Monday, March 31, 2008

There are fans, and then there are STALKERS

This lovely looking woman was arrested Sunday evening outside actor John Cusack's home in Malibu, after a cab driver made a call to police complaining that his passenger refused to pay her fare.

While deputies arrested Emily Leatherman, 33, Cusack flagged down the sheriffs, alerting them that he recognized the woman and that she had been stalking him despite a restraining order he had against her.

Leatherman had previously thrown a bag over Cusack's fence containing love letters, rocks and screwdrivers. Authorities declined to say what was in the bag she threw over his fence this time. I wonder...a sandwich? Her crazy pills?

Leatherman's bail was set at $150,000. The woman was also arrested last year outside Tom Cruise's home on suspicion of violating a restraining order he had against her.

Another great case of celebrity stalking belongs to actor Jodie Foster. Her most recent stalker, Michael Smegal of Massachusetts, was arrested after sending many written bomb threats to the Van Nuys, CA airport that included Foster's name. Foster also had a previous admirer, John Hinckley Jr., who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan to impress the actress.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Eastwood becomes driftwood in Schwarzenegger's book

Clint Eastwood learned last week that the governator had dropped him from California's state parks commission after more than seven years of service. Schwarzenegger's brother-in-law, Bobby Shriver, was also dropped.

The governor said their terms had expired and he wanted to give other people the opportunity to serve.

The actor and Shriver believe, however, that the governor possibly decided against their reappointment because of their opposition to a plan to build the Foothill South toll road through the surfing haven of San Onofre Beach in Orange County. The project was rejected in February.

Schwarzenegger claimed that the toll road would alleviate traffic and reduce global warming.

Eastwood says he has no hard feelings toward the governor but was confused at his sudden removal after the governor had known about the actor's opposition to the toll road for more than two years.

Eastwood, however, clashed with the California Coastal Commission in 2006 when it rejected a golf course and housing development that he and his business partners had proposed at Pebble Beach.

Hollywood actors: always ready to play the role.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Justice served by LA Court after 25 Years

Willie Earl Green wore prison scrubs and drank bad black coffee for a quarter century in San Quentin State Prison. Green was convicted of a crime he continually denied he ever committed.

Last week, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Marcus threw out Green’s conviction of murder, saying the jurors could have exonerated him if they had known the full story. Four years ago, the only witness at the scene (a South LA crack house) came forward saying he wasn’t sure if he had correctly identified the shooter as he was high on crack the night of the killing.

While in San Quentin, Green worked at the library, earned his associate of arts degree and helped run a life-skills program for inmates. Green reunited with his wife Mary who waited for his release. They were introduced by a friend in 1991, six years after his conviction and were married within a year. They had never been together outside a prison, jail or courthouse.

Green enjoyed small luxuries like milk and sugar in his coffee and getting his first look at a cell phone when he was released. Green said he is not bitter—“The system that put me in here is the same system that got me out. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best system in the world.”

Saturday, March 15, 2008

When making money goes hand-in-hand with vomit

The scene of downtown Fullerton in Orange County has turned from a hub for antique shopping to a fraternity party. The city of Fullerton can’t tame the beast it has created because it’s not taking the correct measures.

The once sleepy downtown is now home to upscale restaurants and bars that have customers waiting in lines around the block. Business owners and city officials welcome the business that downtown brings but not the problems that come with it.

Over the last year, a cab driver was attacked and killed allegedly by a man who was partying at the downtown bars and three people were involved in an accident that killed the driver of the vehicle whose blood alcohol level was over the legal limit.

Fullerton is turning in to a place where fighting, vomiting, urinating in public and driving drunk are commonplace. The city has tried to control its bar and nightclub scene by assigning four police officers to the area and putting a hold on new liquor licenses for six months, but to no avail.

So who are these party animals that are causing problems for a city that has nearly 50 establishments serving alcohol in a four-block radius? They’re not even from Fullerton or Orange County. Police say those that have been arrested for various crimes in the downtown area are from the Inland Empire and Los Angeles County.

As for the cherry on top, the city has raked in a $1.5 million bill in police, fire and maintenance costs while only puling in $560,000 in taxes.

In order to curb the areas alcohol-related problems, a new law will take effect next month which will limit inside and outside noise, enforce tighter security, cut wait lines and issue conditional-use permits for restaurants that turn into clubs at night.

A Fullerton City Councilwoman was quoted in the Los Angeles Times saying, “We didn’t put the conditions on them because we needed them. And suddenly we’ve got this little baby that we ignored and she’s turned into this naughty teenager. Now we’re making some rules, trying to get that teenager into adulthood without getting killed.”

It appears that the Fullerton City Council has overlooked one key move that could help booster police enforcement: raise taxes. For the obvious reasons, raising taxes would help improve the management of the downtown bars and clubs.

Instead of asking people to step out of line or turn the music down, let the law enforcement handle the riff-raff. With any place that gains popularity, there are going to be pros and cons, but business and commerce shouldn’t have to suffer. There is a way to allow progress and revenue to continue, and allowing some intoxicated reveler to vomit or urine on the sidewalk every once in a while just comes with the territory.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Los Angeles: One step ahead yet a few steps behind

A very tall, thin woman, presumably, will be strutting down a runway this week in Los Angeles wearing a dress designed by Farah Angsana. You’re probably asking yourself, “Who the hell is that?” Last month, men in New York wore designs by Nautica and at least one woman walked around in a dress designed by the famed Calvin Klein. Why do you care?

New York Fashion Week, like Paris Fashion Week (with a modern flair), is a fashion frenzy—an inspirational and social event for the domestic and foreign fashion-obsessed. Some of the most anticipated names (not necessarily the high-fashion houses like Chanel, Gucci, etc.) on the cutting edge of modern fashion appear on the New York runways twice a year. Some crazy people would give up a cute puppy or their right arm to be sitting in the front row of one of these shows. The mayhem continues almost 12 hours a day for seven days.

This upcoming week here in the city of angels is Los Angeles Fashion Week, which hasn’t exactly glamorously ingrained itself on the fashion map like its eastern metropolitan counterpart. That isn’t to say that the designers showing their collections in L.A. are not respected, inventive or brilliant for that matter. They are a different version of the up-and-coming. As ridiculous as it sounds, L.A. Fashion Week is a metaphor for the beast and blessing that is the city of Los Angeles.

L.A. Fashion Week doesn’t exactly channel its eastern counterpart. There are a few shows sprinkled in each day by designers that are more than likely unknown to those outside the fashion world. L.A. Fashion week is something like this: it an event that happens, that’s trying to improve, but just wants to get done with so that people can get on with more important things. It’s there, it’s trying, it wants to be fresh, new, inventive, original, and it may succeed in being regarded as these things, but it is not one for the history books.

Los Angeles is a melting pot of people that help fuel modern ideas in art, music, literature, culture, lifestyle, etc. The city often produces great things, but is also home to sandy beaches and the entertainment industry. This superficiality, slower way of life (compared to that of New York) paired with the lack of geographic coherence (city center anyone? What IS Downtown L.A. anyway?) retards any further progression in establishing prominence in various fields other than entertainment.

Los Angeles has a long way to go in making a name for itself in areas other than foul-mouthed rap music and bad romantic comedies (don’t get me wrong, these things bring a lot of joy to my life.) L.A. possesses its own charm and Angelenos seem to be a step ahead in defining the up-and-coming but fail to hold a stronger ground than cities like New York City. O.K., so we are a younger city. But, we have 400 square miles more of elbowroom than that of someone standing on the island of Manhattan. Maybe Angelenos are too busy sunbathing in Venice. And maybe it is a blessing in disguise.