Gun violence is rampant in the news. The Columbine High School massacre in Colorado that left 12 students and one teacher dead, set the scene for school shootings in 1999, and we have seen them continue through the Newtown, Connecticut […]
The State Supreme Court has decided that Proposition 215 does not prohibit cities and counties from banning marijuana storefronts from operating within their boundaries, upholding a zoning issue from the City of Riverside that shutdown the City’s pot shops. The […]
San Bernardino Residents for Responsible Government has notified all the members of the City Council as well as the City’s Mayor and City Attorney that they intend to throw them all out of office. The announcement, via press release, press […]
California, more than any other state in the country, is not fully utilizing the Federally funded Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. Only 63 percent of the $1.5 billion allotted to California over the last 15 years has been used. […]
Originally posted at www.calpensions.com
One of the first local ballot measures aimed at cutting public pension costs, a cap on Pacific Grove payments to CalPERS approved by voters three years ago, was ruled unconstitutional by a Monterey County superior court judge last week.
Judge Thomas Wills ruled Friday that Measure R violated the contract clause of the state constitution, reaffirming the view that pensions promised on the date of hire are a “vested right” that can’t be cut without providing a new benefit of equal value.
In a tough week for the measure‘s backers, the Pacific Grove city council voted 5-to-0 Wednesday to seek a court ruling on the legality of a follow-up measure to roll back police pensions, rather than put the plan on the ballot as the council did with Measure R.[...]
Orange County is asking a court to seal its internal records of investigations regarding allegations of sexual misconduct by former official Chris Bustamante. The Voice of OC had requested the records, but the County has claimed that releasing the files would violate Bustamante’s right to a fair trial and violate the City’s attorney-client privilege.
Now, the County is asking a judge to codify their decision and endorse a new process for handling these claims that involves an unnamed law firm that would investigate on the County’s behalf. So doing would further shield records from public disclosure.[...]
By Jack Humphreville is a LA Watchdog writer for CityWatch, President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and Publisher of the Recycler
Even the most casual observer knows the City is cooking the books.
We are all familiar with the angst associated with the annual budget. But this year is a cake walk as General Fund revenues are projected to increase by $325 million, accompanied by unanticipated pension savings of over $50 million.
But the Mayor’s budget that was approved by the Budget and Finance Committee last week is hardly balanced as the City once again has failed to provide adequate funding for its two severely underfunded pension plans and our failing infrastructure. It even assumes that the civilian work force will forego a 5.5% raise in January and contribute 10% to the cost of its very generous health care benefit.
But little attention has been paid to the City’s governmental balance sheet, its $7 billion of debt, and its stated net worth of almost $5 billion.[...]
In New York, the town of Greece begins each of its meetings with a prayer. In almost all of those prayers, a circuit court of appeals found that the prayer was Christian and thereby could represent a governmental endorsement of a single religion. Now, the Supreme Court will weigh in on the issue.
For the past thirty years, it has been legal for governments to begin their meetings with a prayer, so long as it isn’t used to advance a single religious point of view. In Greece, it wasn’t until legal action was threatened in 2008 that the list of prayer leaders was expanded to include members of the Baha’I faith, Jewish faith, and a Wiccan Priestess. However, a judge still found that their inclusion amounted to a token and did not overcome the impression of sectarianism.
Read the full story at the Washington Post.[...]
Anticipating a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court next month, the Riverside County Assessor is preparing to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The County already used gender-neutral marriage licenses, so preparations largely focused on the human side of the license process.
After the state cleared the way in 2008 for same-sex marriages, the County transitioned into a marriage license application that listed “Person #1” and “Person #2.” Each person then had the ability to choose “bride” or “groom.” Now, the County is making sure that the people who work at the counter in the Assessor’s Office is willing to perform the same-sex unions. Because the ceremony is purely civil, the Assessor hopes that it doesn’t present much of a problem.
Before Proposition 8 was approved in 2008, the County issued 2,159 licenses to same-sex couples. Should the Court overturn Proposition 8, the County will be prepared to begin issuing new licenses immediately.
