloff. That’s in Hancock Park, and major streets will be blocked off.

From there, well, we’re expecting serious traffic trouble as the presidential motorcade heads to DreamWorks Studios in Glendale, basically just northeast of the Griffith Park Observatory, no word on what route the motorcade will take but it will affect all of Hollywood and most likely my neighborhood which is between Hollywood and Glendale. There Obama may be faced with a sea of green shirts which DreamWorks employees are wearing in solidarity with

visual effects artists stung by the loss of work due to outsourcing of jobs to countries that offer subsidies. Outside of DreamWorks Animation, plans are in the works for a protest that is not aimed at DreamWorks, but the subsidies. They want the Obama administration to pursue a duty on imports of subsidized special effects work, and believe that such a duty can be imposed without Congress and that it can be applied to digital goods.

DreamWorks was chosen because they are a job creator, though one wonders if Obama is aware of how many jobs in Hollywood have been outsourced, and how run-away production has gutted Hollywood. Variety reports that White House principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest explained the choice to visit the studio:

that Katzenberg’s support of Obama — the DreamWorks Animation chieftan was one of the biggest fundraisers for Obama’s reelection campaign — had “no bearing on our decision to visit there.”

“Contributing to the president’s campaign or being a political supporter of the president doesn’t guarantee you a presidential visit, but it shouldn’t exclude you from one either,” Earnest said.

“DreamWorks obviously is a thriving business and is creating lots of jobs in Southern California and the fact of the matter is Mr. Katzenberg’s support for the president’s policies has no bearing on our decision to visit there,” Earnest said. “Rather, it’s an opportunity to highlight the success of one business and the success that they’re having creating jobs in Southern California.

Obama supporter, liberal giver and general rich guy (I believe he’s in the 1%) Jeffrey Katzenberg has invited other show-biz bigwigs to the closed meeting, including, according to Variety,  MPAA chairman Chris Dodd, CBS’s Leslie Moonves and possibly Warner Bros.’ Kevin Tsujihara and Barry Meyer, and Fox’s Jim Gianopulos.


Trayvon Martin: Monday Night Protests

Protests and rallies continue in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles, southeast of LAX. About 15o people have shut  down Crenshaw Blvd around Slauson, walking north along the busy artery. There is another protest/prayer vigil/rally at Leimert Park where about a more  people are gather.

8:15  Police are staying away form the crow for the most part, until the a few people rush a building and try to jump on stores’ iron security  gates and banging on parked cars, when the police then form a skirmish line.

8:21 A police helicopter is illuminating the group walking up Crenshaw pack to the park. They have taken the northbound lane, and police cars are blocking the streets to allow the walkers to pass.  The crowd is moving more slowly now, and the police are walking along.

8:24  Someone who was lying on the sidewalk is getting punched at Slauson and Crenshaw.  Others tried to break up it, and the crowd moved on. The LAPD airship is still overhead. (at 8:40 paramedics are on site to attend to the person)

8:36 A minvan is swarmed by about 15 protestors who have run ahead of the crowd. The woman driver gets out for a minute and the group jumps off the car, then once she is back in, jump back on, before continuing to march. The minivan drives off..

8:40: Lt Andy Neiman from LAPD says the group is out of control and the LAPD will make arrests (so far one has been made). No confirmed damaged, but reports of damaged vehicles and property. Primary focus is is to get crowd on sidewalk  and back to the park, and if necessary arrest those who are breaking the law. As they see individuals violating the law, teams will go in an extract the violators and arrest them. He says it unfortunate that a First Amendment event and what should be a solemn event being ruin by a few troublemakers. The LAPD doesn’t want this to become a confrontation.

When you start breaking the law the message gets lost and that’s what we are seeing now.

As a side note, LA’s newly elected mayor, Eric Garcetti, who was out of town on vacation, visiting friends In Philadephia before business meetings later this week in DC, has cut his trip short and is back in LA. Because really a vacation and out of town trip two weeks after election is so responsible.

8:50. Fireworks are being set off.  The marchers reached the park and rally and have kept marching, heading to Martin Lusther King Blv. They set off some fireworks. There are no skirmish lines. The police are letting them keep marching in th estreet, though the southbound lanes are open on Crenshaw.

8:54 The marches are at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza mall, trying to get into the WalMart. (Last night the marchers entered the W Hotel and did some damage). WalMart appears to be locked down, protestors threw some shopping carts at the doors, and security came out. The vandals ran off. (The marchers will walk for a period of time, then some  of group will run ahead, making it hard for the police to stage in front of them or maintain constant supervision).

8:59, And Stocker and Crenshaw, there is some smoke on the street. The Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza mall is emptying of customers, and police are there. There may vandalism/theft at the mall. The LAPD is setting up a mobile field force and securing the mall.

9:08 Police formed a skirmish line at mall parking lot entrances blocking the further marchers from entering. The crowd is moving further north.

Now there is other news stuff. Blah blah blah. Charlie Brown sounds.

