GUEST COLUMNIST--He didn't have to do it. Pull out of the climate agreement. The Paris Accords were a public promise among 128 nations to work toward particular targets designed as much to give business, markets and governments some sense of how to plan for the future as it was to tackle the problem. There were no enforcement mechanisms simply the good will of all the countries that signed on to it. He's an infantile thinker and liar so he's either been manipulated or he's simply trying to wave his tiny hands around for his fans. It doesn't matter why.

Donald Trump has officially made the US, a gigantic polluter that was nonetheless leading efforts to change the trajectory of climate change, into a global environmental pariah.

You will remember, the media didn't ask even one climate change question during all those debates. Clinton had to try to sneak in her concerns where possible but nobody in the press paid any attention. They did find the time to repeatedly grill her about her emails, however.

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WHAT THEY DIED FOR—America set aside Memorial Day to honor those who died fighting its many wars. 

Most of you are familiar with the … according to Portland papers … ‘white supremacist kills two people in a hate crime report.’  The two men killed were trying to protect a girl wearing a head covering from being attacked by the supremacist. 

Earlier this week, America spent a fair amount of time debating the wisdom of a Congressional candidate in Montana beating up a reporter who irritated him by asking questions about health care. 

There are connections here. The American Constitution protects the people’s right to speak freely, worship … or not … freely and to enjoy the benefits of a free press. As we honor those who died in our wars, it is also important that we also honor what it was they died for: the right to speak freely, worship freely and enjoy the benefits of a free press. 

In the midst of the current give and take we’re engaged in in this divided country of ours, you may have to give a little. But it will be a small contribution compared to what those we honor today gave … their all. Their lives.

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GUEST WORDS--Malcolm X would have turned 92 Friday, just two days after white Tulsa, Oklahoma police officer Betty Shelby was acquitted of first-degree manslaughter in last year's shooting death of unarmed, compliant, hands-in-the-air "bad dude" - aka black man - Terrence Crutcher after the ordinarily minor, not fatal, happenstance of his car stalling on the side of the road.

Once again, the police narrative of the September encounter differed dramatically from video evidence: Shelby said she fired when Crutcher, 40, didn't obey her command and seemed to reach for a gun inside his SUV; video showed he in fact walked away from Shelby with his hands in the air. No weapon was discovered, and the window he was said to have reached through turned out to be closed, and smeared with his blood.

Along with such seemingly damning evidence, prosecutors presented wildly racist police audio in which another cop watching from the air declared Crutcher "a bad dude" - presumably because he was a big black man who had taken the threatening action of allowing his car to stall, thereby causing a menacing mob of trigger-happy police, including dainty little white lady Shelby, to gather at the scene. Still, Shelby, who had a reported history of using "unfounded" excessive force,  repeatedly portrayed herself as a victim during the trial. She told the jury she had "never been so scared" in her life and that Crutcher's death was “his fault,” adding, in a truly surreal twist, "I can't believe he made me do it."

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GUEST WORDS-The take-no-prisoners George Carlin, who died of heart failure in 2008, would have turned 80 on Friday.

It's impossible not to wonder what Carlin - the guy who famously proclaimed, "In the United States, anybody can be president. That's the problem" - would have made of the Trump catastrophe, other than a nice spicy stew.

Carlin's prescient, brutal, truth-telling cynicism extended not just to politicians but to the soulless corporations that owned them and the shoddy culture that produced them, arguing, "This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders."

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HEALTHCARE POLITICS—The inability for our political representatives to put politics aside and the healthcare of the nation up front is making America sick. And angry. Every now and then, along comes a voice, charged with passion … and often anger … that speaks with power and clarity and … speaks for us. So it was with this New Jersey voter at a Rep Tom MacArthur town hall recently … who leaves little doubt that he is a voice for many of the 23 million about-to-be-uninsured Americans. 


Also in CityWatch Today: Jill Richardson warns that California’s National Parks … including Angeles Crest … are on the Trump hit list. An act of kindness warms the heart of David Bell. Brian Trautman looks at Memorial Day through a contemporary lens. Mike Cohen makes ‘Impeachment Popcorn’. And, Dick Platkin exposes fake traffic solutions. And, that’s just for starters. 

Check it out. Let me know what you think. We’re good at listening. 

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BLAME GAME—Oops! LA threw another of those elections that no one knew about. Or, cared about. And, again, no one showed up to vote. Equally predictable: The usual crap about why: off year elections … too many elections … LA is the apathy capital of the world. The blame game is on.

And everyone gets blamed but the real culprits … the politicians themselves. 

Former LA Councilman Joel Wachs … when he ran for mayor and introduced the idea of neighborhood councils … said, ‘the people have become apathetic and cynical, they don’t believe anyone here (City Hall) is listening.’ How about that as an answer for all the voter no-shows? No one at City Hall is listening. 

Here are a couple more. 

Just one election ago, voters agreed to pony up a gazillion dollars for transportation and streets and to help the homeless … only to learn a very short time later that they had been duped, millions of their dollars were being ‘redirected’ to causes and projects not clearly mentioned on the ballot measures they had voted to support. A possible reason for voters to stay home? 

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SHOW ME THE MONEY—LA voters generously approved a number of ballot measures last November … for roads and rails, for the homeless … worth millions of $$$. Problem is, six months later, folks are having trouble finding the $$$. The pitch for the Homeless Measure HHH promised 10,000 affordable housing units. CityWatch investigative writer Tony Butka puts a microscope on the plan and can only find 600-plus units. Lookin’ more and more like the old ‘bait and switch.’ Any wonder the people are cynical? 

Which leads us to another marketing ‘bake and shake.’ New ownership came to town not so long ago and promised to field a winner out at Dodger stadium. They neglected to tell the fans the heavy duty cost … like no Dodger games on TV for 60%-70% of LA … or that ticket and stadium prices would spiral out of reach for ordinary folk. Only the deep pocket rich need apply. Jerald Podair provides the details … in Today’s CityWatch

Not many Angelenos seem to be aware of it, but there is an election Tuesday. CityWatch provides an abundance of guidance in this issue. All of that … and more. 

Take a look. Tell us what you think.

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