The OPEN Daily » Beverly Hills Essential Guide to L.A. Mon, 26 Jun 2017 04:27:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Beverly Hills Approves Bike Lanes for Santa Monica Blvd Wed, 21 Jun 2017 20:47:31 +0000

Last night the Beverly Hills City Council unanimously approved adding bike lanes to Santa Monica Boulevard. The new lanes are expected to be completed in mid-2018.

Better Bike‘s Mark Elliot describes the approval as ushering in a new era of connectivity: “We in Beverly Hills have conclusively put to rest the fictions that have long-driven our transportation planning: That we could remain an isolated suburb in the center of a sprawling urban region with serious mobility and quality-of-life challenges; and that we could cling tight to a 20th-century car culture even as we enter the second decade of the 21st century.”

The push for these bike lanes has taken many years, including several dashed hopes. The vote itself indicates new leadership on the council, led by pro-bicycling voices Mayor Lili Bosse and councilmember Robert Wunderlich, along with councilmember John Mirisch, who has a longer record of support for completing Beverly Hills streets. The approval is testament to the perseverance of a handful of bicycling advocates, including Mark Eliot, Kory Klem, Eric Bruins, Rich Hirschinger, Danielle Salomon, Sharon and Lou Ignarro, Barbara Linder, and Tish and Greg Laemmle.

Hirschinger described public testimony at last night’s council meeting as “39 were in favor, 3 opposed” with the opposition including two former mayors of Beverly Hills, one of whom stated that all the cyclists in favor of bike lanes were “professional cyclists.”

From Elliot’s account at Better Bike:

The incredulity expressed by councilmembers regarding our opponents’ flimsy arguments against bicycle lanes suggested two things as the evening progressed:

  1. Complete streets is a concept whose time has finally come in Beverly Hills. We’re embarking on a complete streets plan process now, and the embrace of safe, multimodal mobility makes all the difference between ginning up a pro-forma, check-the-box complete streets plan; and a real policy statement and implementation framework that would actually make our streets safe for all road users. It’s the difference between cynicism and optimism.
  2. The gathering momentum of tonight’s discussion suggested that the mobility NIMBY zombie, the skulking black cloud that has loomed over every discussion of new modes of mobility here in Beverly Hills, is finally banished. It seemed even that the opposition forces couldn’t muster the enthusiasm (let alone the numbers) of years past.

In addition to approving the bike lanes, the council approved upgrading them to be more visible. Again from Elliot:

In what amounts to a total victory, we not only gained five votes for lanes; we also have support from three councilmembers for high-visibility lanes. On that point, the only discussion concerned just how conspicuous we could make them. Councilmember Mirisch suggested a very specific shade of blue to pop out; even better, he said, let’s make any colored treatment self-illuminating.

Beverly Hills Santa Monica Boulevard bike lanes will be added as part of the currently under-construction project to improve Santa Monica Boulevard between Wilshire Boulevard and Doheny Drive. Though the new Beverly Hills lanes will largely close a significant gap between bike lanes in West Hollywood and Century City, adjacent cities will need to extend their bike facilities before Santa Monica Boulevard will be a contiguous bikeway across the Westside.

Continue reading: Streetsblog Los Angeles

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OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder lists his hip Beverly Hills home for $12.75 million Mon, 19 Jun 2017 17:27:36 +0000 OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder and wife Genevieve have put their updated home in the Trousdale section of Beverly Hills on the market for $12.75 million.

The privately situated estate, built in 1959, was restored and expanded two years ago by Alvarez Morris Architectural Studio. The renovation…

Continue reading: – Arts&Culture

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Police: Robbers Beat Beverly Hills Man, Crash His Car Sat, 17 Jun 2017 21:36:10 +0000

BEVERLY HILLS ( – A search is underway for two young suspects armed with handguns who robbed and assaulted a man near his Beverly Hills home just after midnight Friday, and then stole his car and crashed it, police said.

