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GETTING THERE FROM HERE--As discussed in my last CityWatch article), the Expo Line, after initial approval by the Metro Board in 2001, is finally opening for service on May 20th.   

You can go on a virtual ride right now via this link ...but the bigger question is "What's Next?" 

The Expo grassroots story is an amazing one, led by Darrell Clarke of Santa Monica and a host of volunteers, but the next big expansions of the L.A. County light rail system are the north-south Crenshaw/LAX line (somewhat of a north-south Expo counterpart) and a Downtown Light Rail Connector (an "Expo Phase 3" that also combines the entire countywide patchwork of lines into a true network)...but there are challenges as we move well beyond the grassroots. 

And sooner or later this transportation endeavor MUST go beyond the grassroots to become a multibillion-dollar operation...but to Metro's credit, their leadership and planning teams are as available as any governmental entity could ever be.  It is NOT hard to be plugged into the outreach meetings for Metro's expansion plans, and it's arguable that Metro is a model for governmental accountability and transparency. 

But while Metro's planners and leaders are accountable, available, and in touch with the grassroots, their political leadership need not be if they so choose.  By and large, the Garcetti-led L.A. City team works well with countywide political leaders (unlike Garcetti's predecessor), and acrimony over the paradigm of "the Wilshire Subway vs. suburban transportation efforts" is over.   

Ditto with the "getting the train to LAX".  So don't ever count me as someone who'll hurl bombs and epithets at Metro's efforts. 

Yet politicians are politicians, and planners have the ability to do great things (keep in touch with the grassroots, gather data impartially and use it to raise the bar for enhanced services).  But political, economic, and egotistic forces often lead to dogmatic and "groupthink" traps that are both self-imposed and counterproductive: 

1) The Expo Line is a welcome addition to the Metro Rail network, but its timetable is too darned long. 

Much of the problem is its streetrunning portions in Downtown LA and in Santa Monica--and it should be emphasized that it was the Santa Monica City Council which went against both common sense and the recommendations of the Expo Authority to insist on changing an elevated portion of the line to street level. 

So it's hard to know if the motorist who made an "ill-advised" left turn in front of a testing train in Santa Monica (LINK: ) is to blame, or if the City of Santa Monica is to blame, but...congratulations, Santa Monica! You've got your first car vs. train collision! 

Furthermore, while the old Air Line (the predecessor of the Expo Line that was abandoned in 1953) had an end to end travel time of approximately 70 minutes, the Expo Line has an approximately 55 minute travel time. 

So ... yes, the train is, for a host of reasons (and not too much of it is Metro's fault) too darned long. 

2) Meanwhile, parking is still being pilloried as evil and is in such short supply that it will limit usefulness of the Expo Line. 

I would love to see the day that the anti-parking zealots are either shut down, ignored, and are otherwise brought to bear--but they've got no right being a part of a city or county governmental planning team.  Parking for the Expo Line is especially critical because this line is billed as an alternative to the I-10 freeway. 

There's no Metrolink west and south of Downtown, so the Expo Line is the closest thing, and Metrolink requires parking to function well.  Does anyone really think that San Fernando Valley, Pacific Palisades, and South Bay car commuters will take a bus to the Expo Line? 

No, they clearly won't--and what they'll do is drive to the Venice/Robertson or La Cienega stations, where there is parking that's now occupied by 8-9 am, and where Downtown-bound traffic bunches up on the I-10. 

Yes, there are about five hundred parking spaces in the Westside portion of the Expo Line, but for a line that's supposed to carry tens of thousands of riders a day, that's both a slap in the face and a middle finger to the voters and taxpayers who paid for this line. 

And let's not forget that the City of Los Angeles is just as bad as the City of Santa Monica with respect to its quasi-theological and wild-eyed war on the automobile ... because unlike the City of Culver City, which is building a transit-oriented development next to the Venice/Robertson station that includes hundreds of new Expo Line parking spaces, the Casden Sepulveda project next to the Exposition/Sepulveda station in West L.A. has not ever been forced to create a new parking structure as a betterment for the Expo Line. 

3) The Expo Line is neither focusing on the present or the future with respect to bus or other "final mile" links, or to safety issues. 

Why the various bus lines that link to the Expo Line were "caught off guard" by the Expo Line, but costs and operations could have, and should have, been addressed years ago.  It's not like the Expo Line was a secret. 

Fortunately, human ingenuity isn't dead.  Ever heard of Uber or Lyft?  Perhaps a more cost-effective method is to establish more automobile connections/drop-offs when the trains are operating later than any connecting buses...because it's really scary to be stuck at an empty train station after dark waiting 20-30 minutes for a bus that might never come. 

Furthermore, howza 'bout establishing food truck and similar private sector services for those commuters wanting to eat or shop and otherwise have something to do--and with more eyes and ears in the vicinity--while waiting for the next train to arrive.  It's hoped that Metro and local cities will recognize these real-world issues and resolve them. 

Because the Expo Line was always supposed to be a good neighbor, and an overall boon to the neighborhoods through which it traverses. 

And it will be, provided that the same innovative and energetic grassroots that started this train rolling aren't thrown off that train merely because they've pointed out a few obvious and glaring problems that might be coming our way.

 

(Ken Alpern is a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He is co-chair of the CD11Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at  alpern@marvista.org. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.)

-cw

THIS IS WHAT I KNOW-Depending on which side of the issue you rest, gun control (or Second Amendment Rights) are hot button issues in the presidential race. Closer to home, Temple Isaiah in Beverly Hills, has formed a Gun Legislation Advocacy Committee, which has joined other faith-based organizations to form the Interfaith Coalition to End Gun Violence in the Los Angeles area.

Two months ago, sixty concerned people from all over Los Angeles filled an auditorium at Holman United Methodist Church with one common goal: keep their communities safe. Amy Phillips, a member of the GLAC, Moms Demand Action and other groups, share a philosophy, “Gun violence knows no geographic boundaries; no ethnic, gender, or age limits. From schools to movie theaters, from churches to street corners, a bullet finds its victim.” 

Phillips says, “I couldn’t comprehend after Newtown that this was going on. People were getting shot and our policy makers refused to do anything about it. I thought I can’t just sit here and complain or post on Facebook. My little involvement won’t change the whole system but if I didn’t, there would be one less person doing it.” 

