This is Part 1 of a series of stories about tax increases passed throughout California in the November 5 elections. Originally posted at Cal Watchdog. By Adam O’Neal. Earlier this month, local governments throughout California passed more than two dozen […]
Advocates for cash-strapped municipalities want Washington to clean up their mess. Detroit’s July bankruptcy filing, prompted in part by its huge worker-retirement debts, has led to calls for a federal bailout of the beleaguered city—and also, by extension, of retirement […]
When a city is bankrupt, judges have a big say in whose bills will be paid. For now, all eyes are on Detroit and San Bernardino, Calif. Originally posted at GOVERNING. By Frank Shafroth. Two battles over public money promises […]
Former City Councilman Marcelo Co has been at the center of a number of scandals plaguing the East Riverside County community of Moreno Valley. On Tuesday, authorities reported that Co has agreed to plead guilty to a federal bribery charge […]
Originally posted at CalPensions.
By Ed Mendel.
Following the city charter, a reluctant San Bernardino city council last week approved a police pay raise costing about $1 million, the second $1 million police salary increase since the city filed for bankruptcy last year.
The four council members who voted for the 3 percent pay hike all criticized a city charter provision linking San Bernardino to the average police pay in 10 other cities, most much wealthier with higher per-capita income.
When a pay hike was approved last March, the city attorney, James Penman, and a councilman, Robert Jenkins, argued competitive pay attracts quality officers to combat a high crime rate. Penman was recalled last month, and Jenkins was not re-elected.[...]
Originally posted at The Liberal OC.
By Chris Prevatt.
The Voice of OC’s Adam Elmahrek is probably the most despised, by Council members, reporters covering the Santa Ana political beat. He’s been uncovering and reporting on the dirty underbelly of political intrigue that lies just out of public view. In his latest report, Elmahrek has revealed that recent allegations of secret and unreported political contributions by a developer, Vineyards Development Corp., to the effort by former Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez to seek a fourth term on the Santa Ana City Council.
Originally posted at Cal Watchdog.
By John Seiler.
Last week, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled that Detroit city workers’ pensions could be part of the Chapter 9 proceedings. So the pensions could be cut substantially. That obviously affects the federal bankruptcy trial for San Bernardino and, potentially, Desert Hot Springs and other California cities.[...]
Originally posted at East Bay Citizen.
By Steven Tavares.
The annual public review of the San Leandro Police Department next week may be less about the successes and future plans for the city’s law enforcement and more about a controversial arrest last year of two gay men arrested in a public bathroom for lewd behavior during a police sting in June 2012. The city and police department were accused of discrimination and outing the pair when their mug shots were distributed to the public. Last October, the city approved a legal settlement filed by the two men, costing the city a combined $45,000.[...]
Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business recently hosted a webinar on how U.S. state and local governments have accumulated trillions of dollars of unfunded pension liabilities, and what can be done to fix it.[...]
Originally posted at CA Fwd.
By Christopher Nelson.
We spend a lot of time playing so-called “inside baseball” here when discussing Realignment. We get key stakeholders of criminal justice in the room together, we try to share our knowledge with them as well as get them to exchange knowledge with each other.
Truth be told, Realignment is a niche issue that has been thrust into the spotlight over the past two years with the passing of AB 109 and the focus shifting to the 58 counties of California and how they deal with new burdens being placed upon them.
There was no pilot program, there was no test county from which a successful roadmap could be gleaned. When the Supreme Court ruled that California’s state prison’s were overcrowded to the point that inmate health care was a form of cruel and unusual punishment (banned by the US Constitution), action had to be taken swiftly to reduce populations.[...]
Originally posted at Cal Watchdog.
By Adam O’Neal.
This is Part 2 of a series of stories about tax increases passed throughout California in the November 5 elections. To read Part 1, click here.
Last month, over two dozen tax increases passed in local municipalities throughout California. Voters approved measures to create or extend a variety of taxes, often with large majorities. The numerous tax increases will have secondary effects—both political and economic—beyond the direct effect of filling local coffers with more revenue.[...]
If a group of local butterfly enthusiasts have their way, it will soon be necessary to add the release of commercially-bred butterflies for ceremonial purposes to the list of seemingly bizarre and highly-specific municipal bans in San Francisco.[...]
Originally posted at New Geography.
By Aaron Renn.
America’s cities have been under fiscal pressure for an extended period of time. To cope with this, and better manage assets, they’ve increasingly turned to various forms of special purpose districts or entities for service delivery. Traditional independent service districts such as sewer districts or transit districts were often designed to circumvent bonding limits or to deliver services regionally, so were larger in scale. These newer service districts are much smaller in scope. They consist of two basic components:
- A private sector, usually non-profit management agency that operates a public asset or delivers services under contract to the city in a form of public-private partnership.
- Special purpose funding sources to finance this entity’s activities. These funds can include private donations, proceeds raised from Tax Increment Financing (usually for capital purposes), and taxes raised from so-called Business Improvement Districts (or BIDs, with special property taxes collected from businesses in a given area on a semi-voluntary basis, generally after a super-majority of property owners vote to agree to impose the tax).
Originally posted at Voice of San Diego.
By Lisa Halverstadt.
Reviewers found it took an average of about 280 days to hire a new employee, far surpassing best practices — guidelines for federal agencies, for example, call for hiring staffers within 80 days. They presented the report to the city’s audit committee Thursday.
The audit comes amid city discussions about the reality that roughly 3,000 city workers will be eligible to retire within the next five years, requiring a significant uptick in recruiting after hiring freezes and cutbacks that slowed such efforts.[...]