The robbery took place at around 12:10 a.m. Saturday while the man was out for a walk in the 800 block of Schumacher Driver, which is at the Beverly Hills-Los Angeles border line, according to Los Angeles police.

The victim was confronted by two men armed with handguns, who punched and robbed him. They then forced him to take them back to his vehicle, which was parked at his Beverly Hills home, police said.

The suspects took the victim’s car keys and stole his car. However, they crashed it nearby and fled on foot. Beverly Hills police responded, but were unable to located the suspects.

One suspect was described as Hispanic and the other as African-American. Both were believed to be in their early 20s, police said.

The victim did not suffer major injuries.

Continue reading: CBS Los Angeles

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Crustacean Beverly Hills Flips Into Dual Restaurants Across Two Floors Mon, 12 Jun 2017 16:36:20 +0000

A major shift for one of Beverly Hills’ iconic establishments

Big changes are coming to Crustacean in Beverly Hills, as the long-running restaurant is going down for a massive remodel. When all is said and done, the An family (who have been running Crustacean since 1997) will reopen the corner location with a pair of concepts spread across both floors of the property.

At street level will be a completely overhauled Crustacean. The restaurant has long been a hideaway of sorts for celebrities looking to duck into private dining spaces and enjoy a collection of modern Vietnamese fusion eats, but soon will reemerge as a multi-functional space with movable walls that can help to section off the primary dining areas for large parties or smaller private events. There will also be an open U-shaped bar and increased patio space along Bedford Drive, along with a more open kitchen and a tight chef’s counter seating arrangement.

Reps for the House of An restaurant group aren’t saying yet what the second-floor concept will be, though details released to Eater indicate it could be a more personalized An family experience. Crustacean has long had a so-called Secret Kitchen inside their existing usual restaurant kitchen setup, which is part marketing talking point, part actual hideaway for the family’s most treasured recipes. There’s a chance Crustacean’s second concept upstairs could play on that theme, but without a name or menu to know about yet, it’s hard to say.

The last day of Crustacean’s current iteration comes on June 22, with a months-long remodel to follow. Ideally both Jh2 Architects-designed projects will reopen sometime in the fall, each with their own entrances from the street and unique take on the family’s popular Vietnamese flavors.

Crustacean Beverly Hills
9646 S. Santa Monica Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA

Continue reading: Eater LA – All

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Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins unloads Beverly Hills home for $3.9 million Tue, 06 Jun 2017 21:26:13 +0000 Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has officially beat it out of Beverly Hills, selling his home of about eight years for $3.9 million.

The traditional-style house, built in 1947, sits on a three-quarter-acre lot that includes a two-room guest house. A swimming pool, an outdoor fireplace,…

Continue reading: – Hot List

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Beverly Hills News – David Spade Latest Celeb Victim in String of High Profile Burglaries in Southland Tue, 06 Jun 2017 21:24:28 +0000 Posted: Tuesday, June 6, 2017 – 2:10 PM

(CNS) – “Just Shoot Me” and “Rules of Engagement” actor David Spade appears to be the latest victim in a string of Southland celebrity burglaries, although police were tight-lipped about the case Tuesday.

The website reported that burglars stole a safe from Spade’s Beverly Hills home over the weekend, making off with about $80,000 in jewelry and cash.

The 52-year-old comic actor has a security system at the home, but the culprits managed to disable it, TMZ reported, adding that a wedding band that belonged to Spade’s mother was among the pilfered items.

Beverly Hills police said they were aware of the report, but offered little information. Police confirmed to CBS2 they were investigating a burglary on the same street and block on which Spade lives, but would not confirm the actor was the target.

TMZ, however, posted images of police stationed outside Spade’s home.

Spade, an alum of “Saturday Night Live,” is the latest celebrity to be targeted by thieves in recent months. Break-ins have been reported at the homes of celebrities such as Alanis Morissette, Nicki Minaj, Emmy Rossum, Jaime Pressly, Yasiel Puig and Derek Fisher.