When Phillips joined GLAC two years ago, one of the first actions she took was to get involved in creating an arts and advocacy program for 9th and 10th grade students in the religious school, all of whom had experienced a lockdown. Phillips thought kids could create posters with social messages. She showed the students a clip reel of new stories from the past decade which impacted them. 

This past year, the students used their phones to create videos on topics ranging from the gun issue to save the earth and Cast LA, an organization that works with women who are enslaved sexually or for labor. “The kids got to choose the topic and there was no budget, other than paper. They came up with creative videos, which they intend to tweet to candidates. The kids who chose the gun issue really got it,” she says. “We wanted to teach them advocacy through the arts.” 

GLAC is part of the Interfaith Coalition to End Gun Violence, with representatives from different temples, churches, and nondenominational groups – all of whom, as Phillips explains, are “fighting the same battle, getting everyone on the same page.” Phillips says meeting people who deal with gun violence on a daily basis was eye-opening. One of the steps her group wants to take is to bring the arts advocacy program to Holman United Methodist Church. 

While Phillips encourages people to consider choosing candidates who have positive records or stances on gun restrictions, she says GLAC and other groups focus on community-based activism. She believes most law-abiding gun owners want better gun laws, to make sure guns are locked up so that three-year olds can’t go around shooting, but they may be intimidated to share their stance with the NRA.

By getting involved on the local and state level with groups like the Interfaith Coalition and Moms Demand Action, Phillips says we can make a difference. “Gun violence is everyone’s issue. I don’t just want to be involved. I need to be involved. I cannot be idle and continue to see innocent people die and families ruined. The Interfaith Coalition to End Gun Violence is my pathway in,” she says. 

Action Info: For more information on GLAC at Temple Isaiah and the Interfaith Coalition to End Gun Violence, contact Karen Sloan at templeisaiahGLAC@gmail.com.

 

(Beth Cone Kramer is a successful Los Angeles writer and a columnist for CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

VOICES-The Department of City Planning recently unveiled its second draft of amendments to the city’s toothless mansionization ordinances, the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (BMO) and Baseline Hillside Ordinance (BHO.) Consternation ensued. 

Their first draft of amendments, put forward for comment late last year, drew more than 600 responses. By almost 4 to 1, people asked for tighter limits on home size. But the latest draft seems to address developers’ demands, not the needs of our communities.

We asked for meaningful reform. Instead, it preserves loopholes that undermined the ordinance in the first place. To name just two, these include the exemption for attached garage space (even in “the flats”) and bonuses in non-R1 zones that increase house size by 20 percent with no public notification or oversight. 

The exemption for attached garages adds a whopping 400 square feet of bloat to houses, and the bonuses add hundreds of square feet more with no transparency or accountability whatsoever. And hillside neighborhoods are understandably concerned about inadequate conditions applied to grading and hauling, as well.

The Council Motion provided the blueprint for a simple, effective fix. Instead, the latest draft borrows elements from Re:Code LA that make the ordinance harder to understand and harder to enforce. These include “encroachment planes” and “side wall articulation.” 

City planners note that neighboring communities like Pasadena employ design standards of this type. Adopting best practices of other communities is great. In fact, LA should do much more of that – if and when we have the resources to implement them properly. Angelenos who have seen the inability or unwillingness of the Department of Building and Safety to enforce even simple floor area ratios may be excused for having their reservations.

The city sought input on the first draft of amendments and then ignored the concerns of an overwhelming majority. Six months have passed, and reckless development continues to threaten neighborhoods all over Los Angeles. We need to stop mansionization in the simplest, most effective and timeliest way. That’s what residents and homeowners want and what the Council Motion calls for. 

It’s time for Los Angeles to put stable communities and neighborhood character ahead of real estate speculation.  

 

(Shelley Wagers is a homeowner and community activist in Los Angeles.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

ANIMAL WATCH-Heartworm disease is a serious infection that results in severe lung disease, heart failure, other organ damage, and death in pets--mainly dogs--but also cats, coyotes, ferrets, wolves, sea lions, seals and other animals. And, occasionally it infects humans. The worms mature into adults, mate, and produce offspring while living inside the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of an infected animal.  

It is caused by a parasitic worm called Dirofilaria immitis, which is spread through the bite of a mosquito. Heartworm cases are increasing in Los Angeles, according to a report updated on April 26, 2016, by Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. 

This disease is NOT spread directly from animal-to-animal (or animal to human). Rather, infected animals are reservoirs for the disease but may not display symptoms. The transmission of the disease occurs when a mosquito bites and sucks the blood from an infected animal and then carries it to the next victim. 

Areas like California and Arizona, where heartworms have not been a problem, are now finding that building development and improved irrigation systems have also enabled mosquitoes to survive. Where there are mosquitoes, there are heartworms, experts advise. 

Three new species of drought-resistant mosquitoes are spreading throughout LA. County: the Australian backyard mosquito, the Yellow Fever mosquito and the Asian Tiger mosquito -- the latter two are also capable vectors for human viruses, such as West Nile and Zika, according to LA County officials. 

All three have transmitted heartworm in other countries, and therefore may spread heartworm here. They are black with white stripes, are “efficient” virus transmitters, biting multiple hosts, and are aggressive daytime biters.  They have a short flight range, averaging about one-quarter mile; however, strong winds can blow mosquitos a long way. 

Here are some tips to protect your pets, family and community. 

Mosquito Control.  Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so empty any outdoor containers in which water collects every two days and clean them thoroughly. This includes pet drinking bowls and birdbaths. Also, remove any uncovered bottles and jars or unused toys and planters in your yard. Throw away old tires lying in the backyard and clean gutters so rain will not be trapped. 

Mosquitoes lay their eggs on the inside of the container, just above the water level. The eggs can then lay dormant for up to several years while waiting for the right conditions to produce larvae. According to sgvmosquito.org, these mosquitoes can breed in a bottle cap of water. 

Unfortunately, Aedes have evolved in well-populated areas and like living in close contact with humans and in urban environments. So, the best prevention is to not make them welcome on your property or in your community. 

Keep Pets Inside your Home at Night.  Mosquitoes feed the most at dawn, dusk and at night, so keep your pet indoors. 

Coyote Control.  Infected coyotes can be reservoirs for the disease. Do NOT leave food or water for coyotes or any animal outside. This attracts rodents, other wildlife and feral cats, which attract coyotes. 

