By Steven M. Anderson and Lucas I. Quass, Best Best & Krieger LLP Like private development, public projects must frequently obtain and comply with a variety of state and federal regulatory permits. Too often developers, under pressure to complete projects as […]
Originally posted at CalPensions. By Ed Mendel. A federal appeals court last week gave Sonoma County retirees another chance to show that an implied contract gave them vested rights to retiree health care, preventing the benefit from being cut to […]
Originally posted at East Bay Citizen. By Steven Tavares. During one of the most heartbreaking, riveting and longest Alameda County Board of Supervisors meetings in recent memory, a long-discussed proposal to approve the early stages of a court-ordered treatment program […]
By Mike McCormick. While cities across California continue to struggle financially, many are realizing that there is one expense that is entirely under their control – their electricity bill. Advancements in technology have made solar arrays and LED lights more […]
The past half-dozen years have not been kind to local government agencies in California. Amid declining revenues, it should come as no surprise that many leaders throughout California have pursued—or at the very least considered—the idea of consolidating core services.
Fire department mergers are particularly attractive to the fiscally prudent. There is significant potential for cost savings through reductions in service redundancies by organizing to provide standardized regional responses.
Given the interest surrounding these consolidation arrangements, I sat down with the state’s foremost fire merger expert, Chief Stewart Gary. Chief Gary is the Fire Services Principal for Citygate Associates, a professional consultancy based in Folsom that provides a wide range of services to local governments.[...]
For nearly three months, members of the Merced chapter of the Brown Berets have been recording the actions of police as they pull over citizens or respond to emergency calls.[...]
By Steven Maviglio.
The nation’s largest association representing public pension systems is weighing in on the battle over pensions in California, today filing an amicus brief in the Sacramento County Superior Court in support of state Attorney General Kamala Harris and her title and summary for San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s ballot initiative designed to eliminate constitutional protections for California’s public employee retirement benefits.[...]
Originally posted at Halfway to Concord.
By Richard Eber.
It has become plain that California mafia tactics are being used to impose costly mandates on taxpayers and local communities. Paying for protection, and its first cousin racketeering, are terms which describe the manor for which a criminal element extorts money from a business in order to receive monetary considerations in return. One would think this type of activity would be used only by organized crime, but this apparently is not entirely the case.
The State of California has passed laws in the legislature to take away sovereignty from local communities which fits the textbook description of racketeering.[...]
Originally posted at the Project for Public Spaces.
By James Rojas.
As I played in my backyard in East Los Angeles on Saturday August 29, 1970, just a few blocks away the streets were aflame. The Chicano Moratorium, a protest against the recruitment of young Hispanics drafted into the Vietnam War and a demand for civil rights, ended with the destruction of Whittier Boulevard, the East Los Angeles “main street”. My community was permanently changed.
The visual and physical repercussions of that day reshaped the environment around me prompting me to launch my urban planning career and become a Latino placemaker.
By Otis White.
I’ve met a lot of mayors over the years. Some were smart, a few were philosophical, many were shrewd, but only a handful were strategic. One of the few, Frank Martin, died in 2012.
Martin was the mayor of Columbus, Georgia who, in a single term in office in the early 1990s, changed his city. Yes, you read that right: He served a single four-year term. (It was his decision. He finished his term to acclaim but chose not to run again.) And in that single term he set in motion changes that are still being felt, 20 years later.[...]
Originally posted at CalPensions.
By Ed Mendel.
A superior court judge last week said he plans to uphold a key part of a new state law that curbs ‘spiking’ in county retirement systems, notorious for giving retirees pensions that are much higher than the salaries they earned on the job.
The pensions ballooned mainly because some county systems allowed unused vacation and sick leave from previous years to be cashed out and counted as the final pay on which pensions are based.[...]
By Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese.
Seconds count. That’s the undisputed truth when residents are confronted with an emergency and call 911. They need a firefighter, paramedic, police officer or sheriff as fast as possible. Period.
It’s local government’s job to ensure that first responders have every tool necessary to get to emergencies quickly.[...]
Originally posted at Beyond Chron.
By Randy Shaw.
Oakland is booming. Filled with new bars, restaurants and housing, the city is the go-to place for hipsters and young people unable to afford high San Francisco rents. Now that Mayor Jean Quan has appointed the popular Fred Blackwell to essentially run the city, a mayor left for politically dead actually has a chance at re-election.
After Jean Quan appointed Fred Blackwell to the position of City Administrator last week, I thought: given that Blackwell is among the Bay Area’s most effective public officials, doesn’t this mean that more voters will back Quan’s re-election.
Stranger things have happened. And win or lose, Quan is in a much better position than most thought possible only months ago.[...]
Originally posted at New Geography.
By Joel Kotkin.
As all the Californians who celebrated the deluge of rain that fell the week before last know, it did not do much to ameliorate the state’s deep drought. We are likely to enter our traditionally dry spring, summer and fall in a crisis likely to exacerbate the ever greater estrangement between the state’s squabbling regions and classes.[...]