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DUELLING VISIONS--The Build Better LA Initiative is a remarkably bad idea that hands more power to the Los Angeles City Council to approve overdevelopment, even as it boosts the council's desire for more campaign cash from real estate developers.

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VOX POP--Thunderstorms are an infrequent occurrence in Los Angeles. Last November all sides in the ongoing and often litigious development wars in Los Angeles – those who see density as a cure for all that ails us and the NIMBYs who want to embalm LA as it was 20 years ago – were caught off guard by the sound of thunder. A group named the Coalition to Preserve LA proposed a ballot measure that would establish a moratorium of up to two years for any development project that does not adhere to existing planning regulations or that requires a City Council vote to change the zoning of a particular site. 

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HERE’S WHAT I KNOW-Last Wednesday, the Coastal Commission fired executive director Charles Lester, voting seven to five in a closed-door session, despite the supportive testimony of over 200 people who opposed his dismissal and hardly any in favor of firing him.

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HELP AND HYPOCRISY - Homelessness is often described as a problem we must solve -- and Los Angeles city and county now have expensive plans to do so. Homelessness is also an industry. And as George Mason professor Craig Willse shows in his book, The Value of Homelessness: Managing Surplus Life in the United States, that industry is designed to manage costs rather than challenge the mechanisms that create and maintain homelessness. 

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Find Your Neighborhood Council, Find Your Voice Here.

GET INVOLVED--This is a message to all residents of the City of Los Angeles, urging you to participate in your local neighborhood council. It is a chance for you to have an influence on the choices that your city government makes, such as the way that spending is divided among things like road repairs, parks, or public safety. (Photo above: Sunland Tujunga Neighborhood Council raising its voice.) 

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GETTING THERE FROM HERE--Aren't you getting sick of hearing why we're "supposed to" ride transit, and why transit ridership isn't always where it should be?  Certainly, "doing the right thing" is what most of us will do based on our innate striving for our better human nature, but human nature hasn't changed and we're leaving the Bush/Obama politically-correct era and entering a Sanders/Trump era of telling it like it is ... and that includes transit! 

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LATINO PERSPECTIVE-Public schools in Los Angeles, where about 50 percent of the student body is Latino, will not allow immigration officials onto school premises as the U.S. continues its crackdown on undocumented Central American immigrants. The Los Angeles Unified School District board decided Tuesday to name schools, from kindergarten to high school, as "safe zones" and resource centers for students and families threatened by the enforcement of new immigration laws. The resolution cited a "heightened sense of fear and anxiety" among students and families in the district, as well as the need for school grounds to welcome families who have questions about immigration. 

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BACKTALK--On Tuesday, CityWatch posted an article that loosely - very loosely and deceptively - tried to paint a picture of why I support the No Kill philosophy for the City's animal shelters and why I do what I do in the realm of animal welfare.  The article got it wrong.  I do what I do because I love animals and want to see as many of them live good lives for as long as possible. (Photo above: Councilman Koretz on right with LA Controller Ron Galperin and a friend.) 

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EDITOR’S PICK--Every time you turn on a light or charge your cellphone, you pay a tax. Surprised? Many Angelenos don't realize that hidden in their monthly bill from the Department of Water and Power is a big surcharge in the form of a 10% City of Los Angeles Utility Tax, as well as a “transfer” of 8% of all electric-related revenue to City Hall. In short, you're paying almost 20% more for electricity than you should be.

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GET IN INVOLVED--The original version of this article incorrectly implied that only two students sit on the board for the Westwood Neighborhood Council. In fact, three students, two being undergraduates and one being a law student, sit on the board.

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