Have Your Pets Checked for Heartworm. In 15% of the heartworm cases confirmed in Los Angeles County, the animal was not treated. Untreated pets may become ‘reservoirs’ and infect mosquitoes, and then the mosquitoes can infect more pets and/or people. 

A human can be infected by a mosquito that has fed on an infected dog but human infections are rare, with the greatest danger being that it can create a small mass in the lungs. “The mass itself isn’t usually a problem, but if it gets seen on an x-ray, it may appear very similar to a lung tumor, potentially leading to the use of more invasive diagnostic techniques (e.g. lung biopsy) to rule out cancer,” warns WormsandGermsBlog.com.  

However, lest we take human infection too lightly, a paper published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in May 2001 reports the fourth case of heartworm infection confirmed in a California resident--all of which were males.  A 28-year-old man had become lost in a an Ohio state park for 18 hours, wearing only shorts and sandals and claimed to have been bitten numerous times by mosquitoes.  

Doctors eventually determined that an orchiectomy (removing a testicle) was necessary. “Histopathology revealed a well-preserved immature male D. immitis, the canine heartworm, in a branch of the spermatic artery,” the report states. (J. H. Theis, A. Gilson, G. E. Simon, B. Bradshaw, & D. Clark; Am J Trop Med Hyg May 2001vol. 64 no. 5 317-322).  

Getting back to more common dangers and the prevalence of heartworm disease in Los Angeles, of the 187 cases reported between 2005-2014, 53% were “Confirmed,” 41% were Probable, and 6% were “Suspected.” However, the 2005- 2015 total shows that veterinarians had reported 258 cases, in 18 cats and 240 dogs—an increase of 71 cases. The majority of the cases (75%) had no symptoms at the time they were diagnosed. 

The graph on the L. A. County Public Health site shows these cases by year and the alarming increase in 2014, when laboratories were required to begin reporting cases. 

Approximately 60 percent of dogs travel with their owners, thus increasing the potential for heartworm exposure,” says Robert Stannard, DVM, with the American Heartworm Society. [

 But, in 29% of the cases in L.A. County, owners indicated the pet had not traveled outside of Southern California, so they had acquired the infection locally. 

Sadly, sick dogs are being brought to Los Angeles—often surreptitiously-- by “rescuers” or brokers for foreign puppy mills.  They are transported from countries or states which are heartworm-endemic to California, where there is no requirement for heartworm testing and they can become reservoirs for mosquitoes.  

Heartworm Symptoms in Dogs: 

The disease is rare in dogs less than one year of age because the microfilariae take five to seven months to mature into adult heartworms after infection. 

Unfortunately, by the time clinical signs are seen, the disease is usually well advanced,” according to VCA Hospitals.  

“The most obvious clinical signs of heartworm disease are a soft, dry cough, shortness of breath, weakness, nervousness, listlessness and loss of stamina. All of these signs are most noticeable following exercise, when some dogs may even faint or become disoriented. …In advanced cases, congestive heart failure may be apparent and the abdomen and legs will swell from fluid accumulation. There may also be evidence of weight loss, poor condition and anemia. Severely infected dogs may die suddenly during exercise or excitement.” 

Heartworm Symptoms in Cats: 

"It is necessary for a cat to be bitten by an infected mosquito in order to become infected with heartworms," VCA Hospitals remind us that it is a wise to keep cats inside at all times. 

The most common signs are a sudden onset of coughing and rapid breathing, signs that can also be caused by several other diseases. Other common non-specific clinical signs include weight loss and vomiting. On occasion, an apparently normal cat may be found dead, or may develop sudden overwhelming respiratory failure and heartworm disease is diagnosed on a post-mortem examination.” 

Treating and Preventing Heartworms in Your Pet: 

“Your veterinarian will select the correct drug and administration time based on your pet's condition,” says Ernest Ward, DVM. 

You can prevent your dog from getting heartworms by using a heartworm preventive. When a dog has been successfully treated for heartworms, it is essential to begin a heartworm prevention program to prevent future recurrence. With the safe and affordable heartworm preventives available today, no pet should ever have to endure this dreaded disease.” 

(Animal activist Phyllis M. Daugherty writes for CityWatch and is a contributing writer to opposingviews.com. She lives in Los Angeles.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams. 

GUEST COMMENTARY--The criminal justice system, burdened with being the de facto forum for dealing with the mentally ill population in Los Angeles County, has now becoming the forum of last resort to deal with the homeless population of which the mentally ill are a subset.  

For three decades the Central City East Association (CCEA) has been warning that drugs, criminality, and mental health issues would converge at the epicenter of homelessness on skid row.  Add into the mix Prop. 47, which in essence decriminalized theft and drug offenses, and a series of court rulings which have allowed the homeless to take over public streets and sidewalks, and you have an ungovernable mess.  Yet homeless advocates and the attorneys they employ call it a civil right to live in squalor, and judges render decisions from their sterile courtrooms that play out far differently on the streets. Perhaps it would be considered untoward of us to suggest that the City sponsor a new homeless encampment on the sidewalks of 312 North Spring Street Los Angeles, the location of the Federal courthouse. 

The street population is at nearly 2,000 in skid row alone.  Businesses that remain do so despite the public safety and public health threat, wanting to stay in an area that is centrally located and to provide much-needed industrial jobs.  However, an increasing wave of crime makes victims of area workers, residents and the homeless themselves.  The violent nature of these crimes is escalating.  

CCEA has released a powerful 5-minute video  that allows the voices of the law enforcement, residents, and business community speak for themselves.  "Emergency" is an intense tour of the daily gauntlet that is Skid Row

 

 

It contains disturbing images of inhumane conditions on public sidewalks with vivid descriptions of Skid Row as told by the people who live and work there.  We urge everyone to watch the moving video and listen to the police officers who work on Skid Row. The question that is posed is one the leadership of Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County need to answer - how long will this nightmare be tolerated? 

It is well-documented that support for the mentally ill in our society has declined over the years and that a significant number of the homeless living on our streets are mentally ill. When they cause a disturbance in the community, the police are the first to be called. If and when an arrest is made, it then is deposited in the laps of Deputy District Attorneys and Deputy City Attorneys to decide if charges will be filed - with the low expectation that any misdemeanor charge will result in a meaningful sentence. 

