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. […]
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.”[...]
By Christopher Nelson of California Forward
As May Budget Revisions go, this one was different.
In past years, the annual May Budget Revision has reflected the need for spending adjustments, usually reductions. The final budget normally reflects which programs will survive. Important decisions, to be sure, but the same type of rhetoric each year.
This year, Governor Brown made it much more than just a budget revision. He made it about the way California makes decisions. The concept of true governance reform permeated today’s Budget Revision, and Governor Brown was pushing it. The theme you heard is that Sacramento may not know best. More on that in a moment.
As California Forward’s Jim Mayer opined last week, “Lawmakers should treat the $4.6 billion as “one time” money, as opposed to a permanent growth in revenue. Why? Because that’s probably what it is.”[...]
Special funds have again called into question the fiscal health of a California government. Last year, revelations about a State Parks secret fund created a state-level scandal. Now, in Los Angeles, the discovery of $43 million in extra money at the Department of Transportation has highlighted the challenges of complex budgeting.
Los Angeles currently has between 600 and 700 special funds providing money to projects and departments. Many of the funds are monitored only through an honor system, but keeping an accurate measure on how much is spent and how much is saved can be daunting. After some abnormalities were discovered in the DOT accounts, auditors sifted through 11,000 documents as part of their forensic accounting effort.
City Controllers have long complained about the number of special funds and their lack of thorough review. As early as 2008, there was a call for quarterly reviews of all funds. Current Controller Wendy Greuel has also expressed concern about the funds and has undertaken audits of more than 600 funds.
Read the full article at KPCC.com.[...]
One of the challenges that has been facing county jails is long-term inmates. Generally speaking, jails are designed for shorter-term sentences of a year, but under realignment more than 1,100 inmates are now serving long sentences in county facilities. The Governor’s May Revise has proposed a reform to realignment that would swap inmates.
The plan would call for the state to send counties inmates at the end of their sentences and preparing for release. Counties would then send the state inmates who had served at least 3 years of their long-term sentences. The swap wouldn’t impact the overall populations in either county or state facilities, and therefore wouldn’t run afoul the federal court’s mandate on populations. It would, however, allow facilities to serve populations that they were originally designed to accommodate.
Describing the swap as a “fix,” Governor Brown said that realignment is not a perfect surgery but can be improved. He brushed aside calls for its partial or total repeal.
Read the full article at the Press Enterprise.[...]
The Anaheim City Council has approved a tax subsidy for two, four-star hotels in the Resort District over the strong protests of residents who attended the meeting. The vote was the second time the council has approved the subsidy, but the last act was nullified by a judge’s ruling, saying the vote violated the Brown Act.
The 4-1 vote, with Mayor Tom Tait voting against the deal, allows the hotels’ developer to retain 70 percent of the room taxes from the hotels over the next 20 years – or $158 million. 20 percent of the tax will go to pay off the Resort District’s bonds, and the City’s general fund will receive the remaining 10 percent. The City estimates that the general fund will receive around $235 million between 2016 and 2042.
Mayor Tait disagreed with the City staff and the majority of the council, and cited his own estimations about fund earnings for the city. Comparing the years of the subsidy, Tait claimed that a three-star hotel built without the subsidy would earn the city $50 million, while the subsidized four-star hotel would only net $20 million.
Read the full article at the Voice of OC.[...]
For more than 25 years, Western Municipal Water District’s General Manager John Rossi has devoted his career to public service. His dedication to leading Western in securing regional water supplies and his many achievements in water industry were honored with a 2013 Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) Excellence in Water Leadership Award.
“When I decided to go into public service in the water field, my goal was to develop additional sources of water while providing great service to customers and reducing costs. I’ve worked with some of the best and brightest professionals in the industry, who’ve helped make projects a reality,” said Rossi. “It’s an honor to receive an award for something that I’ve always had a passion for.”
Tim Quinn, ACWA executive director, said, “Rossi was selected for his long history of leadership, problem-solving and numerous other contributions to California water.”[...]