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Is it true Rapid Buses can control traffic lights? I’d heard that, but I seem to catch just as many red lights when I follow them as when I don’t.

The wireless transponders on those Rapid Buses can nudge a green light to last longer or reduce the wait at a red light by several seconds. One of the...

Is L.A. still the bank robbery capital of the United States?

The latest FBI statistics are in, and once again they confirm that Southern California leads the nation in heists. Keep in mind, though, that the number of bank robberies...

Why is Historic Filipinotown where it is?

Past discrimination has a lot to do with it. In the mid-1920s, L.A.’s Filipino workers lived in a run-down area of Little Tokyo because racial prejudice kept them from...

Can I drill an oil well in my backyard?

Whoa there, James Dean. You're not in Texas, and it's not that simple. Folks like Ed Doheny sucked out the easy stuff a long time ago.  Let's say you own...

Please solve the mystery of the ubiquitous, hideously purple “Psychic/Palm Reader” signs popping up on residential lawns, especially in the Valley. Are they legal?

The city attorney’s office can’t even recite the law without chuckling, but here it is: Municipal code 43.30 mandates that “no person shall…tell fortunes…locate gold or silver…procure lovers…or restore...

What is going on at the old Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City?

The place that was built in the 1940s as a rustic celebrity getaway with a trout-fishing pond transitioned gracefully into a hotel and a banquet hall for Easter brunches,...

How did Sawtelle become the hot spot for all things Japanese?

At the turn of the 20th century, Japanese immigrants worked on the railroads and in agriculture, including barley and celery fields in the West Los Angeles neighborhood of Sawtelle....

Did the swans at the Hotel Bel-Air have to leave during the compound’s refurbishment?

The three mute swans, Chloe, Athena, and Hercules, are the only guests at the swanky hotel, which reopens next year and has long been home to a flock of...

I watch reruns of the 1970s show Emergency!, which was set at a “Station 51.” Is there a Station 51, and was filming done there?

  Those honking sirens, those spinning red lights! I always loved the opening of Emergency! but usually lost interest by the first commercial break. Like many of Jack Webb’s shows (Dragnet, Adam-12),...

The MPAA used to be in a building on Ventura Boulevard in Encino with really cool murals in front, but they’re gone now. Where did the mosaics go?

Like the Ark of the Covenant and the Tail 'o the Pup, those murals are being held at an undisclosed location, possibly to return in the future.  As part...