SMALL BIZ WATCH--As sexual harassment allegations spread to more individuals and industries, the sad facts are coming out regarding treatment of women at work that many have known about for decades. It’s easy to point to more “glamorous” enterprises like entertainment, investment, culinary, tech, politics, fashion, and think that these “ego-head” movers and shakers are getting their due. In the days to come #MeToo will certainly spread to less glamorous industries and less prominent transgressors, and many industries and localities will have unfortunate and distressing sexual harassment accounts to deal with. 

CORRUPTION WATCH-All educated people have heard Lord Acton’s quote from 1887, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” One interesting aspect of Lord Acton’s statement is that it took thousands of years for someone to concisely state what everyone knew. It’s the lesson behind Sodom and Gomorrah where the judges were named Liar, Deceiver, and Perverter of the law. Socrates’, Plato’s and Aristotle’s discussions on how to bring together wisdom and power yielded no solution. As the Arab political philosopher al-Farabi noted in his parable of the pious ascetic, the corruption power brings taints even the righteous. (The ascetic had to lie by acts of deception to save his life.) 

REMEMBER ENRON?--Los Angeles’ escalating housing costs are not due to impartial market forces, but rather, the product of judicially sanctioned corruptionism. Hillel Aron and Jason McGahan, in their November 29, 2017 article, What Happens When Wall Street Is Your Landlord?   describe the personal pain and suffering that is increasingly befalling Angelenos. 

BELL VIEW-This one goes way back. When I was about 8 years old, I got together with my friend up the street, Davy Dexheimer, to play Hot Wheels. We set up a track down Davy’s long driveway and raced our cars against each other. Davy had quite the collection, and one in particular caught my eye. So, when we were packing up our things at the end of the day, I pocketed one small car and headed home. 

VOICES--Los Angeles is in the throes of an unprecedented housing affordability crisis, with homelessness at historic highs.  So why does our planning department see fit to allow developers to buy up affordable, rent-stabilized buildings and convert them to luxury, million-dollar condominiums? 

EASTSIDER-Everyone knows about the plight of the folks living around Porter Ranch, and how well SoCalGas has treated them. Now it appears that all DWP customers will be receiving a “gift” from the Gas company that we really, really are not going to like! 

YES IN MY BACK YARDERS ON THE MOVE-Of the fifteen bills in the “housing package” signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on September 29, the one that got the most attention in the media was State Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 35—and for good reason: SB 35 goes a long way toward “putting teeth” in California’s Regional Housing Needs Allocations, the number of housing units that each city’s and county’s zoning must accommodate. Moreover, the bill’s provisions for “by-right” approval of certain multi-family, infill developments both circumvent the California Environmental Quality Act and eliminate negotiations with developers over community benefits.

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