The big moment for The Venice Centennial has finally arrived.
After months of planning and other efforts by various Centennial committees, a parade and an opening ceremony Sunday officially begin the 100th anniversary celebration.
Our issue this week is full of information about the various Venice Centennial events. Hopefully, we haven’t missed anybody and any event. If so, give us a call and we’ll try to squeeze you in next week.
OTHER HAPPENINGS — Then at midnight Friday morning, July 1st, we get a new City Council member in the local Los Angeles City Council District 11.
Although Bill Rosendahl has already been officially sworn in, he’ll do it all again publicly in the old Venice Pavilion area near Windward Avenue and the beach between 10 and 11:30 a.m. Saturday morning, July 2nd.
Later that same day — from 5 p.m. Saturday, July 2nd — the City of Santa Monica and Santa Monica College will have its annual “Celebrate America” fireworks and music celebration.
The fun starts even before the sun goes down as families gather on the turf of the college Corsair Stadium to spread their blankets and have an old-fashioned Independence Day weekend picnic.
This is one of our favorite community events of the year. Terrific fireworks, preceded by live entertainment, food booths and a minimum of speeches (hurray!).
In past years, city firemen have handed out fire hats for the youngsters and the whole evening has been just one big joyous family outing.
The grandstand is always packed with happy folks who quickly get to know whoever is sitting nearby.
It’s one big optimistic, fun-filled evening and a great intro for the July 4th weekend.
Santa Monica went through a whole parade of alternatives to the July 4th celebration.
Earlier events on the beach were so popular that they got out of hand — more than just rowdy, they turned into dangerous outings that most parents started avoiding.
Then the city decided it would get a quieter crowd if the city moved its July 4th fireworks show from dusk to dawn — fireworks just before the sun came up on July 4th. That didn’t last very long.
Parents might not mind dragging their kids out of bed for an Easter sunrise service, but to get them up and out in time for early morning fireworks was something else.
So now the Santa Monica July 4th fireworks program has evolved into this tremendous success. The location is self-contained, well monitored and a safe venue for even the smallest toddler.
This is a not-to-be-missed community event.
Doors to Santa Monica College Corsair Field open at 5 p.m., Saturday, July 2nd. Music starts at 6 p.m. with the Main Street Americana Band and at 7 p.m. J.D. Hall and the J.D. Hall Band are on. The fireworks usually start around 9 p.m. as it gets dark.
The fireworks are accompanied by rousing patriotic music.
We’ll save the many Fourth of July weekend Monday events until next week.
BUSY JUNE MONTH — We have already had a pretty busy month, what with a big political party in Westchester to honor councilman-elect Rosendahl, our afternoon with Playa Vista president Steve Soboroff that we wrote about last week and the Westchester/LAX-Marina del Rey Chamber of Commerce installation of new chamber president Cedric Sutherland Friday, June 17th.
ROSENDAHL PARTY ñ The backyard bash for Rosendahl that Denny Schneider and his wife Nan hosted drew a large and interesting mix of local folks.
Los Angeles Councilman Bernard Parks and his wife Bobbe were there, as was former Los Angeles Councilwoman Ruth Galanter.
Galanter gave one of the shortest speeches we’ve ever heard her make. She walked to the center of the scene and said:
“I’m glad we’ve got our district back.”
End of comment.
Highlight of the evening came when Rosendahl took off his shirt, revealing a T-shirt that on the back read:
“I SURVIVED FLORA 5/17/05.”
The Rosendahl camp might be able to reduce much of its campaign debt by selling the T-shirts.
Actually, there were quite a few at the shindig who endorsed Rosendahl opponent Flora Krisiloff.
Rosendahl extended the olive branch to “even those who supported Flora,” saying he wanted to serve everyone.
Well, maybe, but two days later Playa Vista president Steve Soboroff told us he still has not heard from Rosendahl even though he has been sending the winner e-mails and other messages.
Rosendahl did note at the Schneider party that he is getting “Dear Rosie” e-mails again from Soboroff.
Soboroff was using the “Rosie” moniker even before the election and he likes to remind us often that he and Rosendahl are “good friends,” having gone to Israel together awhile back.
The two have an interesting way of sharing their “friendship.”
Rosendahl based much of his campaign on “stopping Playa Vista,” while Soboroff did all he could to “stop Rosendahl,” dumping in a ton of money against Rosendahl near the end of the recent council campaign.
“I had to,” Soboroff told us last week. “I had to do something to counter all the misinformation he was spreading about us.”
Although we endorsed and supported Rosendahl, we have to admit that Rosendahl was less than completely honest with the public when he kept telling everyone that he would “stop” the Playa Vista project.
Not once did we ever hear “Rosie” admit that Playa Vista has all the entitlements the project needs and the only way to “stop” Playa Vista is through still another lawsuit — Playa Vista has won all 20 such lawsuits opponents have filed against the project.