Continue reading: The Beverly Hills Courier – The Latest Beverly Hills News

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Breaking: French Megachef Jean-Georges Opens His Beverly Hills Restaurant Today Thu, 01 Jun 2017 20:39:23 +0000

Inside the swanky new Waldorf-Astoria establishment

Los Angeles just upgraded its dining cache with today’s unannounced arrival of Jean-Georges Vongerichten at the new Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. The 12-story hotel property opened for business this morning, kicking off three Jean-Georges restaurants across the property, and the legend himself is working the room at this very second.

First there’s Jean-Georges Beverly Hills, the signature dining establishment for the hotel. Meant as an all-day option for hotel guests and anyone looking to get familiar with the Michelin-starred chef’s food, this restaurant is the largest and most opulent of the bunch. Jean-Georges himself says the menu is a reflection of many of his classic New York City establishments like Jean-Georges NYC and ABC Kitchen and Cocina, though they’re all pushed through the California produce lens. The opening menu is below.

Matthew Kang

From there, hotel guests only can experience The Rooftop by JG, a more casual spot that overlooks the brand new pool as well as much of Beverly Hills. There will also be dining options for private cabanas up on the roof, as well as in-room eats for guests below. Finally there is the Jean-Georges Beverly Hills Bar, a more casual affair for cocktails and shared plates mostly. None of this includes the additional dual ballrooms and inevitable wedding catering packages that Jean-Georges’ culinary team will also undertake down the line.

Hours for Jean-Georges Beverly Hills run 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. for breakfast, 11:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for lunch, and 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. for dinner. The Rooftop runs 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, while the bar spans 11 a.m. to midnight daily as well.

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills
9850 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA

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15,000 Medical Records Stolen From Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery Clinic Allegedly by Ex-Employee: Officials Thu, 01 Jun 2017 12:52:21 +0000
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A massive privacy breach has been reported at a plastic surgeon’s office in Beverly Hills, compromising the personal information of thousands of patients including celebrities.

Lauren Lyster reports for the KTLA 5 Morning News on June 1, 2017.

Continue reading: KTLA

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13-year-old girl reported missing in Boyle Heights Wed, 31 May 2017 13:24:22 +0000 Los Angeles police are looking for help to find a missing teenage girl last seen in Boyle Heights.

Continue reading: KABC-TV Los Angeles News, Weather & Traffic | Southern California News

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13-year-old girl reported missing in Boyle Heights Wed, 31 May 2017 13:22:49 +0000 Los Angeles police are looking for help to find a missing teenage girl last seen in Boyle Heights.

Continue reading: KABC-TV Los Angeles News, Weather & Traffic | Southern California News

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Man vandalizes Rodeo Drive shops by ramming with Mercedes Mon, 01 May 2017 08:18:59 +0000 beverly hills rodeo drive

Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.; Credit: Photo by Trey Ratcliff via Flickr Creative Commons


Beverly Hills police say they are looking for a man who deliberately drove his Mercedes-Benz into boutiques on Rodeo Drive.

Police say the man appeared to be looking only to vandalize early Friday when he drove the Mercedes SUV into three boutiques and an office on the famously ritzy street.

The man shattered glass storefronts and scratched a door.

Police say the man in his 20s with a black hooded sweatshirt and black baseball cap was driving slowly and did not attempt to steal anything from the stores, leading investigators to believe he was only trying to damage them.

This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at

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Man Sought After Vandalizing 3 Rodeo Drive Boutiques by Driving Mercedes-Benz Into Them: Beverly Hills PD Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:09:43 +0000 Beverly Hills police are searching for a man who vandalized three retail boutiques and an office building on Rodeo Drive by driving a Mercedes-Benz into them early Friday.

An image of the Mercedes-Benz, believed to be an R-Class SUV, was released by Beverly Hills police.

