Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

The Buzz on 2018: What We Did and What You Read

The beginning of the new year is always a great time to look back at the old year, and to look ahead to the future.  Here at the Larchmont Buzz, we certainly have a wonderful archive of stories to tell us where we were and what we covered in 2018…but we also thought it would be fun to take a slightly deeper look at how we spent our time over the last year.

First of all, a quick search of our archives confirmed and quantified one thing we already knew:  we went to a LOT of meetings.  How many?  Well, in a list you could almost sing to the tune of “The 12 Months of Buzz Meetings,” we covered (at least)…

  • 12 Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council board meetings
  • 12 GWNC Land Use Committee meetings
  • 2 GWNC Transportation Committee meetings
  • 1 GWNC Sustainability Committee meeting
  • 1 or 2 GWNC Outreach Committee meetings
  • 3 GWNC Town Hall meetings
  • 3 other Town Hall and community meetings
  • 7 neighborhood association annual or semi-annual meetings
  • 8 other neighborhood association meetings
  • 4 Metro meetings
  • 2 Purple Line Transit Neighborhood Plan meetings
  • 6 City Council meetings (most watched remotely on live video, but they last just as long)
  • 3 City Council PLUM Committee meetings (ditto)
  • 2 Mid-City West Community Council meetings
  • 6 neighborhood festivals, block parties and/or other seasonal events
  • …and more than a few additional meetings or events that we didn’t write about directly but which helped educate us and keep us tuned in to local issues

Also, some of our most popular topics for the year, in no particular order:

  • Real Estate
  • Trees
  • Gardens/gardening
  • Crime
  • Heat
  • Homelessness
  • Metro
  • Pets
  • Development (including the proposed Town & Country project at 3rd and Fairfax and a host of other new residential developments)
  • Zoning issues (including new R1 variation zones, the Jane Club, the Transit Neighborhood Plan and more)
  • Short-term rentals
  • Bird scooters

So out of all of that, what did we like best?

Patty’s favorite stories of 2018 were two that highlight one of the very best parts of our jobs:  simply being curious about our neighborhood and how that curiosity leads to discovering wonderful, unexpected stories of the people and places around us.  First, in February, Patty noticed that a house designed by architect Lloyd Wright had come on the market in Windsor Village.  She checked it out, and had a wonderful talk with then-owner Stephen Rebello, who told her all about the house and his tenure with it.

Then, just a couple of weeks ago, Patty was planning a fairly routine story about the hours at our local Larchmont Blvd. Christmas tree lot…but her conversation with the lot’s owner, Scot Clifford, revealed a much deeper story of the service the seasonal business provides to some of the people who work there…and to our larger community.

Meanwhile, for Liz, the two best moments of her Buzz year were probably back in February.  First, we were invited by Metro to an underground tour of the quickly-taking-shape Purple Line subway station at Wilshire and La Brea (something very few people have yet to see in person)…

…and second, we were able to update a story about the lack of books in the Wilshire Park Elementary School library, which ran in late 2017, with a new story about how the first article sparked business and community donations of more than 10,000 new books, and an additional $10,000 for the library. Both days were also great examples of other reasons we love our jobs, and the kinds of stories we’re most excited to bring to you in the Buzz.

Representatives of City National Bank present the principal of Wilshire Park Elementary School with a check for $10,000 in February, 2018

In other 2018 developments, the Buzz brought on some new collaborators:  Laura Foti Cohen provides theater reviews, Dan Kegel covers sustainability and environmental issues, and Karen Evans joined long-time advertising director Kimberly Rudy to help sell ads for the Buzz.  (Which reminds us…now is a great time to talk to Kim, Karen, Patty or Liz about your advertising needs for the coming year, if you haven’t already done so!) We’ve also got another new addition in the pipeline, so stay tuned for that big news soon.

Finally, in reviewing the year that was, it’s always fun to see what our readers responded to most during the last 12 months.

It turns out that our 10 most-read stories in 2018 actually include three originally published in previous years, which have great staying power. All of the top stories feature a topic, person, business or event that people are buzzing about, and which they quickly share with their neighbors, who then share it again when they hear about it.

Here’s a countdown of what got you reading and sharing in 2018 (the 10 most-read new stories published last year, plus the three that are still among the tops in 2018’s readership, more than a year after their original publication):

13. The July power outages.  This was the first of our many stories about what turned out to be the hot (pun intended) topic of the summer:

12. Crime. It always captures people’s attention:

11. Ditto zoning in our local neighborhoods (and this was just a follow-up story on the hot-topic Jane Club – its original mention (below) was even more widely read):

10. Missing persons. Our readers are extremely compassionate, and happy to help get the word out:

9. Both we and our neighbors love our plants and trees (this story was originally published in 2015…and is still a popular topic via search engine traffic):

8. New neighborhood businesses are also of great interest:

7. The original post about the Jane Club was even more widely read than its follow-up (above):

6. Again…crime. And this one was originally published in 2017, but lives on because the topic (burglaries during fumigation) is a common worry far and wide:

5. News of people we’ve lost:

4. Development, development, development – it’s the story of our times:

3. Old favorite businesses that are in danger of closing (and, sadly, this one did):

2. Old favorite buildings that may be memorialized with landmark status (this one is still in progress):

1. And our most-read story of the year…which is the same as our most-read story last year, the most-read story each year for several years before that…and is, in fact, still our most-read story of all time:

A Batchelder fireplace seems like a simple thing, but our readers love stories about homes and houses (their own, those of celebrity neighbors, what people do with their homes, and what people could do with them). And that interest – especially about something so classic and specific as a Batchelder fireplace – attracts both local and national attention (via search engines). Not really so surprising, when you think about it.

So here’s to a happy new year in community, business, neighborhood, neighbors and home…from the Larchmont Buzz (and our Batchelder fireplace).

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