What interests Soboroff is that if Rosendahl plans to stop Playa Vista development, he will have to file suits that will have the City of Los Angeles as co-defendant, since such suits are usually based on wrong issuance of permits.
“Just who is he going to represent?” Soboroff asked us.
Soboroff thinks it would be rather awkward if Councilman Rosendahl starts suing the City of Los Angeles.
At the Schneider party, Rosendahl was still listing Playa Vista as one of his three “big issues.” The other two, Los Angeles International Airport master plan and the Ballona Wetlands.
HOW TIMES CHANGE — The last local councilmember to get elected by attacking Playa Vista was Ruth Galanter.
One would think that Playa Vista would have long-enduring grudges against Galanter for the shellacking that she gave the development back in the late ’80s when she used her attacks on Playa Vista to defeat incumbent Pat Russell for the local council seat.
But times change and today when you visit Spyglass Park in Playa Vista, you’ll be able to look through a pair of spyglasses, across Lincoln Boulevard and into the new freshwater marsh on the west side of Lincoln Boulevard.
To get there, you will pass a monument plaque honoring — yep, you guessed it — Ruth Galanter.
And what does this plaque say of the once onerous Playa Vista opponent?
Visionary and Steward
Thanks to her efforts, the view from Spyglass Park of willows and water and wildlife will be here for generations to come.
Hmm. Wonder how long we’ll have to wait for similar homage to Bill Rosendahl.
OTHER POLITICAL NOTES — As we write, we have not heard what Los Angeles Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski plans after her council term ends at midnight Friday, June 30th.
But her local deputy chief of staff, Sharon Sandow, has announced that she will become the chief deputy to Los Angeles Councilman Dennis Zine.
n Another “ain’t politics strange” sighting: conservative Republicans rushing to embrace Democratic State Senator Debra Bowen at last week’s Westchester/LAX-Marina del Rey Chamber installation dinner — the conservative Westchester Republi- cans all gushing that they certainly will be supporting Bowen in her effort to capture the state secretary of state post next year.
Bowen still has no announced Democratic nomination opponent and suggested to us that maybe incumbent Republican Bruce McPherson might choose not to run for a full term next year.
n More local politics: longtime Westchester resident Jimmy Blackman has been tapped by incoming Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to be deputy chief of staff.
SENTIMENTAL STEVE — During our get-together Steve Soboroff noted, with much glee, that he had purchased for $18,000 through a Sotheby’s auction sale in New York City the old standard typewriter upright that former Los Angeles Times sportswriter Jim Murray used to bang out his fabulous sports columns for the little downtown daily.
Soboroff says he’ll make the Jim Murray typewriter available for USC journalists and others who might wish to type out a column or two on the typewriter used by the master himself.
We don’t know if Soboroff is more pleased at getting the typewriter or at outbidding the only other bidder — the Los Angeles Times.
Soboroff sees his “liberation” of the Jim Murray typewriter as a noble goal.
“The Times probably would have just stuck it under glass and put it somewhere in their lobby, while I will make the typewriter available to others who were inspired by Jim Murray,” Soboroff said.
WONDERFUL WARDROBE — The Westchester/LAX-Marina del Rey Chamber of Commerce had many highlights, not the least of which was observing what everybody was wearing.
A Mardi Gras theme gave the ladies a great opportunity to arrive in a whole parade of dashing outfits. Lots of feathers, beads and sequins.
The guys took “black tie optional” to mean everything from tuxes to black T-shirts under sport coats.
But the most regal wardrobe moment of the evening came as incoming president Cedric Sutherland was draped with a fur-lined Mardi Gras cape and crown and flooded with cascading confetti.
We had been told that Sutherland was from New Orleans, but it turns out he is an Alabama guy, with accent to prove it.
That gave installing officer Supervisor Don Knabe a great one-liner as he noted that the chamber is going from one president no one could understand — New Yawker Diane Barretti — to another with an incomprehensible drawl, Alabaman Cedric Sutherland.
But for Knabe, the most startling moment of the evening was finding civic leader and restaurateur Tony Palermo of Tony P’s fame actually wearing — gasp — long pants.
ELEPHANT RIDER — In previous years, the Westchester-LAX/Marina del Rey Chamber of Commerce selected a community leader to ride an elephant in the annual Westchester Fourth of July Parade. This year, the chamber decided to raffle off the elephant ride at its annual chamber installation.
Over at the Travelodge Hotel at LAX, employees saw the raffle as a wonderful way to give a fun ride to a young boy who has been suffering from a series of serious tumors. The Travelodge employees bought 40 tickets for the elephant ride.
“I warned them that even with 40 tickets, they might not win,” Travelodge general manager Lance Lipscomb said.
Much suspense as the winning ticket was drawn. The result:
Look for that young boy and his father on the parade elephant.