The 405 shuts down, but we gain our lives.

* Finally cracked TIME Cartoons of the Week with this one! Yes, it took a local LA cartoon to make good on the East Coast. Also in Daily News today, LA Observed, CalWatchdog.

You can’t know the excitement here about…a Freeway. The worst freeway. The one everyone hates to hate, the 405. The warnings started weeks ago, and lighted signs everywhere else let us know that even on the East side we’re not safe.

They’re closing the Freeway for July 16 and 17 for 10 miles – but they really start work at 7 PM on Friday night, so it’s 2 1/2 days. Just like the riots, they’re warning everyone not to go anywhere. I guess we’re allowed to walk, since they’re into fitness, however. read more

Where can I find some juicy Medical Marijuana?

In Los Angeles. It’s all the rage. It’s an evergreen topic on talk radio…will it ruin the city? Does it destroy neighborhoods? Is it really legal?

Oh, that’s interesting. I went to latimes.com to see what was new on the topic and this is the top article:

Peron, a hero to the marijuana movement, started the first dispensary in San Francisco and led the state’s medical marijuana initiative. Now, he and a team of weed-loving friends hope to turn the 106-room Normandie into America’s first pot-friendly hotel.

Well, the article has a particularly boring title, and it must be a slow news day, but you get the idea.

Here’s a poll that says most Americans don’t want legalized pot.

Respondents were skeptical that crime would spike if marijuana is decriminalized or that it would lead more people to harder drugs like heroin or cocaine. There also was a nearly even split on whether government spends too much or the right amount enforcing marijuana laws. Almost no one thinks too little is spent.

Marijuana use — medically and recreationally — is getting more attention in the political arena. California voters will decide in November whether to legalize the drug, and South Dakota will vote this fall on whether to allow medical uses. California and 13 other states already permit such use.

Wow, I didn’t know until I read this that California might legalize it. I can’t stand it on a personal level – druggies are the most boring people in the world, and the smell is nauseating – but I say go for it, get everything legalized, and take your bong and smoke into your bedroom.

LA Curbed has more on the hotel as “stoner-friendly.”

But brownies? I’m up for them any time. Recipes, anyone?

Caption: Medical Marijuana – Sal’s Bakery New: Laugh-a-lot brownies. Crunchy munchies cookies. There! Didn’t I tell you this would happen?

Am I right here?  Will a pot store in the neighborhood lead to better brownies? I did this cartoon for CalWatchdog, the new state watchdog in Sacramento. All my new California cartoons are over there first. They also have comment

Who set the Angeles Station Forest Fire?

If you tell me, I’ll share the $150,000 reward with you, 50- 50.

It’s unbelievable, this wretched fire is still burning in places, several weeks later. KHTS:

The Station Fire is 94 percent contained, with full containment now expected September 22. So far, the incident has consumed 160,557 acres of the Angeles National Forest which has not seen major fire activity in more than 40 years. It is the largest fire in the recorded history of Los Angeles County and the 10th largest in California history.

As it turns out, my cartoon is right; there was an arsonist, although I have much stronger words for him than crazy. They’ve established that it’s arson – caused by “some substance” – and it’s homicide, since 2 firefighters died. (also, at least thousands of animals, birds, reptiles and trees – DB)

I was really happy that Daily News ran this cartoon the week of the fire. Not much to contribute, but at least I was doing something to bring awareness to the tragedy. I also took photos and posted them on my park blog; I wanted to get the word out that once again, the whole Los Angeles area is vulnerable to wildfires, because OUR TRUCKS AREN’T STRONG ENOUGH.

smokey bear cartoon

But FINALLY -okay, I won’t ask why it took them so long – good old neighbor to the North Canada sent us 2 Super Scoopers! . :( Best part? We get to keep the SuperScoopers til December!

Who paid for Michael Jackson’s flamboyant funeral?

We did. Los Angeles did. I’m so disgusted by this ostentatious funeral/memorial display! Shutting down part of the city, motor cascade, stars mouthing off, TV show, news coverage, blah blah blah. Not to mention the WASTE of money, when California is completely broke, with layoffs, warnings, etc by the state.

No doubt Michael Jackson would have loved it. I’m embarrassed to be living in this city. Doesn’t LA asking for Paypal donations sound like a cartoon or joke all by itself? But it’s true! Los Angeles is a dreamer, all right.

This cartoon is kind of an in-joke to Californians: Mayor Villaraigosa was gone, touring, traveling, who knows what, during the whole Michael debacle. He’s out of the city a whole hella lot. I have no idea if he and Schwarzenegger are friends, enemies, BFF, or avoid each other. Fun to imagine, though.

Here, some Facebook friends and I discuss the issue:  

Me: I find it revolting that part of LA was shut down, and tickets were given out through a LOTTERY for a singer who retired and lived abroad. I hope he’s out of the news now so I don’t have to do a cartoon about MJ.

J. MJ was an icon. You can’t deny him that. Celebrated pedophile, yes, but he did live in California for quite a while. It is what it is.

G. He never retired, Donna. He retreated. And what’s wrong with holding a lottery? You can always turn off the TV.
Like him or not, stars don’t get any bigger and there is no denying his talent and contribution to humanitarian causes. As for the charges and accusat