President Stops in LA for Fundraisers


The eagle has left Los Angeles, upgrading the Westside's traffic from absolutely miserable to its normal state of barely tolerable.

After a late start, President Barack Obama departed from the Beverly Hilton around 9 a.m.

Air Force One took off from LAX at 9:37 a.m.

The president's first stop in town was Thursday at Sony Studios in Culver city. About 200 demonstrators waving signs and chanting "Obama, keep your promise'' gathered outside the studio in advance of a presidential fundraising stop, calling on the president to officially acknowledge the Armenian Genocide.

Westwood was at near gridlock as the presidential motorcade moved through. Security helicopters could be seen flying above.

City Councilman Bill Rosendahl said the White House has been responsive this time. He said there was a meeting earlier this week with Secret Service, FBI, LAPD, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and other agencies.

The president dined at Tavern in Brentwood after the Sony Studios visit. Frommer's said of Tavern, "Everything tastes personal and homespun, but is definitely priced for the tony Brentwood neighborhood it inhabits."

A previous Westside visit brought major problems for commuters. If the memory isn't fresh, LAist captured the experience with a screengrab of a city traffic map on the day Obama visited.

During the August 2010 visit, drivers fumed over street closures for the presidential motorcade in the Westside and Hancock Park areas.

Rosendahl, chairman of the council's Transportation Committee, summoned the LAPD and Department of Transportation officials to discuss the August traffic situation and review procedures for rerouting traffic to accommodate dignitaries.

"I told the White House they might have raised $1 million, but they  lost one million votes,'' Rosendahl said.

In October, Obama stopped by USC for a voter rally. Portions of streets near USC were closed for that visit, but the president primarily moved around the city in a helicopter.

During his West Coast trip, Obama is trying to raise support for his deficit plan and money for his re-election campaign.

He attended a town hall hosted by Facebook on Wednesday. The president's Facebook page has more than 19 million fans. He is the first president to visit the company's Palo Alto headquarters.

Temporary flight restrictions were in place for the visit.

It's Obama's sixth LA-area visit since he was elected president.

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