Between 1:25 a.m. and 1:45 a.m., the man drove his vehicle into four separate locations, damaging glass storefronts and entrances on the well-known street, the Beverly Hills Police Department said in a news release.

The locations were in the 300 and 400 blocks of North Rodeo Drive, and the 100 block of South Rodeo Drive, according to the release.

No property was taken, and investigators suspect the driver’s intent was vandalism, police Lt. Elisabeth Albanese told the Los Angeles Times.

“Based on what we know so far, it appears to be intentional vandalism, not an accident and not an attempt at theft or burglary,” Albanese said.

The man is described by police as white, between 20 to 25 years old, with a thin build. He was wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt and black baseball cap.

The vehicle is believed to be a black Mercedes-Benz R-Class that has white paper plates with black lettering on them.

Anyone with information is asked to call Beverly Hills police at 310-285-2125.

Continue reading: KTLA

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Katy Perry pays $19M for very private Beverly Hills home Sun, 16 Apr 2017 20:18:48 +0000

The pop star purchased the house in an off-market sale

Looks like Katy Perry is back in the Los Angeles real estate game with a major purchase in Beverly Hills. TMZ reports that the pop star has agreed to pay close to $19 million in an off-market deal for the five-bedroom home.

A little under 5,500 square feet in size, the home is located in a very well-guarded gated community in celebrity-filled Coldwater Canyon. Situated on over an acre of open space, it’s accessed by a quarter-mile long driveway and surrounded by lushly landscaped green space. Features include an infinity pool and multiple verandas and outdoor sitting spaces.

According to Variety, the seller is Cody Leibel, son of Canadian developer Lorne Leibel (and apparently among the youngest Ferrari Enzo owners). Leibel appears to be in line for a decent profit on the sale, having purchased the home for a little over $9 million back in 2007.

Meanwhile, Perry is fresh from a very well-publicized legal battle with a group of elderly nuns over the right to purchase a former convent in Los Feliz—a fight which she seems to have won for now.

The singer also owns a pair of properties in the Hollywood Hills which she purchased for a total of $11.2 million in 2013.

Continue reading: Curbed LA

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Katy Perry Buys $19 Million Beverly Hills Mansion (PHOTO GALLERY) Thu, 13 Apr 2017 20:01:56 +0000

Katy Perry

Snags $19m Home

4/13/2017 11:42 AM PDT


Katy Perry just made a massive move on the real estate market … she’s about to close on a $19 million dollar mega mansion in Beverly Hills, TMZ has learned.

The house has 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms and sits on 5,427 sq feet in a super secure gated community. 

The house was not on the market, and we’re told Katy paid the owner a skosh under $19 mil to seal the deal.

The house has all the bells and whistles any star could want — a long, winding driveway, infinity pool, a gorgeous terrace with a view … all surrounded by a forest of eucalyptus.

Get this, her neighbors are Adele, Nicole Kidman, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, Cameron Diaz, Nicole Ritchie, Zoe Saldana, Ziggy Marley and Guy O’Seary.

Talk about living like a California girl.

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The Flats Finally Sidles Up to Beverly Hills With a Casual Menu and Late Night Hours Wed, 12 Apr 2017 19:49:10 +0000

The flatbread player is open now

Nearly three years after announcing itself as the next tenant to follow in the former Red Medicine space, The Flats has finally arrived. Chef/owner Kyle Schutte is working the kitchen now, following a short friends and family stint that took place last weekend.

Now the restaurant is running lunch through dinner service from the corner address just east of La Cienega on the southeastern reaches of Beverly Hills. You can find menus up online officially now too, from the $8 baguette with emulsified bone marrow to the salads, cured meats, and cocktails. The namesake dish, flatbreads, include a $12 margarita option and a heartier $15 pulled pork variety with potato puree and manchego cheese.


Mushroom flatbread from The Flats

Hours for The Flats run to midnight Sunday through Tuesday, with a full extension to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Lunch starts at 11 a.m. during the week, and on weekends it’s dinner only from 5 p.m. on.

