GUEST WORDS--Urban planning exists to serve people and communities, not the other way around. Unfortunately, urban planners these days, perhaps under the influence of academic arrogance as well as the lure of developer dollars, seem to forget this simple truism.

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CAL BUZZ REPORT--Nothing that transpired in Tuesday’s “debate” among candidates for governor of California changed the one and only political question worth discussing about the June 5 preliminary vote: Will Antonio Villaraigosa finish second and set up a serious runoff contest, or will the fall campaign be the Gavin Newsom Coronation Tour?

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ICE RAID, UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL—(Editor’s note: Numerous similar ICE raids are occurring regularly in our own SoCal backyard.) A woman in southern California repeatedly told Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents that her seven children were present and demanded to see their warrant as they forced their way—guns drawn and using heavy shields—into the family's home.

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NEW GEOGRAPHY--In the past, wrote historian Kevin Starr, California “was a final frontier: of geography and of expectation.” Today in the Trump era, California remains a frontier, but increasingly one that appeals largely to progressives. “California,” recently suggested progressive journalists Peter Leyden and Ruy Teixeira, “today provides a model for America as a whole.”

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RENTERS’ REDEMPTION-Real estate speculation and price-gouging are driving Californians to impossible commutes, overcrowded housing, and into the streets.

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FIRST PERSON-Why is the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) limited by regulation as to how much residentially produced solar electricity it can buy from residential customers like you and me?

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RANTZ & RAVEZ-I am sure like most voters you have felt duped in previous elections when you were promised one thing for agreeing to tax increases but ended up with something else that was hiding deep in the proposition.

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420 FILE--On Monday the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulations (DCR), Executive Director Cat Packer presented to the City Council Budget and Finance Committee made up of Council Members; Chair Paul Krekorian, Mitch Englander, Paul Koretz, Bob Blumenfield and Mike Bonin in consideration of the Mayor’s Budget for the fiscal year 2018-19.  Councilmembers focused on two areas; Enforcement and Cannabis applications. 

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EASTSIDER-When Ann Stausboll retired from CalPERS a couple of years ago, everyone knew there was going to be a sea change. What no one knew was how much worse the governance of the nation’s largest ($350 billion) public pension plan was going to get. 

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BELL VIEW-I have a conservative friend from my old neighborhood. Let’s call her Jane (not her real name). She lives in a comfortable suburb of Chicago, has a couple kids who graduated college, and voted for Donald Trump. Even though she herself graduated college, she voted the same as forty-four percent of college-educated white women. 

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CORRUPTION WATCH-Vicious, predatory and unaccountable are three words that describe the environment for starlets near Harvey Weinstein, for children coached by Jerry Sandusky at Penn State, and for Olympic gymnasts who had Larry Nassar for their doctor at Michigan State University.  These three words also describe the California judiciary. 

Institutions that have an isolated predator in their ranks differ from institutions whose very culture is vicious, predatory and unaccountable. The distinguishing feature is how the institution reacts to the abuse. Does it protect the victim or the abuser? Hint: Systems that use secrecyand terrorto perpetuate their abusive behavior are corrupt.           

Predators Use Secrecy and Terror Against their Victims 

The Olympic Committee used secrecy when it told parents that the molestations had to remain undisclosed because publicity would interfere with official investigations. The reality is that parents’ disclosing what happened to their teenaged girls would have blown the cover-up. The terror was the threat that their children would be excluded from the only programs that could enable them to achieve their gymnastic dreams. 

These techniques were also Harvey Weinstein’s modus operandi. His victims had to keep his molestations and rapes secret or else “they’d never work in this town again.” With Penn State, there was secrecy and terror. The few who knew about Sandusky’s molestations had to remain silent in terror of their careers being destroyed. The 2015 movie Spotlight, showed how the Catholic Church used secrecy and terror against its victims to perpetuate sexual abuse. 

The California judicial system is adept at both secrecy and terror to guarantee that there is no accountability for its vicious predatory behavior. 

Secrecy: The First Level of Judicial Protectionism 

In California all public meetings are subject to the Brown Act, Government Code, §§ 54950-54963 -- except the courts. Under the Brown Act any member of the public can record any public meeting as long as the recording does not interfere with the meeting. Recording court proceedings, however, is tightly controlled. 

As Anatole France observed, “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges . . .” In Los Angeles, both the rich and poor may record court proceedings.

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ALPERN AT LARGE--I ended my last CityWatch column calling all adults (including JFK Democrats and Reagan Republicans):  Retake your liberalism before it's too late!   

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