Despite law enforcement's extensive training and new resources, the problems of homelessness and mental illness are vast.  Last year, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey presented a comprehensive plan to the Board of Supervisors that recommends enhanced treatment and services to safely divert mentally ill offenders from the county jail.  In Los Angeles, the Sheriff's Department and the LAPD are constantly collaborating with the various public and private sector organizations to better address the behavior of mentally ill individuals.  However, at the end of the day, it is the community of Los Angeles that must demand of our elected leaders at both the state and local level a comprehensive plan to combat the true roots of homelessness. 

As Oliver Wendell Holmes famously stated, "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins."  In the skid row area of Los Angeles, the homeless population is now not just swinging, but connecting, into the body of the law abiding residents who wish to walk the sidewalks or work in downtown Los Angeles.

 

(Michele Hanisee is President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys. The Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) is the collective bargaining agent and represents nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles. Views expressed by Ms. Hanisee are her own and the association’s.)

-cw

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES- The Los Angeles Police Department commonly arrests people for “resisting arrest.” A deeper look into this process by questioning its legalities sheds new light on an old law enforcement excuse. Legal experts should question this, including both the City Attorney and the District Attorney. (FULL DISCLOSURE- I am NOT a legal expert, nor do I play one on TV!) 

Penal Code section 148 (a) is commonly known as “resisting arrest.” Clearly, this language is what requires immediate challenge. The presumption is that a person being arrested for a criminal act(s) who then resists, should receive the additional charge of “resisting.” 

The problem is that LAPD and many other law enforcement agencies across the nation wrongfully use resisting arrest as a “primary” charge when its legal language strongly implies that it is a “secondary charge.” 

People who have been arrested for “resisting” as a primary charge have claimed the Fourth Amendment as their legal defense. There are lots of cases that have achieved successful outcomes utilizing this formidable strategy. 

The Fourth Amendment states that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or things to be seized.” 

While there are elements within this definition that seemingly apply only to search warrants, there are other elements which seem to apply only to the protection of one’s self from unlawful seizure. 

In Skid Row (commonly known as the Homeless Capital of America,) LAPD often partakes in the action of arresting homeless persons for having tents on the sidewalk during the day. They follow this by completely seizing the tent and all of its contents. A Federal judge ruled against LAPD and the City of Los Angeles in the form of a preliminary injunction barring them from any further illegal seizures. 

The question that can be raised is, “Does LAPD need a search warrant before seizing a homeless person’s tent/encampment?” According to the Fourth Amendment, there would be a whole lot of judges signatures needed for the confiscation of tens of thousands of homeless people’s belongings all across LA County. 

As it relates to seizing property, the Fourth Amendment seems clear, but in regard to “the right of the people to be secure in their persons”, the Fourth Amendment has a lot of gray areas -- meaning room for interpretation. 

Can law enforcement simply walk up to people and arrest them? Can they simply walk up and arrest them for “resisting arrest?” 

There is a strong hint of abuse of authority/abuse of power every single time resisting arrest is used as a primary charge. 

Natural responses often are, “Why am I being arrested?” and, “What was I resisting?” Common law enforcement replies are, “You’re being arrested for resisting.” The conversation can go around in circles without any true and/or valid explanation by law enforcement for detention, sometimes for no good reason. Some officers and deputies even go as far as to say, “Am I supposed to explain (and possibly debate) everything to you before I put handcuffs on you?” 

Law enforcement has a “comfort zone” of zero culpability because they conveniently defer to the justice system with the mindset, “We can arrest you for anything….It’s up to the court system to either enforce or reject the case.” 

And in the case of “resisting arrest” used as a primary charge, what protections do “We, the People” really have? 

(General Jeff is a homelessness activist and leader in Downtown Los Angeles.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

LARGEST URBAN OIL FIELD--With 840 miles of beautiful coastline and palm trees swaying in the breeze, “toxic” is not the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of California. Yet, in spite of its reputation as a progressive environmental state, California’s toxic affair with oil and gas has been hiding in plain sight.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in Los Angeles, the nation’s largest urban oil field. Though it is the second most populous city in the country, LA is still the wild, wild west when it comes to oil development. Active oil wells dot the cityscape, connected by a spider web of pipelines carrying oil, explosive fumes, and corrosive acids directly under homes. Worst of all, these oil wells have a devastating impact on Angelenos’ long-term health.

I went on a “toxic tour” of LA and witnessed what it looks like when extreme fossil fuel extraction collides with the places where people live, work, and play. Our reliance on fossil fuels puts real communities at risk across the city. Extreme oil extraction injects a toxic mixture of chemicals into the ground to stimulate oil wells in a manner similar to fracking, and the emissions can cause headaches, nosebleeds, respiratory ailments, inter-generational reproductive harm, and even cancer for surrounding neighbors.

Last year, the state of California mandated an independent scientific assessment of oil and gas development. They found that in areas of high population density — such as South Los Angeles — oil drilling poses elevated health risks because more people are exposed to toxic air contaminants. The 580,000 Angelenos living less than a quarter mile from an oil well are subjected to the dangers of neighborhood drilling every single day. L.A.’s oil problem is more than just a problem; it’s a crisis of human health and safety.

On that eye-opening tour, I met young Nalleli Cobo — a South L.A. teenager who has been fighting neighborhood drilling since she was sickened at age nine by the AllenCo Energy drill site across the street from her home. For years, she was in and out of hospitals trying to get answers to the long list of symptoms she experienced daily. On some days, Nalleli had to be carried to the car to go to the doctor because painful body spasms made it difficult to move.

After hundreds of community complaints, USEPA investigators finally conducted an inspection — only to fall ill immediately upon entering the drill site. Though they were temporarily forced to shut down, AllenCo is now working to reopen the drilling site this year.

Make no mistake about it, LA’s oil drilling is toxic.

Shockingly, Nalleli’s story isn’t unique. California is the third largest oil producing state in the nation and over 75% of the active oil wells in Los Angeles are within 2,000 feet of homes, schools, or hospitals, where they pose the gravest threat to human health.

Concrete walls may try to shield extreme extraction from neighbors’ eyes, but they are useless at protecting them from poisonous fumes. It’s common to see workers in hazmat suits monitoring rigs on one side of a wall, while families on the other side remain completely unprotected sitting around their dinner table.

