THE POWER OF BIG PHARMA-The opioid epidemic has left no part of the country untouched, yet California can be considered one of the luckier states. Close to 115 Americans die each day of an opioid-related overdose, but California’s death rates have begun to taper off. Public experts surmise that a diverse demographic makeup and the type of heroin available in the area have contributed to the stabilization. But, this is only one barely shining light at the end of a long tunnel. 

OTHER WORDS--Let’s do a mental exercise.

Imagine that Jose moves to the United States from El Salvador. He comes here legally — he applied for the diversity visa lottery and he won! Then he quickly gathered together the required papers to prove to the U.S. that he was who he said he was, and he wasn’t a criminal, and he moved to New York.

BELL VIEW--Can America pay attention long enough to do anything to save itself from destruction? The massacre in Florida already feels like ancient history to everyone except the people who lived through it. The slaughter in Syria quietly churns on beneath the surface while Americans have lost the ability to connect two opposing ideas to create a real debate. 

EASTSIDER-The news media is all over their headline that Kevin De Leon and “progressive dems” at the Democratic Convention in San Diego this weekend “denied” right-wing Senator Dianne Feinstein the party’s endorsement. So, is it true or is it horse puckey? 

CAL MATTERS--As California’s Democrats wrapped up their party’s annual convention Sunday, they left San Diego as they arrived: a party still fraying at the seams after the 2016 election, held together by one strong bond—a unifying dislike of President Donald Trump.(Photo above Billionaire activist Tom Steyer at Dems convention.)

ALPERN AT LARGE--Increasingly, ours is a society who acts based on emotions and "feel-good" politics instead of smart, outcomes-based and tough decision-making.  We expect our children and student population to go out there and protest, and the adults are supposed to follow their lead...or something like that. 

MY TURN—(Jasmyne Cannick is an LA writer and a contributor to CityWatch.) If you ask Vincent Cook about the first 56 years of his life he’d probably tell you his proudest moments were were being handpicked by the late comedian Richard Pryor and singer Luther Vandross to be their opening acts during their respective tours. But mention former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Cook lights up and smiles as he recounts opening for Clinton during one of his California Primary appearances.

CAL MATTERS-Early in 2011, Bill Allayaud was so fed up with what he saw as dereliction of duty by California’s oil and gas regulator that he began to catalog grievances: unregulated fracking, allowing companies to inject oilfield wastewater into clean water aquifers, little or no oversight into critical practices affecting public health and safety. 

GELFAND’S WORLD--Have you ever noticed that when a suspect in a TV crime show says "I swear" to the detectives, it is a subliminal signal that the guy is telling the truth? It's actually a little weird when you think about it. 

PLATKIN ON PLANNING-The column hopefully begins to examine the connections between City Hall and real estate investments pouring into Los Angeles. While this story gets to the foundation of municipal politics, the mainstream news media either ignores it completely or only reports small snippets of the big picture. 

MY TURN-Like with anything Black people do that receives too much high praise and critical acclaim, there’s always at least one descendant of a colonizer at the ready to make sure that we don’t get too big for our britches. This time around its criticism of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther film for their so-called “lack of LGBT representation.” 

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