9:20 LAPD Chief Beck tweets:

9:23 The group is now returned to the park and shut down an intersection. Two LAPD airships are overhead, police trying to get in place. Cars are being swarmed. People from the Leimert Park rally are standing in the park watching the chaos, some trying to reason with crowds.

9:25. A group of seven or eight  is running, more follow. There is a fire in a trash can. The crowd slowly follows the runners.  A fire truck is heading to the trash can fire. The police have now set up a skirmish line south of the park, around 43rd to move the people back to the official rally. There is another skirmish line at the park, so the splinter group is between two sets of LAPD at either end of the block. They dash through a parking lot to dodge the police. The cops do not follow.  More from the prayer vigil rally at the park are coming out to speak with group in the street to invite them to join in.

9:37 LAPD is now on full tactical alert and massing at the Pollo Loco at Vernon and Crenshaw. A crowd is scampering into the park for the corner, running into the park. Lt. Neiman says he wants to get a message out to the community that people should text or call their kids if they are out on the streets and ask them to come home because a mob mentality is starting to take over. He hopes the community steps up so the police don’t have to. The majority of the crowd in the streets are younger.  A car stopped in the street and two guys got in; the car drove off. Was it their mom?

Riot police in the park.

Lt. Neiman says  at some point the LAPD will declare unlawful assembly and there may be arrests. There are children and juveniles in the crowd, and he would prefer not to make arrests.

9:52 LAPD declaring unlawful arrest as I type this. There are resources in place to make arrests. The crowd is being given a time frame to disperse, and the dispersal will be controlled so they don’t mob in another location. They are usually given 5-10 minutes to leave. Lt. Neiman is urging people to text and call their friends and family if they are out there and tell them to leave. Community members are coming into the crowd and telling them to go home.

9:59 Crowd is moving.  Sort of. They moved a block. LAPD skirmish lines are in place. Still just one arrest, though that may change. Groups of ones and twos can pass by the police and head home. It looks like about 75 people left.

10:02 About 5 people started running away from the main group, dashing across Crenshaw, while  other groups are slowly walking on the sidewalks, presumably to their homes. No official report on damages yet. At the mall, police are declaring unlawful assembly, and people are leaving. Police are marching with green guns (rubber bullets). They may start to surround the crowd if the crowd doesn’t disperse.

10:06 I can hear the dispersal orders under the news reports. The area has pretty much cleared out, but there are still clots of people on corners. A group is at 11th Ave and Vernon, which is more residential, but officers are a block away, and the airship is overhead. The crowd is just standing in the corner, crossing back and forth through the intersection.

10:10 Crowd is running on 11th Ave. Garcetti tweets

10:12 Police squaring off with a few protestors. Now rerun of a portion of Zimmerman jury member’s interview with Anderson Cooper.

10:14 Many police at Pollo Loco, but no confirmed arrests made yet. More local news, large fire in Riverside County, over 1000 acres, threatening an animal rescue, and possibly Ronald McDonald Children’s Camp. And the major freeway closure could be over soon–the connector between the north 2 and north 5 was damaged in a major fire, clogging local streets with detoured drivers. It may be partially open by tomorrow morning. Add one to two hours to your commute.

10:24  KCAL helicopter shows arrests being made, about a dozen people arrested at 11th Ave and Vernon, more at 8th and Vernon. Other people just ran.

10:28 more taken into custody. LAPD airship has spotted group hiding in alley. The arrests group is being taken into paddy wagon for processing at the Pollo Loco which is now the local command center (only in LA!). The arrestees  may not go to jail, though, per the KCAL reporter (I suppose it depends on age, if they have warrants, etc). LAPD is working through neighborhood to pick up stragglers.

Oh no, sports news…zzzzz.

11:00 Switched to KABC. Things have calmed down, Crenshaw Blvd is open. KABC is running tape and  things look more violent than KCAL’s footage did, including shots of protestors throwing things at cop cars.  KABC reporting KCAL’s news crew and van were attacked (weirdly KCAL said nothing about that) and were attended to by ambulances.

Over to KCBS, KCAL’s sister station, hoping to learn more about news crew:

11:08 Mayor is speaking. 350 officers, 13 arrests. Mayor is at Pollo Loco command post praising the peaceful demonstrators for honoring Trayvon and the Martin family. The city will allow peaceful protests that respect the community and the rights of all people. The Martin family didn’t ask people to take little kids scooters, break windows and commit other acts of violence. He thanks those community members who peacefully assembled and will continue to support First Amendment rights. He concludes:

We are a great city, a better city than the one we saw tonight.

Next up Police Chief Beck. He says  First Amendment rights are supported, but not acts of violence. Tonight the rights of the many were abused by the few. LAPD wants to facilitate First Amendment rights to speak up peacefully, but  cannot allow people to infringe on the rights of the community.  There are important voices that need to be heard. Asks parents not to send your children to protest in and around Crenshaw. LAPD wants to keep everybody safe. He also said they were going to be more of a presence and will take a tougher stance tomorrow.

County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas  recalls the Rodney King riots 21 years ago when he was the district’s council member. He says non-violence is the best way to communicate how to address injustice, saying we should honor tradition of Martin Luther King. He asks  that everyone please obey the police. Violence does not further the cause. There will be a day of dialogue in the city.