That’s why Nalleli, fueled by her sense of duty to protect her neighbors and fellow Angelenos, wants to hold her elected leaders accountable for allowing the oil industry to pollute her community. As a member of the coalition called Stand Together Against Neighborhood Drilling (STAND-LA), she has spoken at press conferences with Senator Barbara Boxer, organized health surveys to track symptoms in her community, and serves as a youth plaintiff in a lawsuit against the City of L.A. for violating her civil rights. Nalleli has even taken the fight to Pope Francis, asking him to urge the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to stop leasing their land to AllenCo Energy and other oil companies.

Fortunately, Nalleli is not alone in this fight. This Saturday, thousands of Californians will gather to support the communities on the front lines of neighborhood drilling at the March to Break Free from Fossil Fuels. They will gather at Los Angeles City Hall to call on Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council President Herb Wesson to put an end to urban oil drilling.

Confronting the mighty oil industry is not an easy task, but Mayor Garcetti and President Wesson need only follow the courageous lead of Nalleli and others in STAND-L.A. who have been fighting for years. LA’s elected leaders have the opportunity to send a clear signal to the rest of the nation with a victory in this climate battle. We must keep oil in the ground. Stand with Nalleli and families like hers on the front lines at this critical moment in history.

(Mark Ruffalo is an Oscar-nominated actor and climate change activist. This perspective was posted most recently at Huff Post.) 

-cw

ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS-California is supposedly the nation’s green trailblazer, but it’s also the third largest oil-drilling state, with Los Angeles having more urban wells (over a thousand) than of any other U.S. city. (Photo above: Warren E & P drill site, smack in the middle of homes in Wilmington, South Los Angeles.) 

Five-million-plus Californians - the rich and not so rich - live within a mile of a well. It’s our dirty little backyard drilling secret. Only it’s not so secret anymore. 

The easy oil is long gone. What’s left gets extracted by highly-toxic and water-intensive well stimulation treatments (WST) - hydraulic fracturing or acidization.  An oil derrick in the backyard is one thing, but when hazmat-suited workers use large amounts of hydrofluoric acid to access out-of-reach oil deposits alongside homes, schools and hospitals, it’s time to worry. 

Residents living cheek-by-jowl with WST operations complain of nosebleeds, nausea, headaches, skin rashes and high rates of asthma. 

Last July the independent California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) concluded the chemicals used in WST are hazardous and poorly understood. The council recommended establishing “science-based setbacks, or human health buffer zones to protect residents.” 

However, eight days before the CCST published its government-commissioned fourteen-hundred-page report, California state officials jumped the gun by proudly announcing the nation’s toughest (and first) fracking regulations (based solely on their own less exhaustive in-house impact assessment). 

Americans Against Fracking co-founder David Braun claims this timing overlap (and the fact the CCST disclosed other facts, such as serious water contamination risks from fracking because of California’s shallow aquifers) meant CCST’s report was intentionally buried by the special interest of Big Oil. 

For Braun and many environmentalists, the oil industry wields way too much political clout in the Golden State, spending an estimated $22 million annually lobbying legislators, including our illustrious green leader -- Governor Brown. 

As it turns out, while first-time-round 1970’s Governor Brown may have been the greenest Governor of them all, millennial Brown walks both sides of the fossil fuel divide. 

Yes, though our Governor can claim his “zeal has been intensified to a maximum degree” when it comes to reducing the state’s petroleum use, he’s extremely friendly to oil extraction and production.

It’s as if 77-year-old Brown operates in simultaneous parallel universes. This past December at the UN Paris Climate Change Conference COP21, there was eco-warrior Brown, describing in biblical proportions the catastrophes that will/are accompanying climate change -- plagues of beetles, powerful wildfires, mass exoduses of climate refugees. That Governor Brown exhorts other nations to leave fossil fuel reserves in the ground.  

While back home the other Brown promotes fracking as the most efficient way to retrieve the states remaining oil. He’s also been loathe to regulate WST -- even when addressing the vital importance of water conservation in our drought-plagued state. 

For Braun, it boils down to the revenue stream big oil generates that helps balance California’s unwieldy budget, and pay for Governor Brown’s pet projects: The Delta twin-tunnels, and the state’s high-speed rail. 

But as Braun calls it, “If you’re a climate leader you don’t enable the worst climate polluters, that’s the bottom line.” 

A sentiment shared by fellow anti-fracking activist and actor, Mark Ruffalo. One of Ruffalo’s suggestions to deter oil production is “taxing oil extraction in California and using the money to transition to all-electric vehicles.” 

Such a tax would’ve worked nicely with the part of SB 350 that aimed to halve California’s gasoline use by 2030. It was the most ambitious renewable energy increase for the state so far. However heavy resistance from oil companies meant Brown lacked enough support even inside his own party, and the gasoline reduction part of the bill was defeated last October. 

Speaking at Pepperdine University in Malibu last month, leading U.S climate change activist, Bill McKibben, says when it comes to getting the world off fossil fuels “the resource that matters most is political will.” 

It’s the lack of a consolidated political movement that allows fracking and acidizing to continue unabated in California, according to Ruffalo. He believes when Californians rise up and declare enough is enough, it will embolden our Governor to say no to the oil industry. 

And any day now would not be a moment too soon. 

McKibben warns while human beings cope best with the kind of incremental change California is using to adapt to climate change, at the rate our planet is warming there’s no time for anything but a rapid and drastic shift from fossil fuels. 

Spelling it out, McKibben says it would take 400 Hiroshima bombs dropping daily to melt the Arctic ice-sheet as fast as it’s currently melting. 

Brown and McKibben talk the same big-apocalyptic-climate-change talk, we just need to push our Governor to start urgently walking the walk.

 

(Belinda Waymouth Environmental journalist and advocate, UCLA geography/environmental studies graduate, mother and surfer. This perspective was first posted at HuffingtonPost.com. )

TRANSIT TALK--A Streetcar Named Santa Monica? OK, not exactly. It’s actually something better. A light rail line from downtown Los Angeles to within blocks of the sea. And if we do things right, in November the Expo Line could become one of several sorely needed (and accelerated) public transportation projects -- like a line through the Sepulveda Pass -- that Los Angeles is trying to make a reality. Vote early and often as they say in Chicago. 