The Flats
8400 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA

Continue reading: Eater LA

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Former ‘Poolside Prince’ At Beverly Hills Hotel Now Homeless, Seeking Donations Tue, 11 Apr 2017 21:32:42 +0000 BEVERLY HILLS ( — A longtime pool manager at the Beverly Hills Hotel who once rubbed elbows with Hollywood celebrities is asking for help to get back on his feet.

Svend Peterson, once known as the Poolside Prince and the Cabana King, retired from his official title as the famed hotel’s pool manager more than 15 years ago and has since fallen on hard times.

“Hello, I’m Svend Peterson, I”m 86 years old and homeless,” Peterson says in a YouTube video posted April 9.

After working at the Beverly Hills Hotel for more than four decades and rubbing elbows with Hollywood royalty such as Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant, and Faye Dunaway, Peterson says he was taken advantage of by realtors who conned him into selling his house quickly, landing him in trouble with the IRS, according to a GoFundMe page set up on his behalf.

Still recovering after being recently hospitalized for an infection, Peterson’s “life consists of going from motel to motel and when the money runs out, he sleeps in a car” and going without much more than a couple of bananas to eat, according to the page.

A Twitter account set up on Peterson’s behalf includes photos of him with various celebrities.

Supporters say the GoFundMe effort hopes to raise $5,900 for a down payment for an apartment for Peterson and first three months’ rent.

“I’m calling on you because I need help,” Peterson said. “Real bad.”

Continue reading: CBS Los Angeles

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Pedestrian Fatally Struck After 2 SUVs Collide In Beverly Hills Mon, 10 Apr 2017 07:33:17 +0000 BEVERLY HILLS (   —  A pedestrian was killed Sunday in Beverly Hills.

Desmond Shaw, reporting in Sky 2, said the accident occurred at Wilshire Boulevard and Bedford.

Two luxury SUVs collided and somehow a pedestrian was struck, he reported.

An investigation into the cause of the crash is on-going.


Continue reading: CBS Los Angeles

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One Beverly Hills Development Begins Work Tue, 04 Apr 2017 19:30:02 +0000

Work is now beginning for One Beverly Hills, the Richard Meier-designed hotel and condominium complex that will rise on the former site of a posh May Company department store.

The below image, snapped by real estate agent Blake Alexander, shows excavation in process for the project from the Dalian Wanda Group, which is budgeted in excess of $1 billion.

The mixed-use development will create 13- and 15-story buildings on a property spanning between Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards.  A full buildout of the development will create 193 residential units, 134 hotel rooms and restaurant space.

Both the hotel and residential components of the project share common amenities, including underground parking for more than 1,100 vehicles and over 32,000 square feet of exterior green space designed by the landscape architecture firm OLIN.

The hotel will also include meeting rooms and event space.

Though plans to redevelop the eight-acre site at 9900 Wilshire Boulevard date back to 2004, when New Pacific Realty Corp. first generated plans for the Meier-designed complex.  The last substantial movement on the project came ten years later in 2014, when an earlier owner demolished the vacant Robinsons-May that occupied the property for decades.

Just down the street, the first phase of a rival development feature a Waldorf Astoria hotel is now nearing completion.

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Continue reading: Urbanize LA

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Beverly Hills Police Seek Help In Locating Man, 87 Mon, 27 Mar 2017 08:12:00 +0000 BEVERLY HILLS ( — Authorities asked for the public’s help Sunday in locating a missing 87-year-old man.

Stanley Heller was last seen near his home along Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills, police said in a news release.

According to police, Heller suffers from severe Alzheimer’s disease. It’s believed he walked away from his home and is possibly lost in the area.

Heller is a 6-foot-tall Caucasian male.

Anyone with more information about this case was asked to call the Beverly Hills Police Department at (310) 550-4951.

