Observations on the News: Changes, Truth, and Lies

I haven’t done an “Observations on the News” in a while, but today there are a few articles worth commenting upon (although one is older). All are from the LA Times online.

  • Hotels Going Upscale: The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the Brentwood Holiday Inn (that round hotel you see just north of Sunset Blvd off I-405) closed yesterday. It is being remodeled and will reopen in February as the boutique Hotel Angeleno, owned by Joie de Vivre Hospitality. It will be operated at a ***½ ranking and daily room rates will start around $140 — about $35 more than Holiday Inn charged. Improvements will include a new sound baffle to reduce freeway noise, makeovers of the guest rooms and lobby and upgrades of the pool and fitness center. A new restaurant and lounge will open on the top floor. Somehow, I don’t think they are upgrading the parallel hotel in Long Beach.

    But upscaling isn’t just happening in Brentwood. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Bristol Hotel in Downtown LA is evicting its cadre of homeless residents were evicted so that it can be converted into a luxury boutique hotel. Signs of the times?

  • Changes at Fidelity: Meanwhile, there are also changes in store for Fidelity‘s largest Mutual Fund, Magellan (where I happen to have some IRAs). Although the fund did spectacularly under Peter Lynch, its performance has been so-so under Robert Stansky. Fidelity is pushing Stansky out, replacing him with Harry Lange, 53, manager of the Capital Appreciation Fund and Advisor Small Cap portfolio. I do hope this boosts performance.
  • Telecom Changes: The FCC has approved the merger of SBC and AT&T (which will be renamed AT&T), as well as Verizon and MCI (which will be renamed General Telephone). The FCC did get some useful concessions out of the behemoths: The two companies will be required to sell stand-alone high-speed Internet service, and they have agreed not to interfere with competing online services that customers choose to use.
  • Smile, You’re Not on Candid Camera: According to Dennis Zine, LA City Councilman, the Red Light cameras in Los Angeles have been turned off since June. The contract for operating the cameras, which take photos of drivers who plow through a red light, expired as the city was deciding which company to choose for the next contract. According to the Councilcritter, they didn’t bother to tell the public, noting “There’s an advantage until the public finds out they’re not doing anything. It’s like parking a police car in front of a building and not having a police officer nearby. What good does that do? It’s good until people realize there’s a police car parked there and there’s no one connected to the car.”
  • Wither the Truth?. Lastly, remember the McMartin Preschool mess from over a decade ago? Well, one of the children in the case, now grown up, has admitted that he lied. This is not to say that abuse does not happen, but that sometimes the furor of adults goes beyond the truth.

Well, the tea is cool now, and it’s off to mangle a document…