GUEST WORDS--After four years of Mayor Garcetti, the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County have more homeless than any other U.S city:  34,000 homeless people in the city of Los Angeles with 58,790 in the County in January 2017. Three-quarters of Los Angeles’s city homeless or 25,500 people resemble the poor in Calcutta’s slums:  they live in tents on sidewalks, in canyons, riverbeds and alleys. The nation’s homelessness has increased to 554,000. Why so many homeless? How can they be helped to get into homes? 

EASTSIDER-After an overdose of Republicans vs Democrats, uncivil debate, and the gutting of the economic underpinnings of our society, I thought it was time to take a pause and look at the issues that define all of us, not just our deeply flawed political parties. 

CORRUPTIONISM-Accounting Control Fraud occurs when people in high positions such as a CEO and other company executives or a mayor and a city council subvert the organization and commit fraud for personal gain. With the help of Judge Richard Fruin, the City of Los Angeles is being looted by a group of criminals who are engaged in this activity. 

POLITICS--The U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in December, asking that a citizenship question be added to the 2020 Census because citizenship data was needed to protect minority populations from “racial discrimination in voting.”

TRANSIT POLITICS--The Trump Infrastructure plan has finally been released. The critics are out in force, especially those with particular interest in rapid transit. The plan would reduce funding to the federal “new starts” program, which provides funding for new urban rail and busway systems. The Los Angeles Times editorial board expressed angst at this proposal. According to The Times, the "…public transit building boom in L.A. County relies on federal funding that would be slashed under the president's infrastructure and budget proposals. The Purple Line subway to Westwood was slated to receive more than $1 billion, or roughly 45% of the total cost, from the federal government. Without that money, it will be extremely difficult to complete that project, as well as others, in time for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.” (Photo above: LA Olympics 1984.)

BELL VIEW--Turns out 3% of the American population own 50% of the guns. On average, these “gun enthusiasts” own 17 guns a piece. Talk about your self-defense! We also know that fewer than 2% of Americans killed by guns die in the types of mass shootings like we saw in Florida last week. So, it’s not as if every one of these patriotic defenders of the right to bear arms is a threat to society. I have gun-nut friends, and none of them is likely to walk into a school and start shooting anytime soon.

GELFAND’S WORLD--A few days ago, I wrote about an intriguing idea for a ballot initiative that just barely failed to make the ballot. It was a novel approach taken from a conservative point of view that had the potential to reduce the role of money in state legislative races.

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.)

PLATKIN ON PLANNING-As a frequent critic of Senator Scott Wiener’s free market, trickle-down, deregulatory approach to city planning in my CityWatchLA columns, I welcomed a recent Streetsblog LA article, “Senate Bill 827, Equity, and the Need for Coalition Building in the YIMBY movement.” Jason Islas’ analysis is clearly more nuanced that than typical YIMBY sermons about the imminent, all-encompassing benefits of scuttling planning, zoning, and environmental laws. In their view, Senator Wiener’s unfettered supply-side approach to planning will cure California’s growing and overlapping housing, transit, and environmental crises. 

GUEST COMMENTARY --On Feb. 13, 2018, a fire demolished the last standing structure at the corner of 84th and Vermont. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but this was far from the first time this lot owned by Sassony Commercial Development has been a public nuisance. Blighted for 26 years, it has been an ongoing source of embarrassment for residents and a daily reminder of how difficult it has been to rebuild the spirit and wealth of South Los Angeles since the Civil Unrest. 

GELFAND’S WORLD--Last week saw the exodus of several major American corporations from their previous relationships with the National Rifle Association. We can expect the trend to continue. This is both the effect of and will further contribute to delegitimizing the NRA in American politics. There is a direct analogy to the movement to get Rush Limbaugh removed from major radio stations, a tactic which worked surprisingly well. 

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