Continue reading: CBS Los Angeles

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Beauty and the Beast Inspired Menu at SLS Hotel Beverly Hills Fri, 17 Mar 2017 16:47:43 +0000
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For details and reservations to experience the "Be Our Guest!" offerings, click HERE or call (310) 247-0400

Continue reading: Los Angeles News and Video for Southern California – KTLA.COM …

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Beverly Hills Beignet Flips Into Yet Another Poke Shop Wed, 15 Mar 2017 00:38:44 +0000

Le sigh

Beignet lovers didn’t have long to revel in the short-lived Beverly Hills Beignet in the heart of the Golden Triangle. The New Orleans-style doughnut shop hardly made half a year before closing back in December in an ugly dispute between partners Dion Antic and Maggie Finneran.

Of all things the storefront could have become, Antic, who held control of the space, has turned it into yet another poke shop. The restaurateur explained that the quick flip is thanks to the use of existing equipment. So how do you utilize the fryers that made the beignets? Fried poke, of course!

Well, kind of. Diners can get two wild caught fishes fried with furikake-panko crust served over French fries. If you prefer to actually get poke at B.H. Poke, you can get a bright red house-made taco shell to house the raw fish.

Beyond fryer-utilizing fish options, there’s also the standard build-your-own model with a selection of fishes and toppings. But the real question is how long is this poke craze sustainable in Los Angeles? With both one-offs and chains like Mainland and Sweetfin Poke sweeping the city, how many over $10 fast-casual lunch options do we really need?

B.H. Poke
9527 Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills

Continue reading: Eater LA – All

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Vic Mensa Arrested in Beverly Hills for Gun Possession, Permit Problems Tue, 07 Mar 2017 21:37:12 +0000

Vic Mensa

Busted for Gun Possession …

CA Permit Problems

3/7/2017 1:21 PM PST


0307-vic-mensa-TMZ-01Vic Mensa got pulled over for a traffic violation, but ended up spending the night in jail for having a gun in his car with a permit — the wrong one, allegedly.

The Roc Nation rapper was stopped in Beverly Hills last week for running a stop sign and having tinted windows … according to law enforcement sources. We’re told he informed cops he had a gun in his car and showed them his concealed carry permit. The problem is … cops say the permit is for another state. 

According to the police report … Vic was arrested and booked on a felony count of carrying a concealed weapon. After one night in jail, he was released on $35,000 bail.

Mensa had a run-in with Bev Hills PD last summer … and felt he was racially profiled while shopping. 

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Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills Heads Toward the Finish Line Wed, 01 Mar 2017 06:57:57 +0000

An image sent by photographer Michael Hayes shows that completion is nearing for the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, a $200-million luxury hotel next to the iconic Beverly Hilton.

Developer Benny Alagem is constructing the 12-story building at the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevard, creating 170 guest rooms with a collection of shops and restaurants.

Architecure firms Gensler and Pierre-Yves Rochon are designing the mid-rise development in the Streamline Moderne style, with a variety of high-quality finishes.

The official website of the project shows that the hotel will begin taking leases in June.

Alagem is also pursuing the development a pair of mid-rise condominium towers on the property, after an alternate proposal to build a 26-story tower was rejected by Beverly Hills voters in November.

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Hollywood talent agency hosting ‘anti-immigration sentiment ‘rally on Oscar weekend Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:55:54 +0000 The Dolby Theatre is transformed to host the Academy Awards. Photo by John Schreiber.
The Dolby Theatre is transformed to host the Academy Awards. Photo by John Schreiber.

The Dolby Theatre is transformed to host the Academy Awards. Photo by John Schreiber.

United Talent Agency, which traditionally holds an annual pre-Academy Awards party, will instead host a rally at its Beverly Hills headquarters Friday to express concern over the “anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States.”

UTA executives said such sentiment has a “potential chilling effect on the global exchange of ideas and freedom of expression.” The agency also donated $250,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union and the International Rescue Committee.

One of Hollywood’s top talent agencies, UTA represents figures in entertainment and media, across movies, television, digital, news, theater, video games, books, music and live entertainment.

