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DEATH POLITICS--When California’s aid-in-dying law takes effect this June, terminally ill patients who decide to end their lives could be faced with a hefty bill for the lethal medication. It retails for more than $3,000. Valeant Pharmaceuticals, the company that makes the drug most commonly used in physician-assisted suicide, doubled the drug’s price last year, one month after California lawmakers proposed legalizing the practice.  

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A LIFE POSTSCRIPT--Whether it's common sense, common decency, or common courtesy, there is just often too little of such "common" commoditites.  But sometimes there are individuals who stand out and show that YES, those sorts of things can be achieved ... with honesty to boot.  As my friend and colleague Gary Walker of the Argonaut reported so well, we've lost a great man who's earned a cherished and lasting memory within our hearts:  Bill Rosendahl. 

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MY TURN-Many people have described Richard Alarcon as a great example of the “professional politician.” He prefers to think of himself as the advocate for community service, having been involved in the political arena most of his adult life. In the last three years, though, it has been mostly on the dark side. 

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RETIREMENT POLITICS--More than seven million people—over one-fifth of California’s population—work without a path to retirement. They have neither a 401(k) — the so-called “roller-coaster plan” tied to the stock market — nor a traditional pension that was once considered a worker’s right and which is now a rare species outside of government employment or the public education system.

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THIS IS WHAT I KNOW--A Los Angeles neighborhood grassroots matching funds program may have opened the door to a second candidate landing in hot water. LA City Council Member Nury Martinez is under Federal investigation in connection with her 2015 reelection efforts.

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EDUCATION POLITICS-Every week for the last five years I have been contacted by what seems to be a never ending parade of targeted senior teachers. These are the professionals that are at the top of the salary scale who make up 93% of teachers being charged and subsequently removed from their careers at LAUSD.

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TRANSIT POLITICS--Having just returned from Charleston, Savannah, and Atlanta for a weeklong family vacation, I can assure you that cities both small and large do what they can to encourage a local economy, encourage proper neighborhood preservation and densification, and create jobs and affordable housing.  

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DEEGAN ON LA-Have you ever heard of an “urban heat island?” Do you know how it affects our environment? Do you know how developers can use carbon management techniques to help offset the effects of the heat and carbon impacts generated by the tall vertical masses they want to build? 

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GUEST WORDS--It is not impossible to tell how Hiram Johnson  … great American progressive and one-time California governor … would be keeping score on his Progressive Era reforms, and in particular the initiative process. He would clearly see some successes to set beside the shortcomings the Bee editorial board pointed out last week

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HERE’S WHAT I KNOW-An initiative to raise the state minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2021 has qualified for the November election, adding to an already jam-packed ballot. Should the Fair Wage Act of 2016 pass, California would become the largest state to improve the standard of living for the 3.3 million low-wage earners in the state, including 600,000 in Los Angeles County alone, perhaps setting the stage for a higher minimum wage across the U.S.  San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf are co-chairs of the initiative campaign. 

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NEIGHBORHOOD NIGHTMARES-From the Hills of Hollywood to the Malibu coast and even the Valley, pricey real estate has provided the backdrop for countless reality shows and some out-control parties, as well as a nice income stream for investors, including developer Danny Fitzgerald who owns a cluster of glass manses in the Hollywood Dell. 

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BICYCLE REVOLUTION--The bicycle is proving itself as an instrument of gentle revolution, helping to change not just how cities are used, but how they are shaped. Bike lanes do more than facilitate low-impact travel; they enrichen businesses and create community where before there was only stress, noise, and smog. More and more people saddle up for city travel every day, often counting on smartphone apps to help them make sense of this new old way of moving. The revolution proceeds apace, and everyone, it seems, is joining in.

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JUST THE FACTS-This week we witnessed another horrifying terrorist attack on innocent people, this time at the Brussels airport and at a subway station in that city. The current victim count is 31 innocent people dead with 300 plus wounded. This brings to mind the previous terrorist attacks that have taken place in America and other parts of the world in recent years. Some are closer to home while others are across the sea in faraway places. 

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