What is so important about our new rail line to the beach? It came to me yesterday as I sat on the Expo Line to Santa Monica. 

We have broken the 63 year curse that no train would ever again pierce the sacred veil of LA’s far West Side. True, Boston’s 86 year long Curse of the Bambino is longer, but given our size, the Curse of the West Side impacted more Dodgers fans than Red Sox losers. 

“I am riding the train to Santa Monica!” I nearly shouted as we pulled into Bergamot Station.  I had the honor, thanks to a press tour with Mayor Garcetti and other elected, to preview the line which opens to the public on Friday, May 20. 

In any other city, the lightbulb that went off in my head that I was riding a train to the beach might not mean much. For example, riders of San Francisco’s N Judah light rail line have long been able to take the train to Ocean Beach -- since 1928, to be exact, when the route opened as a streetcar line. 

But this isn’t any other city. This is Los Angeles where the car was once king and small numbers of haters have long dictated what will, and won’t be, built. 

Now, at least as far as traffic-free driving goes, those days are long gone. And in its place are the famous Los Angeles parking lots, otherwise known as freeways that have sliced up dozens of perfectly nice neighborhoods and communities. 

Aside from the train’s arrival in downtown Santa Monica, perhaps the sweetest part of the ride for me was when the train chugged past the 10 Freeway close to the new Palms station. I also felt a pleasant whoosh of pride, and relief, when the train passed through Cheviot Hills where a handful of NIMBYs tried, and thankfully failed, to stop the Expo Line in its tracks. 

Ironically, it was, similarly, not in my back yard-minded Angelenos who more often than not allowed the freeway to come in, ruining neighborhoods for what sometimes seems like forever more.  

Reminders of our foolish addiction to the car abound along the route. As Neal Broverman put it in Los Angeles Magazine, “Views at the Palms, Bundy, and, especially, Sepulveda stations are kind of, ugh. The aerial views really show the auto-centric city planning that happened here -- tons of gas stations, liquor stores, and billboard blight. Hopefully, politicians like [Councilmember Mike] Bonin can help create more of a sense of place and really incentivize the Expo investment.” 

Now is the time to end the “no growthers’” stranglehold in Los Angeles and Santa Monica on sensible transit-oriented development and proceed with the building of projects worthy of our environment. 

Other public amenities I am hoping for with the opening of the Expo Line? That: 

  • Metro, Culver City Bus and Big Blue Bus got it right with their redesign of the feeder bus routes, and riders can get to the train car free. 
  • There is enough bike parking and bike share at the stations to accommodate all of the area’s active transportation and transit enthusiasts. 
  • Pedestrian improvements including sidewalks spreading out from the train line are inviting enough to encourage pedestrians to make their commute part of their 10,000 steps or bike ride a day. 

Kudos to Santa Monica which seems to have gotten things right, with Colorado Esplanade, the city’s attractive and WIDE pedestrian gateway and protected bike lane from the Expo Line station to Tongva Park, the Santa Monica Pier and beyond. 

Let’s also hope that Santa Monica will be measuring the benefits of the new train to downtown, including an off-the-charts bump for businesses in the area. For area merchants in downtown Santa Monica and at the other new stops along the line, it will be like CicLAvia all of the time with shoppers galore. 

Speaking of which, don’t forget the sure to be awesome bike and pedestrian streetfest, CicLAvia Southeast Cities, this Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm. 

Of course Expo to the beach will not be without its hiccups. Look out for the inevitable idiot drivers who think they can make it across the tracks ahead of the train, even though the light has changed. Others will whine about the noise and the increased foot and bike traffic around the stations and along the new protected bike path Metro has built adjacent to much of the line. Yay! 

And what about parking for transit riders who want to ride but simply can’t or won’t take the bus, walk or bike to the new stations? The new lot at Sepulveda and smaller lots at other stations just won’t be enough for the expected demand. This is why I am hoping Metro gets cracking on cutting deals with Caltrans and other land owners for more parking at underused locations like beneath the freeway at Pico and at churches and businesses along the remainder of the route. 

Metro has wisely done this at its Expo Line Crenshaw station where 400 spaces are available on weekdays in the garage belonging to the neighboring West Angeles Church of God in Christ

Lastly, consider signing the petition urging LADOT to provide signal preemption for the Expo Line through downtown Los Angeles and give priority to longer trains. 

With trains carrying hundreds of passengers versus cars carrying no more than a few, the choice is clear. 

See you soon on Expo and the rest of our growing transit system!

 

(Joel Epstein is a senior advisor to companies, law firms, foundations and public initiatives on communications strategy, corporate social responsibility (CSR), recruiting and outreach. He is a contributor to CityWatch and can be contacted at joel.epstein@gmail.com.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

EASTSIDER-On Saturday, the LA City Planning Department visited the LA Neighborhood Council Coalition (LANCC) for the second time to talk about the proposed Draft Short Term Rental Ordinance, along with another proposed Ordinance change over second dwelling units (aka ‘granny units’). As readers may remember, the first visit was not a resounding success. 

This time, we were visited by no less than Claire Bowin, Senior Planner from the City Planning Department. As Streetsblog reported, “Bowin has had her finger in a lot of pots in her tenure with Planning, working on the Bike Plan, the Mobility Element, the Housing Plan, the Cornfield Arroyo-Seco Plan, and Bike Plan Implementation.” 

Lately, she has been intimately involved with both the repeal of the second dwelling units issue and with the short term rental ordinance. Unfortunately for the LANCC group, before leaving due to scheduling difficulties, she only had time to go over a draft ordinance to repeal the rules over granny units. Then she took just a couple of questions regarding the short-term rental ordinance. 

The Second Dwelling Unit Repeal draft ordinance, regarding granny units, is being offered on an emergency basis, and will be over by the time you read this article, which is a shame. More on this issue in another column. 

Regarding the Short Term Rental Ordinance, Claire Bowin only took a couple of questions, referred us to the upcoming Saturday May 21 Hearing at the Deaton Auditorium (next to the new LAPD building), 100 W. 1st Street, LA 90012. The public hearing starts at 10 am, and I urge everyone who can to be there. 

Anyhow, back to the real issues. As you may remember, I was enthusiastic when the draft ordinance came out and urged folks to weigh in. 

