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Wednesday
Feb222017

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Port of Los Angeles, "Investor pleads guilty to withholding email during grand jury probe of Port of L.A. police chief"; commentary (Steve Lopez), LAUSD, March 7 election, "Steve Lopez wanted to talk to 18 students with $1 million to spend on an election. Then his invite was yanked"; LAPD, "L.A. officials ask LAPD to find ways to put more officers on city streets" .... 

Wednesday
Feb222017

POLITICS (National): President Donald Trump, U.S. intelligence agencies, "fake news"?: Commentary (Op-Ed: Michael Gerson), "Reality will get its revenge on Donald Trump" ....

* Washington Post (Op-Ed: Michael Gerson):  "Reality will get its revenge on Donald Trump" - From the WP:

In mid-January, after the appearance of some embarrassing material or another (it is hard to keep track), President-elect Trump tweeted: “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?” That charge has made escalation of the Trump/intelligence conflict difficult. What is the next step after the Nazi card?

More recently, President Trump has called leaks from the intelligence community “un-American” and “just like Russia.”

It is difficult to imagine a set of attacks more likely to be galling to intelligence professionals, some of whom risk their lives with no prospect of credit, in one of the purer forms of patriotism.

Now Trump appears utterly shocked that he does not hold the copyright on counterpunching. And the intelligence community is particularly good at it. During my time in the George W. Bush White House, there were also some damaging intelligence leaks. I have no intention of excusing them. I only point out that it is daunting to argue with people who weaponize information for a living — like challenging a Navy SEAL to a fight.

There is a certain kind of New Yorker who really believes Frank Sinatra: “If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere.” The world of Manhattan real estate must have seemed to Trump like the big leagues. It wasn’t. And the techniques that succeeded in his little world — the taunting, the exaggerations, the bluster, the threats, the bullying — do not translate well in dealing with real professionals. The ones who fight Russian influence.

With less than a month in office, Trump is beginning to see reality’s revenge. His overall strategy seems disturbingly ambitious. Retired Gen. Michael Hayden, who directed both the CIA and the NSA, describes it this way in an interview: “A systematic effort to invalidate and delegitimize all the institutions, governmental and nongovernmental, that create the factual basis for action . . . so they won’t push back against arbitrary moves.”

That is, well, terrifying. But American institutions, it turns out, are pretty durable, at least so far. The checks have checked. The balances have balanced. In this scenario, it is good news that the Trump administration has been so inept, at least in conflicts with other institutions. We should be thankful that Trump is a figure much smaller than his schemes.

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So far, the reaction to Trump’s attacks on institutions has ranged from ...............

Wednesday
Feb222017

L.A. CITY HALL: Boyle Heights, art galleries, anti-gentrification controversy: "Boyle Heights art space closes, citing harassment by anti-gentrification activists" ....

***Following up on earlier items noted here (controversy, Boyle Heights, art galleries, gentrification, neighborhood protests)....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Boyle Heights art space closes, citing harassment by anti-gentrification activists" - From the LAT:

Citing harassment and online trolling, the co-founders of an art space in Boyle Heights announced Tuesday that they will close the nonprofit, calling it a casualty of a raging fight over gentrification. PSSST, which opened on East 3rd Street last year, came under fire from some residents and activists concerned about a new wave of galleries moving into the largely Latino Boyle Heights neighborhood. 

“We are unable to ethically and financially proceed with our mission,” co-founders Barnett Cohen and Jules Gimbrone and community outreach coordinator Pilar Gallego said in a statement on their website. “Our young nonprofit struggled to survive through constant attacks.”  Staff and artists were routinely trolled online and harassed in person, according to the statement from the nonprofit.

“This persistent targeting, which was often highly personal in nature, was made all the more intolerable because the artists we engaged are queer, women and/or people of color,” the statement read. “We could no longer continue to put already vulnerable communities at further risk.” “While our closure might be applauded by some, it is not a victory for civil discourse and coalition building at a time when both are in short supply,” the statement added.

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Members of the activist group Defend Boyle Heights, who have long been protesting the art spaces, shared the news on Facebook shortly after. “We hope the rest of the galleries follow the example set by PSSST an[d] leave Boyle Heights,” the post reads. 

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It is unclear what will go in the space occupied by PSSST, as the owner will now assume control of the building, the statement read ........

Wednesday
Feb222017

POLITICS/MEDIA: President Donald Trump, White House press secretary Sean Spicer, racism, anti-Semitic activity?: Commentary (Philip Bump), "In one exchange, Sean Spicer demonstrated why there's skepticism about Trump's claims of tolerance" ....  

* Washington Post (Philip Bump):  "In one exchange, Sean Spicer demonstrated why there's skepticism about Trump's claims of tolerance" - From the WP:

After a rash of bomb threats at Jewish community centers nationwide and vandalism at a Jewish cemetery over the weekend, President Trump was pressed for a response more forceful than those he offered during news conferences last week.

Asked about that spike in anti-Semitic activity last Wednesday, Trump chose first to talk about his electoral vote totals, implying that concerns that he may be tacitly supporting anti-Semitic actions were offset by the “tremendous enthusiasm” his candidacy had received. He then suggested that there was nothing new about such behavior, saying that his administration was “going to do everything within our power to stop long- simmering racism and every other thing that’s going on, because a lot of bad things have been taking place over a long period of time.” The following day, he was asked by a Jewish reporter specifically about the bomb threats, and insisted that “I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life.”

On Tuesday morning, he offered a reply more typical of a politician. “The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community at community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil,” he said in prepared remarks. In an interview with a reporter from NBC earlier, he insisted that “it’s going to stop.”

Unfortunately for the president’s efforts to turn the page on the question, though, press secretary Sean Spicer made points during his daily media briefing that illustrate why questions about anti-Semitism and racism have hounded Trump for months.

Spicer was asked by Margaret Brennan of CBS to respond to a strong condemnation of Trump’s Tuesday morning statement by the Anne Frank Center.

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But the most egregious claim Spicer made — a claim he made over the weekend, too — is that Trump has been “very forceful with his denunciations” and that “no matter how many times he talks about this that it’s never good enough.”

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Spicer’s job is to articulate the positions of the White House, and it can be challenging to offer a robust, comprehensive reply to a question you’ve just heard when there are scores of microphones listening to what you say. What Spicer meant to say isn’t really clear, to be honest, but the framework is ............

Wednesday
Feb222017

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Los Angeles, editorial, "Vote yes for Measure P for San Pedro waterfront development"; Bay Area, commentary (Matier & Ross), "Oakland chief's pay package a sweet deal for city bigwig"; O.C., "Santa Ana Plans Legal Defense Fund for Undocumented Immigrants Facing Deportation"; Sacramento, "Sacramento mayor lands private dollars toward housing plan for homeless people" .... 

***Various items relating to local issues/local government -- Northern California, Southern California....

* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):  "Oakland chief's pay package a sweet deal for city bigwig"

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "Vote yes on Measure P for San Pedro waterfront development"

* Sacramento Bee:  "Sacramento mayor lands private dollars toward housing plan for homeless people"

* Voice of OC:  "Santa Ana Plans Legal Defense Fund for Undocumented Immigrants Facing Deportation"