Among UTA’s clients is Oscar-winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, who is nominated for an Academy Award this year for best foreign-language film for “The Salesman.” Farhadi announced previously he will not travel to the United States for the Oscar ceremony due to “the unjust circumstances” of President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily barring visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries — even though that order has since been blocked by a federal appeals court.

Trump has defended the order as a needed step to prevent potential terrorists from entering the country.

“This is a moment that demands our generosity, awareness and restlessness,” UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer wrote in a letter to agency employees announcing the decision to cancel the Oscar party. “Our world is a better place for the free exchange of artists, ideas and creative expression. If our nation ceases to be the place where artists the world over can come to express themselves freely, then we cease, in my opinion, to be America.”

The 89th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will be held Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood,

—City News Service

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LA County moves forward on protecting Obamacare Wed, 22 Feb 2017 03:31:23 +0000 Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Photo: Photo
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Photo: Photo

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Photo: Photo

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to push back against the threatened repeal of the Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas recommended strong opposition, telling his colleagues, “The erosion has already begun … it’s not just the loud voices in Congress, it’s not just the loud voice on Pennsylvania Avenue.”

Ridley-Thomas cited an executive order issued by President Donald Trump that grants exemptions from the ACA and delays further implementation. The Internal Revenue Service has since said it won’t reject filings from taxpayers who fail to state whether they have paid for health insurance mandated by the law.

In addition to pressing legislators not to repeal Obamacare, the board directed the county’s CEO, Sachi Hamai, and the head of the county hospital system, Dr. Mitchell Katz, to explore other options.

Katz told the board that some changes are likely.

Nobody thought that the ACA was perfect … how do we improve on it?” Katz asked the board. He said premiums are too high and 85 percent of working people cannot afford insurance unless it’s subsidized.”

Katz mentioned some ways he believed healthcare costs could be reduced, including the possibility of controlling drug costs. Offering another example, Katz said some elderly patients might be happier in assisted living, but Medicare only covers more expensive nursing home care.

The state manages Medicaid and will be front and center in addressing changes to the healthcare system. However, Katz and others said Los Angeles County should have a big role given its outsize population and control of one of the state’s most active public hospital systems.

“We are the second-largest public health system in the country,” Hamai said. She said the county receives about $900 million in federal funding for its healthcare system.

A recent study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and UC Berkeley Labor Center warned a repeal could trigger a loss of $5.8 billion in gross domestic product and eliminate 63,000 jobs in healthcare and other industries in Los Angeles County alone.

Speaker Paul Ryan has said House Republicans “are working to repeal and replace Obamacare to help people who are struggling with these higher premiums, to help people who have lost their plan or their doctor or both, to help people left with just one insurer to choose from, as is the case with one out of every three counties in America.”

“This is not what the country was promised — far from it,” Ryan, R- Wisconsin, said at a Washington news conference earlier this month. “More and more, we see things getting worse. More and more, we see this law collapsing in front of us. So we could do one of two things. We could just sit back and watch the collapse happen and see people get hurt, or we could step in and conduct a rescue mission, which is to rescue the American health care system from the collapse that is coming because of Obamacare.”

Ryan and new Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price have proposed changing Medicaid — which was expanded in many states under the ACA — from a co-funded federal and state program to one paid for by a block grant of federal dollars.

Proponents say block grants would allow those closest to the patient population to control costs and treatment. Opponents say block grants would cut funding without cutting costs.

Ridley-Thomas called the proposal the most serious budget issue either the state or county had faced in years.

Supervisor Janice Hahn urged those who see the benefits of the ACA to attend town halls and be vocal in their support.

In addition to roughly 1.2 million county residents who gained health insurance under the ACA, many more benefited from provisions that allowed children to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26, prohibited insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, eliminated caps on catastrophic illnesses and required more employers to offer insurance, Ridley- Thomas said.

— City News Service

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