Well, we’ve had some time to kick the tires on the proposal and a number of people have found some holes in the City’s Draft. For example, Raymond Klein, from the Brentwood Homeowners Assn., weighed in with the problems regarding enforcement, the no guest limit for hosts, and essentially, the running of hotels in residential neighborhoods. 

Next, a hat tip to Lucy Han, (a founding member of Community Above Profit, or CAP,) for pointing out the obvious flaw in the Draft Ordinance. It’s simple. There is an 800 pound gorilla lurking in the draft: there is absolutely no way that the City of Los Angeles can enforce this Ordinance unless the dot.com platforms like Airbnb and their like are responsible for maintaining the data and reporting it to the City of Los Angeles. If you don’t believe me, remember an earlier CityWatch article regarding the debacle over the City’s Surplus Disposal.  

City Controller Ron Galperin was brutal in his dissection of the absolute failure of this program, and it should pose a warning to elected officials in crafting the upcoming Short Term Rental Ordinance. The City simply can’t handle IT projects. This Ordinance won’t work unless LA City builds a massive database to handle the registrations that are going to be required. As I wrote regarding the Surplus Disposal mess: 

“If there is a single takeaway moment in the report, for me it is the following: the auditor complained that, as they tried to obtain data, they were reduced to looking at individual employees’ Excel spreadsheets that didn’t even have a common template. Clearly, the Mayor’s “World Class City” is an emperor without clothes.” 

So, what do you think the chances are that LA City will have a robust database up and running to actually try and implement the Ordinance? You guessed it: none…zip…nil. 

There is only one way to obtain the data to enforce this type of ordinance, and that is to require the platforms themselves, like Airbnb, to cough up the data. I covered this some time ago in an article about the absolute requirement of honest reporting to make any of these ordinances workable. 

Think about it. Airbnb is essentially a computer app hooked to a really solid, scalable, database. And they have spent millions of dollars developing this app and database. The rest is their claim of intellectual property -- a really good smoke and mirrors sales campaign to investors and hosts who need money. If it cost Airbnb millions to do their computer work, what are the chances that LA City can ramp up something to track what they do by chasing the individual hosts? gain, none…zip...nil. 

This is the biggest single issue that needs to be addressed prior to the next draft of the short-term rental ordinance. I hope the Planning Department and the City Council take heed. If this issue is not addressed, the inspectors who have to enforce the ordinance won’t stand a chance. They are already understaffed and simply cannot cover thousands of hosts one by one. The data is the key to any prosecution and/or fine for nonpayment of the TOT. 

So, urge lawmakers to stand up and get this ordinance amended the way it needs to be. Require honest reporting from the platforms themselves, like Airbnb. Otherwise, it won’t make any difference what they pass because the City can’t enforce it. And City Attorney Mike Feuer will be unable to even pretend to do his job of enforcement in court. 

Do we want all of our efforts to be one more LA City Special Debacle?

 

(Tony Butka is an Eastside community activist, who has served on a neighborhood council, has a background in government and is a contributor to CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

TRUTHDIG--The day Bernie Sanders upset Hillary Clinton in the Indiana primary, I stopped by his Los Angeles headquarters, a rundown storefront in the Latino neighborhood of East Hollywood, and I talked with campaign volunteers preparing to register voters.

Ismael Parra, one of the volunteers, was hoping for a Sanders win in Indiana that night and, of course, wants one in the California Democratic primary on June 7. Such victories, Parra said, would give the campaign the momentum to stop Hillary Clinton on the first ballot of the Democratic National Convention, throwing it into pandemonium. 

“If we get through the first ballot, it will be crazy,” Parra told me on Tuesday. 

Parra and I spoke at an important time. The national media is all but awarding the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton, and Sanders needs California to stay alive. 

Parra, a writer and member of the National Writers Union, is just one in a diverse group of volunteers I’ve met while following the Sanders campaign since early last fall. Their challenge is to propel Sanders to victory in California and win more of the state’s 548 delegates than Clinton does. 

Nasim Thompson, a volunteer in another Sanders storefront in a largely African-American neighborhood in South Los Angeles, has the same goal as she canvasses door to door and trains new volunteers. 

“We have energized volunteers and community members,” she said. 

From the beginning, activists like Parra and Thompson have made the Sanders campaign as much a social and economic movement as a political campaign. Led by its unusual and compelling candidate, the Sanders campaign has given voice to discontent among liberals about the Democratic Party elite. For the two terms of Bill Clinton and two more of Barack Obama, the rich businesspeople and the politicians and technocrats who served them have been the shot callers. They ignored those who felt left out of the ’90s prosperity and the mild recovery from the Great Recession. 

Resentment simmered, surfacing only in the Occupy movement and Black Lives Matter, both generally ignored by the mass media. Along came Sanders to give it a voice, a sense of direction and an energy that make Hillary Clinton and her campaign look pallid by comparison. The Sanders team is now the Democratic Party’s activist base, and without its enthusiastic participation, Donald Trump may be elected president in November. 

On the afternoon of April 30, I tagged along while Sanders supporters marched through a down-at-the-heels portion of Downtown Los Angeles on their way to a rally at City Hall several blocks away. Drummers in the garb of Aztec Mexico led the march. Organizers were among the crowd, spurring the men and women on. “Are you ready to fight?” a couple of them shouted. I counted about 500 when the march started, but it soon doubled in size, the result, I bet, of days of campaigning on social media. 

I was impressed with the enthusiasm and organization required to bring out such a crowd. 

Organization was also evident the following day at an entirely different venue, the big Beverly Hills home of Lauren Steiner, high above the city in Benedict Canyon. Steiner is a hardworking and effective volunteer leader. Tirelessly pounding away on Facebook, she persuaded about 25 to 30 people to come her house for bagels before they headed to their congressional district caucus to vote for her and others for national convention delegate. 

As I watched them sign up for tasks and discuss the campaign, I saw some of the political currents that are shaping the campaign. 

One was how to treat Clinton. Some in the room reviled her. A woman objected to what they said. “What I don’t like is the negativity,” a woman said. “We are still Democrats.” A man replied, “I don’t have any loyalty to the party especially when it is headed by crooked Hillary.” 

Volunteer Julie Tyler said, “I’ve called people out on Facebook when they talk that way.” And Steiner said, “There is a way of talking about policies that isn’t hateful.” Looking ahead, Steiner and Tyler probably saw the danger, a Trump victory over disunited Democrats. 

