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  • More shelters for homeless are good but permanent housing is better

    More shelters for homeless are good but permanent housing is better

    In the city of Los Angeles, there are more than 34,000 homeless people and a shortage of overnight shelter beds. As a result, nearly three-quarters of those people are “unsheltered” — meaning that they are sleeping at night on a sidewalk, in a tent, in a makeshift shelter or in a vehicle rather...

  • Should we set up New Deal-style work camps for the needy?

    Should we set up New Deal-style work camps for the needy?

    “They are sending out emergency calls for shoes, underwear, sleeping garments, household equipment, mattresses, springs and bedding,” a Los Angeles Times story reported from Southern California. Do-gooders were doing what they could to help the destitute. “They have no sanitation,” a volunteer...

  • After San Francisco, I worried L.A. would seem complacent

    After San Francisco, I worried L.A. would seem complacent

    On my first day as director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, in 2011, I walked into my downtown office and was struck by the view: mountains. I had no idea there were mountains in Los Angeles. Having never lived in Southern California, I had a Brooklynite’s view of L.A.:...

  • A close reading of Glenn Simpson's Trump-Russia testimony

    A close reading of Glenn Simpson's Trump-Russia testimony

    Glenn Simpson’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, released this week, is a tale of two research projects. One is about the financier turned criminal-justice crusader William F. Browder. The other is about the American president, Donald J. Trump. Taken together, they shed light on...

  • California needs to ensure that money aimed at low-income students actually gets to them

    California needs to ensure that money aimed at low-income students actually gets to them

    In the budget he released this week, Gov. Jerry Brown called for fully funding the Local Control Funding Formula, his landmark 2013 overhaul of education financing that was designed to direct substantial amounts of extra money to schools with high numbers of low-income students. More money has...

  • Don't purge voters for not showing up

    Don't purge voters for not showing up

    Voting is a precious right, but it’s also one that a citizen should feel free not to exercise on election day if the choices on the ballot don’t inspire him. That was the decision a Kent, Ohio, software engineer named Larry Harmon made in 2010 and 2014 when he skipped those midterm elections. Yet...

  • Trump is inching closer to blowing up the Iran nuclear deal

    Trump is inching closer to blowing up the Iran nuclear deal

    As a candidate for president, Donald Trump denounced the international agreement that placed important limits on Iran’s nuclear program as “the worst deal ever negotiated.” Never mind that his opposition seemed based more on the fact that the agreement was one of the crowning achievements of the...

  • If L.A. supes can't bother to update their website, how can we trust them to keep the public informed?

    If L.A. supes can't bother to update their website, how can we trust them to keep the public informed?

    Elected officials are picked and paid by the public, so it’s fair to evaluate them not only on how well they do their substantive work, but on how well they communicate their progress to the public and hold themselves open to public critique. Keeping the public informed is not (or ought not be)...

  • What the baseball hall of fame can teach us about elections

    What the baseball hall of fame can teach us about elections

    Would ballot-box behavior change if people knew more precisely how their fellow citizens planned to vote? It’s a question that no doubt still haunts Democrats as they continue staring daggers at their friends who went third-party in November 2016. But it’s also an experiment being carried out in...

  • Salvadorans forced to return home will face one of the most dangerous places on the planet

    Salvadorans forced to return home will face one of the most dangerous places on the planet

    All migrants have two lives — the one they are living now, and the one from before. In El Salvador, Rosa Maria was a sociologist. After fleeing to Long Island, N.Y., in 2002, she found work cleaning Manhattan apartments by day and fast-food restaurants by night. Her children have embraced the American...

  • A way to break the terrifying pattern of fire and flood

    A way to break the terrifying pattern of fire and flood

    In Southern California, water and fire can be a lethal combination. Just ask anyone who fled before December’s Thomas inferno only to evacuate again when rains slammed down on the burn areas, triggering deadly mudslides. For those whose houses were incinerated or flooded out, the understandable...

  • Forcing Salvadorans to return home after 20 years in the U.S. is both cruel and bad policy

    Forcing Salvadorans to return home after 20 years in the U.S. is both cruel and bad policy

    In a span of 30 days in 2001, El Salvador endured two devastating earthquakes, the first a magnitude 7.7 followed by a magnitude 6.6. Hillsides crumbled and swept away neighborhoods. Houses disintegrated. Roads buckled. In all, the two quakes killed 1,156 people and injured 8,122 more while destroying...

