EARTHEN TRAGEDY BORNE OF FIRE
In the wee hours of Jan. 9, torrential rainfall on lands still raw and barren from the Thomas Fire, the largest wildfire in California history, caused a catastrophic mudslide in Montecito. Santa Barbara Independent reported heavily on the catastrophe in their backyard, which destroyed 100 homes, killed at least 20 as of Jan. 16, with four more still missing, and injured dozens. The mudslides encompassed 280,000 acres; 1,000 people were evacuated.
SBI wrote that wreckage of trees, boulders, household debris and bodies of victims were strewn across “streets lined with mangled cars and several dozen shattered homes, some sheared completely from their foundations.” From the horrors officials described as akin to a “World War I battlefield” emerged tales of heroism and altruism as helicopters, volunteers, first responders and others raced to locate and rescue survivors, including hundreds who were trapped behind impassible roads days later. Our thoughts are with all affected by this catastrophe.
SOBER GAMING EXISTS?
OK, OK, we got jokes; obviously some gamers are sober. (Probs ’cause their dealer got pinched.) Anyways, the headline, “The Disneyland of Stoned Gaming,” in L.A. Weekly caught our eye. In 2016, Zeus Tipado created the Stoned Gamer Championship Series, which L.A.W describes as “a roving tournament combining cannabis and esports/computer gaming.” This year, the grand prize “included a trip to Phuket, Thailand; a pound of cannabis; a limited-edition Stoned Gamer Arcade; and a contract with sports management and marketing company First Round Management.”
Was becoming the godfather of channeling stoned gaming into first a website, for which he and his buddies would smoke out, play games, then write about them, and a competition enough for this visionary? Nay! Tipado is launching the permanent Stoned Gamer Arena in L.A. in April. Though their demo skews heavily young and male, all are welcome and participants vary widely, according to Tipado. What we want to know is: Edibles, smokables, vape or all three?
DOCS FOR SOCIALIZED MEDICINE
An editorial in North Coast Journal makes the case for single-payer healthcare as better for both doctors and their patients. According to authors Corinne Frugoni and Wendy Ring, today physicians spend an average of nine hours every week wrangling with insurance companies and practices spend $72K annually per physician dealing with insurers. The editorial—written in response to a previous guest opinion by Assemblymember Jim Wood opposing state legislation that would create a single-payer system—asserts that such would simplify healthcare, save patients and physicians money, and lead to better health outcomes and happier people who today delay life decisions and treatment based on the availability of insurance coverage.
The authors state that the average patient pays $4K out-of-pocket before insurance even kicks in, rendering moot the argument that single-payer would be more costly, and asks of critics who say it would be “too complicated” to socialize medicine if the 1965 act that established Medicare, which was effective a year later: “Was it all that complicated?” They also point out that, in spite of those same critics’ complaints that a “small vocal group” supports a single-payer system, a majority of Californians supports it, and cities ranging from liberal strongholds like Los Angeles, Berkeley, San Francisco and West Hollywood to small towns like Arcata, El Cerrito, Emeryville and Manila, have endorsed it. Food for thought the next time you “cure” yourself or argue with your insurance company.
BUILDING TO BECOME GOVERNOR
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recently explained one of the key issues facing Californians: lack of affordable housing. (Sounds familiar.) According to Pacific Sun, Villaraigosa believes that in order to solve the crisis, which no one seems willing to treat as such, and curb homelessness and the housing shortage, California needs to restore its redevelopment program, quicken permitting for projects on the local level, create a housing trust, encourage its cities to plan “smart growth” housing construction, and not give affluent communities a pass on developing “smart growth” strategies and affordable housing. He also reportedly said affluent communities have a tendency to piss and moan anytime anyone tries to build. Is it just us or does this sound kinda like Arlington?