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Friday, Feb 3, 2023

L.A. Stories

Road Warriors

The driver’s education courses of today should deal with driving challenges of today, right? Like teaching teens how to use cell phones and iPods while they’re speeding down the freeway.

That’s what Eric Creditor thinks.”Today’s kids are going to have these things in their cars,” he said, “and it’s important from the very beginning that kids know how to use them.”

Creditor is co-founder of Drivers Ed Direct, and he wants to revolutionize the industry with his online interactive course. He says his course is among the few in L.A. that offers lessons in driving today’s supersize SUVs as well as their fuel-economy antithesis, the hybrid.

Two hundred students have already signed up in the company’s first month to go through a series of flash lessons and quizzes. “When you sit in a class, you’re not required to ask any questions or respond to anything,” Creditor said. “Online, you are.”

The training cars are equipped with a video camera system that records training sessions on a DVD. The disc shows the instructor, student and windshield view, giving parents the ability to review the recording with their son or daughter after each lesson.

Spencer Kallick

Pretty Port

In an effort to beautify the fishing slip at the Port of Los Angeles and make the area more pedestrian friendly, hundreds of local professional artists are being invited to apply for a job to help landscape architects redesign the historical section.

Port officials want the multi-level area with poor seating, no lights and lots of concrete to be transformed into a park-like setting where residents can relax and enjoy a view of the slips.

The project is part of the overall $70 million Bridge to Breakwater project that will make the port more accessible to pedestrians.

“It’s historically important and it will renew its connection to the city of San Pedro,” said Jody Rassell, a principal of Fine Arts Services, an L.A. art consulting firm that’s handling the applications.

The Arts Selection Panel, comprised of local artists and residents, will select one to three winners to work with San Francisco-based Edaw Inc., which plans to complete the project next spring.

Those selected will be paid to help design lighting, furniture, paving and other three-dimensional site-specific works for the project.

David Greenberg

Bull Run

They went to Spain, planning to stay ahead of stampeding cattle. They came back with a once-in-a-lifetime story.

John Quinn and Bill Urquhart, partners in L.A.-based Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, have returned from the annual festival in Pamplona that honors the city’s patron San Ferm & #237;n with parties, music, bullfights, and a daily morning sprint ahead of 1,500-pound bulls. They had been planning the trip for a decade, and went with an attorney from New York, Don Rosenberg.

They watched as thousands of people from around the world lined up to race ahead of the formidable beasts. Urquhart dropped out of the run after police forced the three attorneys away from their planned starting point. But Quinn and Rosenberg took part.

“The people are more dangerous than the bulls,” said Quinn, who got trampled by participants after runners ahead of him fell down.

Katherine Gray

Suitcase Stuffers

You don’t have to steal the towels any more. You can order them from the catalog on your night table.

Shutters Hotel on the Beach in Santa Monica now places catalogs in the rooms listing items available for purchase, said Klaus Mennekes, vice president and managing director. The hotel always offered items such as DVDs, CDs, coffee-table books, bedding, and bathrobes online and through the gift shop, but now the in-room catalogue prevents confusion over what’s for the taking and what’s not. The catalog also attracts revenue from the impulse buyer.

Marketing items found in hotel rooms is becoming more common, said American Hotel & Lodging Association President Joe McInerney. But placing the catalogs on the night table is a new idea.

“That’s the first hotel that I’ve seen that has a catalog in the room,” he said. “Most of the catalogs are online or there’s just a piece of paper in the room listing what’s available.”

Now, what happens if guests steal the catalog?

Katherine Gray

Rental Refugees

Been evicted? Had problems finding an apartment that will let you keep your German shepherd? No job? Got turned down for a rental because of your race or sexual orientation? Well, David J. Goldstein is the landlord for you. He doesn’t want to rent to anyone who doesn’t face these type of challenges in finding a flat.

People who usually get turned away for an apartment or who are victims of discrimination get first dibs in his buildings, which are all restored Art-Deco digs built in the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s.

Goldstein has been restoring and renting out apartments in Los Angeles since 1991. He used to fix up old cars as a hobby but found that buildings had more interesting histories to offer.

Goldstein has been applying a policy of reverse discrimination “strongly for the past eight years,” he said. “When people are happy where they live, it brings out the creative side in them and it nourishes their soul,” he notes on his Web site.

Although discrimination of any kind is illegal even reverse discrimination Goldstein has never been prosecuted. “I’m breaking the law,” he said. “I love it.”

Katherine Gray


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