Steve Lopez, Respected LA Times Columnist, Becomes LA City Attorney's Rasta-Monkey

If there is one word to describe the latest

Los Angeles Times column


Steve Lopez

, it is "blunt."

That is what the veteran journo smoked before getting behind the wheel of a Crown Vic to help Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich study the effects of marijuana on driving.

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Here's another word, one that describes Lopez's role in this "research":


Steve Lopez, the LA city attorney's rasta-monkey

Trutanich claimed that he needed to find out how marijuana will impair drivers since California voters on Nov. 2 may vote to legalize the herb's use. So, he recruited Lopez and KABC radio host

Peter Tilden

to drive on a CHP test course for baseline scores before torching up, getting behind the wheel again and hitting the course one more time for comparision scores.

That Trutanich had the lead metro columnist from the largest daily newspaper in the state and the radio host from one of the most listened to talk stations in the country was obviously coincidental--as was the fact that each would publish/broadcast how they did a couple weeks before the election.

If you believe that, I've got a dime bag of oregano I'd like to sell you.

Lopez, perhaps best known nationally for his columns on a homeless musician that were spun into the recent movie The Soloist, filled his bowl with a weed called Train Wreck. Tilden toked Blockhead, "which I presume is a standard choice among talk show hosts," the columnist jokes in his piece, "He's a Train Wreck Behind the Wheel."

He claimed that after freeing his mind he did not feel as impaired as he would have after downing a few beers or glasses of wine, and one observing cop had to admit afterward Lopez "hadn't bombed on the slalom and parking challenges, wobbling only a few traffic cones."

However, Lopez conceded he swerved radically before getting into the correct lane for a mock traffic light, "and if I were a cop, I'd have pulled me over." Tilden, Lopez reports, "parked like a blind man."

"They both show impairment across the board," the observing cop announced after the columnist and broadcaster were put through a round of field sobriety tests.

"Trutanich seemed pleased with the findings," Lopez writes.

No doubt, though not nearly as tickled as he was with the free "No on 19" advertising.

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