ALPERN AT LARGE--One of my favorite classes in college at UCSD/Revelle College was Freshman Humanities, a damned-hard writing/history/humanities course that (despite the demanding reading/writing requirements) forced its students to explore the recurring question civilized societies have asked since the dawn of recorded history:  What makes us human, and what makes us special? 

EASTSIDER-Every so often I take a look at the Planning Department’s list of Proposed Ordinances, just to see what the rascals are up to. A couple months ago, I looked, and then, again, this month. The results were startling, to say the least! 

CAL MATTERS-You’ve heard the term “all politics is local”? California Republicans had better hope so. The polls told us that this week’s gubernatorial matchup in Virginia would be a nailbiter. Instead, it was an electoral thrashing. Voters handed the governor’s mansion to Democrat Ralph Northam with a decisive 9-point margin while stripping the state GOP of its firm grip on the legislature’s lower chamber, reducing a supermajority to within spitting distance of a tie (and counting). 

@THE GUSS REPORT- If the lawsuit filed last week by diminutive LAPD Captain Lillian Carranza was a stand-alone story, the title of today’s column might be “Small Cop Stands Tall.” But it isn’t stand-alone at all. 

AT LENGTH-On Nov. 2, the joint commissions at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach voted unanimously to approve the Clean Air Action Plan 2.0. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called this a visionary action that would affect the lives of millions and those of generations to come. Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia mostly agreed. But this document was signed despite vocal criticism from the community advocates who have been pushing for policy changes for decades. 

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