Author: Michael Konik

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The Fable of Sybaris

Long ago, more than 2,500 years in the past, the city of Sybaris flourished on the heel of what is now Italy. Situated on a bustling line of Greek trade, Sybaris was where seagoing merchants unloaded their precious cargo for distribution along the Western coast. The customs and tolls from the Greeks’ inexorable enterprise made...

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The Fifth Risk

If you require additional evidence that the presidency of Donald J. Trump poses an existential danger to the United States of America, read The Fifth Risk, the latest work of journalism from popular author Michael Lewis. This short (fewer than 225 pages), easy-to-follow book profiles several dedicated federal employees in various Departments, including Energy, Agriculture and...

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A Revolutionary Solution for Homelessness in Beverly Hills

Franklin Canyon Park, in the storied borough of Beverly Hills, has been used as a popular filming location for decades. Exterior shots for The Andy Griffith Show, Twin Peaks, On Golden Pond, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, It Happened One Night — all were photographed here. These days, about 25 movies are filmed in Franklin Canyon annually. Producers...

An Inside Peek at One Little Version of Paradise

Not long ago, the brilliant photographer and videographer Jonny Harper (@JHB1126) brought his drone and his talent to the Vista Street Farmstead. His original intent was to document the recently completed driveway mural. He ended up shooting much more. Our friend and neighbors know what’s behind the driveway gates. For those who don’t have the...

A Better Way Forward To House California: Fighting Money with Money

Four noxious bills — SB50, SB1279, SB330, SB592 — are currently up for debate and vote in the California State Legislature, an august body completely dominated by Democrats. For anyone who continues to operate under the misapprehension that there’s a substantive difference between the two major mafias — sorry, political parties — this quartet of...

Quick Quiz

Fill in the blank. Answers below. “Like all military states, ___ encouraged a high birth rate by its moral codes and laws. Abortion was a capital crime; a woman who secured a miscarriage, or even attempted it, was impaled on a stake.” Assyria, circa 700 B.C. America, circa 2019 A.D.   “In ___, wives were...

Coming to Grips with Imperialism

If you’re an American under the age of 30, your country has been “at war” almost every day of your life. Not that it directly affects you. Or hardly anyone, really, except members of the lowest socio-economic classes. We were at war for every single day of the Obama presidency and today, with a very...

The Garbage Problem at Skid Row and City Hall

The Black Plague of the 1300s, transmitted by infected fleas attached to vermin, claimed millions of lives across Europe, erasing whole villages and towns. Until that time, organized municipal garbage collection didn’t exist. (Either did plumbing or flush toilets.) England, according to the history books, was the first nation to devote dedicated crews to picking...

False Flags, Bad Data and Untrustworthy Authorities: The Oncoming Harm Facing Runyon Canyon

The Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council (HHWNC) is an all-volunteer advisory board with lots of strong feelings and almost zero political power. At regularly scheduled meetings held at the Durant library, the HHWNC fields the concerns of local residents and stakeholders, many of whom are vexed about preposterous and harmful developments being allowed in the...

A Chinese Man with a Latin Name and Many Dangerous Ideas

His Chinese title was Mang-tze: Mang the Master. Just as European scholars changed his philosophical predecessor K’ung-fu-tze into “Confucius,” Latin-trained historians of the West called him “Mencius.” He spent most of his adult life (378-289 B.C.) counseling princes and kings, teaching them to rule like philosophers instead of barbarians. In his final years, he composed — or...