  • Take it from a former Division I athlete: College sports are like Jim Crow

    Take it from a former Division I athlete: College sports are like Jim Crow

    Now that the bowl season and College Football Playoff have concluded, college sports fans are shifting their attention from football to basketball in anticipation of March Madness. Although I’m a huge sports fan and ran track at school, I won’t be watching any men’s college basketball this spring....

  • 'Dreamers' are people, not bargaining chips

    'Dreamers' are people, not bargaining chips

    There may have been a heartening glimmer out of the White House on Tuesday on a possible deal to protect the so-called Dreamers from deportation while moving Congress toward comprehensive immigration reform. But the glimmer could also have been a magician’s trick. The devil, as they say, will be...

  • Stoner and non-stoner Californians can unite in resisting Jeff Sessions

    Stoner and non-stoner Californians can unite in resisting Jeff Sessions

    Keyboard confessional: I’ve never smoked marijuana in my life. I don’t care for kush. I hate its smell. Edibles scare me. I can’t tell the difference between THC and TBS. The one time pals offered me a joint, I declined and drank Cactus Cooler instead. But I support the right for any adult to light...

  • What the Trump administration doesn't understand about ocean conservation

    What the Trump administration doesn't understand about ocean conservation

    The Trump administration announced last week that it would open 90% of our coastal waters to oil and gas drilling. It declared last month that it would shrink or eliminate several national monuments — both terrestrial and marine. Last year, it rolled back safety requirements that prevent spills...

  • One good thing about Beltway insiders: They actually know what's going on

    One good thing about Beltway insiders: They actually know what's going on

    “Fishermen, sharpen your hooks, bring out the cheese balls and grease your bicycles. Soon there's going to be trout fishing inside the Beltway.” That’s the first recorded use of the phrase “inside the Beltway,” meaning — in this instance — the physical realm within the I-495 ring road that surrounds...

  • Hallmark channels' competitive advantage? Red state appeal

    Hallmark channels' competitive advantage? Red state appeal

    The nation’s political divide expresses itself in many ways, including television preferences. A recent survey found that viewers in regions that backed Hillary Clinton prefer political satire and stories with darker themes, antiheroes and unconventional families, as reported by the Los Angeles...

  • Oprah for president? Have we learned nothing?

    Oprah for president? Have we learned nothing?

    We don’t know whether the idea of Oprah Winfrey for president, inspired by Winfrey’s eloquent speech Sunday at the Golden Globe Awards, will prove an ephemeral excitation or a movement with staying power. But we find it depressing. We mean no disrespect to Winfrey, who strikes us as much better...

  • Cut the red tape already and start building supportive housing for the homeless

    Cut the red tape already and start building supportive housing for the homeless

    Here is a smart way for the Los Angeles City Council to jump-start the building of housing for homeless people: Cut the red tape that delays the construction of supportive housing and the conversion of dilapidated motels into new apartments. The Planning Commission endorsed a pair of ordinances...

  • Trump bungles his quest for the 'ultimate deal' in the Middle East

    Trump bungles his quest for the 'ultimate deal' in the Middle East

    It’s not an indictment of President Trump that he failed in his first year in office to broker what he once called “the ultimate deal” — an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. After all, the effort to end that bitter conflict, which has been underway in one form or another for well over...

  • Losers in the GOP tax plan, blue states are unwisely turning to tax evasion

    Losers in the GOP tax plan, blue states are unwisely turning to tax evasion

    Congressional Republicans say the $1.5-trillion tax cut they passed last month will produce far more winners than losers, with the typical family of four earning the median income saving more than $2,000 this year. But the losers will be easier to find in states with high tax rates and elevated...

  • Only Congress can keep Jeff Sessions' reefer madness in check

    Only Congress can keep Jeff Sessions' reefer madness in check

    Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions’ decision to withdraw an Obama-era directive discouraging the enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized pot shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with Sessions’ views on drug laws. The attorney general has every right to enforce federal drug laws...

  • Unbelievably, women still don't have equal rights in the Constitution

    Unbelievably, women still don't have equal rights in the Constitution

    The current wave of female rage started with the Women’s March on Washington: millions of women coming together and rising up around the country, even around the world. Now it’s #MeToo — an explosion of pent-up rage after decades, even generations, of women putting up with sexual harassment from...

  • Why believe Michael Wolff? Because, for now, this stuff is too good not to

    Why believe Michael Wolff? Because, for now, this stuff is too good not to

    It takes a thief to catch a thief, and Michael Wolff, with his new book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” is the ideal hustler to capture President Trump, whom Wolff describes as having a “twinkle in his eye, larceny in his soul.” Wolff, if memory serves, is similar, minus the twinkle....

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