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Thursday, April 18, 2002

In our backyard...the Bakley/Blake Trial

Soon after the arrest of Robert Blake this evening we learned that his trial will be held right here in our own backyard...the Van Nuys Courthouse.

The Van Nuys Civic Center, approximately 3 blocks away is home to Federal, State and city offices, 2 courthouses, the local police station and, most unfortunately, our local branch of the LA Public Library. I guess I will need to have all my book request sent to Studio City from now on. In fact, I might be doing a lot of things elsewhere for some time to come.

After witnessing the OJ Simpson Trial(s) from afar I can only imagine what is in store for our little neighborhood. A dozen satellite trucks, a horde of news vans, cables snaking around the block and people.....hundreds and hundreds of people. The area around the courthouse is a pedestrian mall so there will be some place for the trucks to park and reporters to stand, but the surrounding streets are already fairly congested during the day. I can easily see the mess spilling out onto Van Nuys Boulevard and stalling the, already slow, traffic. Worse yet, a new parking garage; desperately needed, isn't even close to being finished.

There will be some benefits, I guess. I am sure the restaurant owners in the area will be packed. Most of their daily customers are government workers and the hundreds of jurors who end up with 2-3 hour lunches while lawyers argue their motions. The extra money from news crews and looky-loos will be a welcome boost to the struggling economy. There have been some small improvements in the area recently, new crosswalks with a brick-like look, fresh coats of paint on some storefronts. Maybe the thought of all those eyes looking over reporters shoulders will help speed up any further enhancements by the city.

It will be interesting to watch this story develop from such a close perspective. It is impossible to tell what I will see over the next weeks and months. Perhaps the Simpson-esque media circus will not develop, but I doubt it. Celebrities on trial always draw a crowd. It is just odd having the circus in your own backyard.

More to come...


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