President Barack Obama’s midsummer fundraising tour rolls into Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon, accompanied by more than the usual controversy and wider-than-usual street closures.
L.A. is one of three stops — Seattle and San Francisco are the others — in the chief executive’s West Coast swing to raise money for Democratic candidates in the upcoming midterm elections, particularly the party’s efforts to hold its threatened Senate majority.
The president will headline a fundraiser Wednesday at the Hancock Park-area home of Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes. Proceeds from that event will go to fund the Democratic National Committee. Kerry Washington will co-host. Tickets for the event, which also will feature musical performances, are scaled from $1,000 to $32,000. The higher priced entries will allow donors access to the president’s photo line, as well as to the reception at which Obama will deliver remarks to an “intimate” dinner for just 30 couples.
Rhimes is an Obama appointee to the Kennedy Center’s Board of Trustees.
Thursday, Obama will lead one of the round table discussions that have become a staple of his L.A. visits at the Mandeville Canyon home of Live Nation’s Michael Rapino and his wife, Jolene. Tickets for one of that event’s 30 seats cost $32,400.
Later in the day, Obama will travel to Trade Tech downtown, where he will deliver an address on education and job skills.
This is the president’s 18th fundraising trip to Los Angeles since taking office and he’s arriving with more than the usual critical baggage. Obama has been criticized for fundraising while the domestic crisis over the Affordable Care Act and the wave of undocumented child immigrants continue, and the situations in the Ukraine, Gaza and Iraq fester without obvious resolution or — many contend — clear-cut American leadership.
Meanwhile, the president’s local travel plans seem likely to have a worse-than-usual impact on L.A.’s normally awful traffic problems. Palisades and Brentwood residents, who usually are spared these things, will get a taste of the traffic jam Thursday, when major streets are closed to accommodate the chief executive’s visit there.
Police already have closed off the area around Beverly Boulevard and North Doheny; closures will be in place until 4 p.m., then again from 6 to 8 p.m.
From 2 to 4 p.m., the area around La Brea Avenue and West Olympic Boulevard in Mid-Wilshire will be closed and, again, from 4 to 8 p.m. There will be serious delays in all the streets around 3rd and Rossmore in Hancock Park.
Rimpau Boulevard, between Edgewood Place and Olympic, and Olympic between Rimpau and West boulevards, were shut down all day Wednesday.
From 4 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, the area around Beverly and Doheny will once more be snarled by the president’s visit, along with the area around Grand Avenue and West Washington Boulevard downtown.
There will be closures around Sunset Boulevard and Mandeville Canyon Road between 9 and 11 a.m. Thursday and in Brentwood between 10 a.m. and noon. It will be the turn of Exposition Park, near Figueroa Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, from 1 to 3 p.m Thursday.
West Martin Luther King from Hoover to South Figueroa streets also will be closed, as will Figueroa from Exposition Park Drive and West Martin Luther King Jr., West Washington between South Flower Street and Grand, South Flower between West Washington and West 23rd Street, and South Grand between West Washington and West 23rd. (Thursday is a good day to avoid downtown.)