City councilman/former LA  police chief Bernard Parks commends the police department. We should be thinking of Trayvon’s family. Urges parents to tell their children to obey the law, they cannot  jump on cars, beat on people, disobey the police. He starts to talk about how he saw two riots in this area in his life (Watts and Rodney King), at which point the fade him down the newscaster begins to summarize what we have just seen, emphasizing that parents should talk tot their kids and that the police will be less lenient tomorrow.

I watched for two hours and will say the LAPD was very mellow, no rubber bullets, no bean bags. I hope though that the ALCU and legal observers are there tomorrow, and that troublemakers are not.

That’s all.





Occupy LA Day 4: “Stay as Long as You Need, We’re Here to Support You”


Watch live streaming video from owslosangeles at livestream.com


The Occupy LA Livestream is up and running. When the mods are sleeping, there are re-runs of the past days: General Assemblies, marches interviews. And a live chat as well.

The LAPD has been cordial and all is well. Tuesday’s rain passed over downtown, but now on Wednesday, it’s definitely coming down everywhere. Heavy duty trash bags  are ready for the rain to cover signs; tarps are needed.

Yesterday, City Council president Eric Garcetti and fellow Council members Bill Rosendahl and Ed Reyes showed up to talk to protestors, along with Dennis Zine, a former registered Republican who told the Los Angeles Times:

It’s the right thing to do. We could just drive by them, or we could go talk to them.

Garcetti, who announced his run for mayor last month, told the protesters:

Stay as long as you need, we’re here to support you.

This morning Council Member Rosendahl will introduce a City Council resolution supporting the protesters.

SEIU leadership paid a visit, as did the janitors union. Both unions expressed support. Today Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa is supposed to drop by, but no time has been set. News crews were present again yesterday, and KFI640 AM talk show hosts John & Ken aired  a positive (for them) interview with an Occupier; they teased the piece by saying

Wall Street, something needs to be done about those goons.

Conservative-ish John & Ken are under fire for giving out the  business phone numbers of an immigration reform activist on air; the phone numbers were listed on a press release. Jorge-Mario Cabrera received  over 400 calls from angry, nasty and at times violence-proposing listeners  opposed to the DREAM Act, and there are demands for advertiser boycotts and for John & Ken’s firing.

Volunteers have secured a commercial kitchen and are preparing three meals a day. Donations of food are gladly accepted. The medic tent said toothbrushes would be very welcome!    Showers are becoming a necessity, with solar showers being discussed as an option. Handicapped porta-potties are coming on site, but donations are needed maintain the porta-potties; they cost approximately $3,000 a week. Recycling has been set up.

A hairdresser has offered to come down and give haircuts. An on-site silkscreen studio has been set up and is printing up tee-shirts, kerchiefs and patches. The items are made from donated fabric and tee shirts (turned inside out to obscure logos) and are given away. The guy manning the screens was wearing a hat printed with

1/21/2010 Never Forget

the date of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

I asked some office workers waiting for the bus at City Hall what they felt about Occupy LA. One man replied:

Freedom of speech.

Another responded:

Wall Street is a problem.

The woman in the group said:

This is good. We need something to change.

Painter Alex Schaefer was also there, completing a plein-air work featuring the buildings of Los Angeles in flames. Up in the corner on bare canvas was scrawled


Schaefer, whose painting of a burning bank caused some upset, sold the work for over $25,000 to an anonymous European collector via eBay. Two weeks ago Schaefer was outside the Federal Reserve building completing a painting of the building aflame, when he was questioned by the Department of Homeland Security, who like the police in the prior incident took down his information, hence the written note on his work in progress. Laughed Schaefer:

They are art fans!

My last conversation was with Michael who lives in South Central and spent 14 years in and out of jail and prison.

My mother is my guiding light. She never gave up on me . . .

he told me, as we transitioned from a discussion about the names of the four guardian angels of the elements. (Yeah, it’s LA which explains soooo much about why this is a mellow, proactive scene).

While I was locked up, I read and studied, I got my AA degree. I come here to Occupy LA every day and sit and listen. And I have been talking to people and on they want me to lead a teaching.

Occupy Santa Barbara has not experienced the same cooperation with the police that Los Angeles is enjoying. Last night two Occupiers in de la Guerra Plaza, a city park, chained themselves to a flagpole and were removed by the fire department after the police had informed the crowd earlier in the day that protesting/camping in the park at night was against city code. Eight people, including the legal observer were arrested, while others stood on the sidewalks and cheered.

Meanwhile, this from the Washington Post:

QUESTION: Have the “Occupy Wall Street” protests reached a level of the President’s engaged awareness? Is he sympathizing with the protestors? Is he concerned about the protests at all?

CARNEY: I haven’t discussed it with him. I’m sure he’s aware of it because he follows the news. I would simply say that, to the extent that people are frustrated with the economic situation, we understand. And that’s why we’re so urgently trying to focus Congress’s attention on the need to take action on the economy and job creation.