TALE OF TWO LA’S--Three doors from my house in Venice, a builder tore down a 1940’s bungalow and put up a two-story spec house that fills every square foot of allowable space on the lot.  But when the house didn’t sell at the $4 million asking price, the builder listed it on Airbnb at $1400 a night, and now it’s the functional equivalent of a hotel, with guests coming and going and partying at all hours on the roof deck and around the pool and spa.  

THIS IS WHAT I KNOW-It’s been over a week since the Las Vegas Massacre that ended the lives of 58 people, as well as injuring almost 500 others. Since Columbine, we’ve watched coverage for far too many of these mass shootings. There are different faces attached to victims and the perpetrators. Typically, we hear about red flags. But each and every time, the display of violence sparks another gun control debate.

GELFAND’S WORLD--We've now completed the first weekend of the San Pedro International Film Festival, aka Spiff.  The fun part of a film festival, certainly this one, is the chance to see a lot of short films -- both documentaries and fictions -- by young and unknown artists. The abundance of decent quality short films raises an interesting question: In the absence of a movie theater circuit that shows these films, how does a mass audience experience them? It turns out that there are a couple of answers to this question, neither of them being entirely satisfying. There are a lot of well-made stories that deserve to be seen on the big screen by a live audience. 

NEW GEOGRAPHY--America’s seemingly unceasing culture wars are not good for business, particularly for a region like Southern California. As we see Hollywood movie stars, professional athletes and the mainstream media types line up along uniform ideological lines, a substantial portion of the American ticket and TV watching population are turning them off, sometimes taking hundreds of millions of dollars from the bottom line.

EDUCATION POLITICS--In the never-ending saga of LAUSD absurdity, last week, my wife and I received a robo- call from Superintendent Michelle King informing us that a music teacher who was not a District employee may have contaminated recorders with semen and given them to students. Any parent concerned that their child might have been affected was instructed to call their office. 

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