FROM Bruce Baltin
Are Hotels in Downtown LA Getting Taxpayer Money for Free? The LA Times reports that two building inspectors have been arrested and a federal grand jury has issued subpoenas seeking personnel records of at least 11 current and former employees. David Zahniser co-wrote the story. He also wrote a Times' story about tax breaks for massive hotels in booming downtown Los Angeles. J.W. Marriot, which opened last year, is reportedly doing well enough to produce some much-needed city revenue in a cash-strapped city. But the Anshutz Entertainment Group, AEG, will be able to keep some $270 million in taxes through 2035. Combined with two other such deals, the city could end up giving away $640 million in the next 30 years. The Mayor and City Council approved the subsidies after analysis by PKF Consulting , which calls them "incentives" and says they're common where they will stimulate new business.
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.