Steiner brought up a more immediate problem -- connecting with the area’s African-American voters and growing Latino population. That’s been a Sanders weakness from the beginning and a possible roadblock to his final, all-out push in California. Clinton is leading Sanders 51 percent to 41.3 percent in the RealClearPolitics average of California polling. She polls well among African-Americans. Latino polling and results from earlier contests are mixed. With the primary election just over a month away, the campaign is setting up low-income outreach teams, but it may be too late. 

The future of the Sanders movement -- before and after the Democratic National Convention -- depends on these disparate volunteers. 

If Sanders wins California, it would be a big upset. Yet even if he does, he probably wouldn’t get enough delegates to force the convention into a second ballot and to stop a Clinton nomination. But what happens after the convention is important, too. Will the Sanders movement remain intact? Will Lauren Steiner, Julie Tyler, Nasim Thompson and Ismael Parra get behind Clinton for the fall campaign against Donald Trump? 

Their names don’t typically make it into the coverage of the presidential campaign by the national media, but these volunteers are the future of the Democratic Party and of progressives who believe in the electoral process. 

If Clinton is to have a chance of defeating Trump, she’ll need them at her side. She’s not going to do it by herself or with her elite backers and veteran political advisers. The Sanders movement is the Democratic Party’s activist base. Without them, Clinton could very well lose. 

Lose to Trump? Is that crazy? No.  

I wouldn’t put all of my money on Clinton’s plodding, cautious approach to our serious national problems. Nor would I bet on her annoying, condescending smiles when asked questions about tough issues like her Wall Street speaking fees. That won’t work against killer Trump.  

After the national convention and the November election, whether Clinton wins or loses, the Sanders volunteers shouldn’t drop out. They’ll have to translate the excitement for the Sanders campaign into enthusiasm for continuing to build a movement: the Sanders revolution. Hopefully, he’ll be leading it, as he promised.

 

(Bill Boyarsky is a columnist for Truthdig, the Jewish Journal, and LA Observed. This piece was posted first at Truthdig.com.)  Photo: YouTube. Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

CITY HALL--“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth.” Carl Sagan … meet LA City Councilman Paul Koretz. 

My last CityWatch article, “No Kill: LA’s Big Lie,” discussed Mayor Eric Garcetti’s recent charade that LA Animal Services, the city’s shelter system, is approaching “No Kill” status. By any standard, including its own, the City kills thousands of healthy, happy and highly adoptable animals, thousands more that just need a little TLC, and doesn’t know what has become of scores of animals it dumped on other high kill cities. 

Garcetti and his minions deny the killing by attempting to redefine death. Measured as ever, he responded with telling silence. 

So I struck up an email conversation with Councilman Paul Koretz, whose decades-long career promising help for animals has delivered none.

His ban on elephant torture devices known as bull hooks started as a promise to ban circuses which exploit animals, then just those that exploit elephants, then all elephant torture devices, then just bull hooks. What we got – a ban on bull hooks that still doesn’t take effect until next year – was an impotent piece of nothingness, since the circus beat Koretz to the punch by stopping its elephant exploitation altogether by retiring them to a sanctuary last week.

When you are slower to help animals than the circus itself, you have failed. Even severely abused Peruvian circus lions were sent to a sanctuary in South Africa last month, but are still exploited at Staples Center, down the street from Koretz’s and Garcetti’s offices in LA City Hall. 

Koretz, whose committee oversees LA Animal Services, has turned a deaf ear to LA’s irrelevant spay/neuter law, and misuses public meeting rules to prevent issues from being heard before a large, televised audience watching City Council meetings. Case in point: a filthy tire repair business in Van Nuys has the city’s blessing to breed pit bulls and Chihuahuas … the two types of dogs LAAS kills the most. Years after it was brought to his and Councilwoman Nury Martinez’s attention, the problem festers and cannot be discussed during scheduled agenda items. 

Koretz agreed to field my questions but ultimately addressed only one of them. Here’s question #9: 

“A recent CityWatchLA article explained LAAS unwillingness to pick up stray and injured animals due to its negative impact on the city's "live release" rate, a statistic that is widely rejected by humane advocates because it doesn't take into consideration an array of qualitative factors. Is it actually LA's policy to no longer pick up strays or injured animals?” 

And here is the discussion that followed: 

Paul Koretz: “I have asked and have been told that is not true. When I have spoken to [LAAS GM] Brenda Barnette, (photo above with Koretz) I have not been told that we are leaving strays on the street to improve our live save rate.” 

In a separate email, I sent Koretz Barnette’s own published statement: 

Daniel Guss: “Please see Page 4 at the top. "Also, everyone needs to remember that if we’re successful at rounding up all the strays, it will place more crowding pressure on our shelters, rescuers and everyone else working to increase the live save rate." How do you compare this to what you say Brenda said to you in response to your question?” 

PK: “Did she really say that? When and in what context?” 

DG: “It is her document. It is dated (6/25/15).  In response to the protests. Her chosen words.” 

A day later, Koretz responded: 

PK: “Despite Brenda's quote, which she acknowledges but says it is out of context, LAAS is not avoiding picking up strays to artificially keep down the live save rate. They are picked up when seen, they respond to complaints, they patrol for them in problem areas, but we just don't have the resources to find and pick up every stray. And no other city anywhere picks up all their strays. 

So that is the response, and I have no reason to believe it is not credible. Although I wouldn't mind adding resources to find more strays in areas where stray dogs are still running in packs.” 

DG: “She took HERSELF out of context? I asked you about that exact verbatim quote. You indicated you asked her about it and denied it was happening. Where was the context lost and by whom?”

Over the weekend, Koretz responded with (depending on your level of cynicism) a semi-non-sequitur that either hedges, is a red herring or simply demonstrates his detachment from issues related to life, death and suffering. Question #9, like all the others, remained unanswered. 

PK: “Not defending. Just paraphrasing her response as I recall it.” 

And that was that -- with no further explanation from Koretz on this or any other question. He was duped again but chooses to rationalize and embrace the bamboozle.

Again, I refer you to Carl Sagan … “If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle.”

 

(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a writer who lives in Los Angeles, and blogs on humane issues at www.ericgarcetti.blogspot.com) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

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