The Short Stack: The Los Angeles Week in Review

September 30 – October 3, 2014


Tanaka Lives!
Paul Tanaka, the former no. 2 in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, is still running for sheriff, despite the fact that he has raised only $8,500 in the last three months and completely stopped campaigning against his opponent, Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell. It well may be that Tanaka wants to distance himself from all of the mishegas surrounding the sheriff’s department: Six deputies were recently sentenced to jail for their roles in hiding an FBI informant; Tanaka was the undersheriff at the time for top cop Lee Baca. Read the gripping backstory in Celeste Fremon’s investigation, based on years of covering the department, “The Fall of Sheriff Baca,” which appeared in the March issue.

Mayoral Murder
The high drama surrounding the small incorporated towns that line the 710 Freeway south of downtown (think corruption and scandal in Vernon, Bell, and Cudahy, to name a few) continues. The mayor of Bell Gardens was shot dead by his wife on Tuesday. She is cooperating with police in the investigation and supported by her two children in her claim that she had long endured abuse at the hands of her husband.

Deasy Out?
Though Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy’s contract isn’t slated to expire until June 2016, members of the school board are reporting that he may be departing earlier. Recent controversy over his troubled $1 billion plus effort to get an iPad to every student has overshadowed his efforts to hold teachers and principals more accountable and to enforce more data-driven standards for schools. L.A. civic leaders remain in favor of Deasy; the teacher’s union, not so much. Ed Leibowitz’s profile of Deasy, which won the Pen Center USA Journalism award in 2013, followed the superintendent through his first tumultuous year and took a deep dive into explaining the messy history of the LAUSD.

Next Stop, Zev
The canonization of the Zev Yaroslavsky years is in full swing. The longtime pol is retiring this fall, with his L.A. County Supervisor seat being hotly contested by Bobby Shriver and Sheila Kuehl. The Metro board approved naming the North Hollywood subway station after the outgoing supe, and a Gold Line station after Gloria Molina, another supe who’s being termed out. Which is kind of strange, since they’re both still on that board (to say nothing of the fact that Zev was once a major barrier to the subway to the sea—but who says a guy can’t have a change of heart?). While we’re on the subject of Molina, if she is serious about taking on Jose Huizar for  the City Council District 14 seat (also known as the road to the mayoralty; she’s already said “I’d be an excellent mayor”), she’d better start working on a Twitter strategy.


Cue C-3PO
The L.A. Philharmonic opened the season with a tribute to cinematic composer extraordinaire John Williams that involved Gustavo Dudamel, Itzhak Perlman, R2-D2 confetti, and the Los Angeles Children’s Choir (which seemed terrorized by the Jaws theme). Plus, William Shatner showed up. The city is fortunate to have the plucky and powerful Dudamel holding the baton. Check out the upcoming season here.

Hollywood Costume Parade
It’s not the pictures that got small, it’s the actors and actresses. For a sense of how teeny-tiny your screen heroes are—and more important, how exquisitely their wardrobes are made—check out the Academy’s big “Hollywood Costume” exhibit, which opened this week at the Wilshire May Company Building with a party hosted by a very pregnant Zoe Saldana. First shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum, it features power suits from every major superhero, along with Marilyn’s Seven-Year Itch halter dress, Rose Byrne’s Bridesmaids getup, Dorothy’s red slippers, and our favorite: a tribute to many of the characters, fictional and otherwise, inhabited by Meryl Streep.

P.T. Meets Pynchon
The trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film, Inherent Vice, an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s novel by the same name, went viral this week. It stars an ever-wacky Joaquin Phoenix and is set in Los Angeles circa the late 1960s. Frankly, we haven’t been this excited about a movie since Paul Thomas Anderson’s last movie.

Fashion Week Savior?
Designer Tom Ford—a major style influence on Hollywood and living proof that receding hairlines can be sexy as all hell—announced that he will be forgoing London Fashion Week, where he has been a staple, and showing his fall 2015 collection in Los Angeles this coming February instead. (He owns a Neutra here, natch.) That will be a front row worth fighting for—and possibly a boon to our town’s sorry Fashion Week history.