Thursday, December 3, 2009

Busy Day Ahead...

Gotta dash off to KNPR now to join Dave Berns on State of Nevada from 9:40a-10a PT for chatter about Steve Wynn, CityCenter, Las Vegas Sun layoffs and, so I hear, what the Tiger Woods drama could mean for Vegas clubs. (I know, I know. I go where the host wants me to. Friesster = Media Whore.)

Then I need to finish an overdue Sphere.Com piece on, yes, CityCenter, before the Crystals media open house from noon-5. Plus, gotta rent me a tux for the Mandarin Oriental opening on Friday night -- this is Vegas, quickie tux rental should be easy, yes? -- and I've got a LVW column idea that'll also take a little legwork.

So I probably won't be able to blog much today, but I've been very efficient at approving comments, which is easier to do via iPhone than anything else on Blogger, and there've been loads of them so browse the site. And keep 'em coming.

And, also, please take a look at my largest and most significant CityCenter piece, the cover of L.A. Weekly. It's a 4,000-word examination of the premises of the project and raises some issues I have yet to see anyone discuss in this rah-rah period. The piece was edited by Drex Heikes, the editor who drove Ali Berzon's Pulitzer-winning package on CityCenter construction deaths at the Sun. He got out of dodge before the carnage, much to my benefit.


ucsb1990 said...


Caught your interview on KNPR. Interesting comparison between the Sun and the L.A. Times. I sure hope the Greenspun progeny have more devotion to the Sun than the younger Chandlers had to the Times. As you apparently know, once Otis Chandler was finally forced all the way out in the mid-‘80s, the rest of the family oversaw the evisceration of the company. They brought in the guy from General Mills who got nicknamed the “Cereal Killer” for the way he dismantled and sold off Times-Mirror assets. The family loved him because the stock price went up. By contrast, Otis told his biographer that only one of his cousins expressed gratitude to him for the way he’d built up the paper.

It would be nice to think that the L.A. Times’ business model from the ‘60s and ‘70s – that the way to make money is to spend money putting together the best product possible – would still be viable today. Otis spent a fortune in those years opening bureaus all over the world and hiring the best people he could find. (Katharine Graham, a family friend, was furious at him for hiring away her star Mideast correspondent shortly after she took over the Washington Post.) The paper got bigger and bigger, won Pulitzer Prizes, and raked in the cash; The Atlantic magazine once ran a cover illustration showing Otis surfing on a wave of money. Quality and profits went together back then. I wonder if they ever will again.

Since you obviously know the Times’ back story, I’m guessing you probably read Halberstam’s “The Powers That Be” in college. If you ever have some free time (in your retirement, maybe), the Otis Chandler biography “Privileged Son” is a good read too. It goes all the way back to General Otis in the 1800s and covers the same ground Halberstam did, but in more detail. The recent PBS documentary on the Chandlers was pretty decent as well, but it just scratched the surface.

Anonymous said...

Oops, just realized that when I said class and taste above that this didn't come out right. I meant people of certain ideologies that you are likely to find in some parts of the country like San Francisco and LA's Westside. This won't appeal to the Venetian crowd most likely.

Michael said...

Very well written piece Steve, and I definitely think you've approached it from angles the mainstream media has not, which in my opinion are the critical questions to ask of the property.

As I see more and more pictures though, I get the impression, that although everyone 'agreed' to proceed with Murren's vision, they just went about it in the Vegas way and city themed a casino resort. Which ultimately will work for the strip, possibly not at the prices they expect though. However I don't think it will ever become the epi "city" center that Murren envisioned. At the end of the day it's still the strip and not a major city, will there be some executives that buy a condo there, sure, but even if it's Times Square and I'm not New York expert, but I have to imagine the preferred area for living would be somewhere outside of Times Square as a tourist centric area.

Anonymous said...

No "printable text" option for the LA Weekly piece? Somebody should have a word with Heikes about that. Some of us like to save these things for future reference.

David McKee

Anonymous said...

Davis McKee,
There is a printable link to Steve's absolutely top notch piece in LA Weekly

Hiker said...


Can't you save it as a PDF file for future reading? That's what I do with a lot of articles I read online and want to keep.