Read the full story at the U-T San Diego.[...]
One-year arrest rates are down and conviction rates are virtually static for offenders released after completing their state prison sentences post-Realignment, according to a report released by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
For this Realignment Report, CDCR identified all offenders who had served their full sentence and were released from prison during the first six months after the implementation of Realignment (October 2011 through March 2012). Researchers then tracked the offenders, which include those released to state parole supervision and those released to county probation supervision, for one year to see if they were re-arrested, convicted of a new crime, or returned to state prison. CDCR then compared those results with all offenders released during October 2010 to March 2011 (pre-Realignment) and tracked them for one year in the same manner.[...]
Oakland is the nation’s leading city for robberies, and not by a little. The beleaguered City bests the second-ranked Cleveland by a staggering 36 percent, is more than double nearby Richmond, and more than three times neighboring Hayward. There is one robbery for every 91 residents.
The definition of robberies does not include vacant crimes such as burglaries. Instead, the statistics compare unprovoked and confrontational theft, such as purse snatching, hold-ups, and muggings. The prevalence of weapons in these crimes is reportedly increasing, and the police department’s staffing and technological deficiencies make it difficult to catch the criminals.
These sort of crimes are, according to a professor from Duke University, one of the greatest detriments to quality of life. For instance, landlords have cited tenants moving out after being mugged, businesses have had to hire private security, and residents don’t walk anywhere after dark.
Mayor Jean Quan called the statistics unacceptable.
Read the full story at the Oakland Tribune.[...]
In January 2002, the City of Sebastopol joined with the rest of Sonoma County in pledging to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This month, the City approved a new ordinance that will help the City’s goal of a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gasses by requiring new construction and major renovations and repairs on existing structures to install a Solar Photovoltaic system.
Beginning in the next 60 days, all residential structures that are either constructed or undergo renovations on 75 percent of the existing structure must source power from renewable means, primarily solar panels. In cases where topography or shading would limit the effectiveness of a solar panel, the City will consider other means as an acceptable renewable source. Homes that already have smaller solar arrays would need to upgrade those systems to produce 1.2 megawatts of electricity.[...]
State Controller John Chiang announced completing his review of the assets transferred by the City of Riverside’s redevelopment agency (RDA) prior to its dissolution. The review found that the RDA is not only in current possession of $30.45 million in real property that it no longer is legally entitled to hold, but that it inappropriately transferred another $64.25 million in real property to the City.
“After decisions by the Governor and Legislature to disband redevelopment, my office is working to make sure all remaining RDA assets, including those in Riverside, are used properly to retire debt and pay for critical local public services, such as education and public safety,” Chiang said.
The Controller’s review is mandated by ABx1 26 and AB 1484. These recently-enacted laws require all RDAs to cease operations by February 1, 2012. Their assets and liabilities must be transferred to a “successor agency” and placed under the direction of an oversight board to dispose of the assets, pay off obligations, and redistribute excess cash to fund schools, public safety, and other local public services.
The Napa County Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program has received the 2013 Best Practices Award for Excellence in Delivery of WIC Services from the California Dept. of Public Health State WIC Program. Presented at the California WIC Association’s annual conference in San Jose on April 24, the award recognizes agencies and individuals who have “gone above and beyond that which is expected and have implemented best practices” in providing nutritional assistance to low-income women and children up to age 5.
Napa County’s Public Health WIC program received this award, said Theresa Searles, regional contract analyst for State WIC, because of the program’s robust continuous quality improvement program, including client satisfaction surveys; competent, customer-friendly staff; efficient customer flow; and active participation in community collaborations.
“Everyone in Public Health is extremely proud of the WIC staff and program for being honored with this award,” said Laura Keller, director of Public Health Nursing and Napa County’s Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health programs. “As a public health program, we must be as effective and efficient as possible with our public resources and this award helps to assure us and our clients that we are doing just that.”[...]