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MY TURN-It seems that my last article about "NIMBYISM vs Progress" really hit a nerve – garnering the most negative comments of any piece I’ve done over almost three years! This proves my theory that "we the people" don't act, we react. Perhaps this is because, like the rest of the country, we are so divided that's almost impossible to move ahead. 

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GETTING THERE FROM HERE--“I take public transit, but I hate it,” says a student intern who works in my downtown Sacramento office.

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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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TRANSIT NUMBERS … INTERPRETER PLEASE--Los Angeles transit ridership has fallen even more than a recent Los Angeles Times front page story indicated, according to Thomas A. Rubin, who served as Chief Financial Officer (auditor/controller) of the Southern California Rapid Transit District (SCRTD) from 1989 until 1993. SCRTD merged with the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (LACTC) after the first new rail line was opened in the early 1990s. (I served as a city of Los Angeles appointee to the board of LACTC.) 

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ROOS RUMBLES--On 2/1/16 the Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) sent to all certified Neighborhood Councils (NCs) the following “Funding Update“: 

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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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MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS--In the year since an explosion rocked the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, more questions than answers remain.

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The photo above shows the heart of downtown Los Angeles just after the morning rush hour. Between Union Station and La Placita on the one hand, and City Hall, along with various administration and court buildings and the financial center on the other, lies this concrete trench (crammed with cars), spanned by bland concrete bridges (crammed with cars), leading to streets crammed with cars.

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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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