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. […]
Economic development comes in many forms and sizes, and for the High Desert, a coordinated effort at a recent convention of retailers presented an opportunity to attract businesses back to the area. City managers from the Victory Valley and Barstow all networked the Las Vegas Convention Center hoping to boost their regional economy.
Although the cities had previously attended the International Council of Shopping Centers is the past, they had done so as separate entities. This time, under the banner of “Opportunity High Desert,” the City Managers were able to present the regional advantages of moving to the High Desert, including demographics, economic and environmental highlights as well. According to preliminary interviews, the strategy may pay off.
For the estimated 12-miles per day walked throughout the convention center, there are about 150 leads and follow up conversations to be had. Even converting just a few of those opportunities into realities could mean a huge boost to the regional retail portfolio.
Read the full article at the Victorville Daily Press.[...]
At a small rally in Stockton, one City official and representatives of the local business community protested Governor Brown’s plan to revamp Enterprise Zones. In the May Revise, Governor Brown called for an end to income tax credits for hiring in Enterprise Zones, instead opting to offer sales tax rebates for new equipment purchases.
One business represented said that in the last 15 years, the tax credits for new hires has enabled them to hire 150 people, and about 25 percent of their current employees were hired due to the incentives. Those incentives, according to Stockton Councilwoman Kathy Miller, are imperative to cities such as Stockton that are working to reinvent and rebuild their city.
Governor Brown lambasted the program in the past, saying that Enterprise Zones are a state subsidy for intra-state business mobility. Instead of actually growing the state’s business economy, the State simply pays for businesses to move out of one city and into another.
Read the full article at the Stockton Record.[...]
Since 1985, Clovis has relied upon a landscape maintenance district to care for green spaces in the City that calls itself the “Gateway to the Sierra.” But for the past few years, assessments from LMD1 have fallen short of covering costs, and now the City Council has asked property owners to approve a boost in the assessment.
The increases are designed to boost funding in three different assessment zones within LMD1. Zone 4 will increase from $26 to$36 per year, Zone 5 will increase from $40 to $50 per year, and Zone 7 will increase from $179 to $229 per year.
The mail-in ballots were due back to the City by May 20, when the Council held a public meeting regarding the issue and heard feedback from property owners and interested parties. The actual ballots were tabulated on Saturday, May 21 and the results will be presented to the Council on June 3.[...]
The County of Santa Clara and City of Morgan Hill announced that they have finalized a settlement agreement in the dispute pertaining to the transfer of Morgan Hill Redevelopment Agency (RDA) assets to the newly-formed Morgan Hill Economic Development Corporation (EDC) in March 2011. The settlement results in a voluntary reversal of the asset transfers (cash, properties, and lease revenues) to the EDC. The State Controller ordered the return of these assets in August 2012. The agreement, which will result in the distribution of $10,081,098 in assets to the Morgan Hill Unified School District, the County of Santa Clara, the City of Morgan Hill, and 10 other public and educational entities, marks a new spirit of cooperation between the County and the City of Morgan Hill.
“I commend Mayor Tate and the oversight committee members who worked tirelessly to comply with this difficult State mandate,” said Supervisor Mike Wasserman, District 1. “The agreement immediately provides Morgan Hill Unified School District with nearly $4.3 million, and also creates a process for working cooperatively in the future.”[...]
Earlier this month the City of Lake Elsinore welcomed its newest employees, Director of Community Development Grant Taylor and Management Analyst Nicole Dailey.
Taylor, who started with the City on May 13, will manage the overall operation of the City’s Community Development Department, including planning, building and safety, and code enforcement. He will also play a critical role on the City’s economic development team. Dailey will be responsible for community, media and intergovernmental relations and will assist the City Manager with special projects and programs. Her first day with the City was May 20.
“Both of these positions are critical for the City and will be an integral part of helping the City become the ultimate lake destination where our residents can live, work, play, build futures and fulfill dreams,” said Mayor Bob Magee. “We were very fortunate to find local, well-qualified professionals who are eager to join our team and passionate about our community.”[...]
The City of Bell is still recovering from the corruption that pushed the small city into national headlines and to the brink of insolvency. A new review of audits from 2010 compares the problems that plagued the City as the scandal broke, and steps taken since then to reform the City’s governance and finances.
State Controller John Chiang released a follow-up review of a series of 2010 audits focused on the City of Bell’s internal controls, management of state and federal funds, its dissolved redevelopment agency and use of gas tax proceeds. Today’s review identified nearly three-dozen material weaknesses in the City’s financial operations, and noted serious concern with the City’s immediate fiscal condition and cash balances.
“The City of Bell has made some progress since it ejected a corrupt city management two years ago,” said Chiang. ”But many of the same fiscal management and internal control lapses that allowed Bell to fail its citizens in the past remain unaddressed today. This review does more than point out problems. It serves as a blueprint to preventing the return of unlawful taxation, abusive spending and backroom deal-making. Some problems are urgent, others are structural, but none can be ignored.”[...]
This blog posting and video are part of a series being produced by CSAC to highlight county best practices through our annual Challenge Awards. These awards recognize the innovative and creative spirit of California county governments as they find new and effective ways of providing programs and services to their citizens. The Challenge Awards provide California’s 58 counties an opportunity to share their best practices with counties around the state and nation. The programs being highlighted are recipients of the 2012 awards. The Call for Entries for the 2013 CSAC Challenge Awards has been distributed; the entry deadline is June 28, 2013.
To review a video about San Benito County’s “Booked in a Different Way/Grow Strong San Benito” program, click here.
San Benito County Librarian Nora Conte calls them “magical moments” – those opportunities a parent has to impact their child’s life in a positive way. And she has seen a number of them through the Grow Strong Benito program.
Chief Probation Officer Brent Cardall likes to call the program, “Booked in a Different Way,” which really does sum up the intent – and success—of the program.
The program helps rehabilitate first-time drug offenders and intervenes in multi-generational cycles of crime and drug abuse by supporting the literacy and educational success of potential at-risk children. Program participants are referred to the county library by the Probation Department and taught family literacy skills through weekly on-site activities. According to Chief Probation Officer Cardall, the program is hitting at the root of the problem, focusing on offenders’ children who could be at risk. The program’s goal is to stop that before it starts and in effect, change generations for the better.[...]
As we continue emerging from the Great Recession, researchers are beginning to delve deeper into its impacts into public sector job security. Unlike previous recessions, it appears, public sector employees suffered a loss of job security, although job losses in the public sector were less severe than those of the private sector.
This new research continues a dialogue that compares the benefits of being employed in the public versus private sectors. Oftentimes, people highlight the generous benefits packages that make public sector employment comparable to private sector jobs, despite the disparity in pay. Now, The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has been able to quantify how much additional job security public sector employees enjoy.
In the latest recession, after adjusting for education and other characteristics, public sector employees were 2 percent less likely to lose their jobs during a downturn. This was a change from previous recessions where the gap between public and private job losses were even greater. One chart in the brief shows that in previous recessions in 1990 and 2001, public sector employment simply stagnated without serious decline.[...]
An untold number of non-complying medical marijuana dispensaries now face the real possibility of closure, after votes in Los Angeles approved Measure D and a cap on the number of dispensaries that can operate in the City. Other measures on the ballot that would have imposed different limits and regulations on the business failed.
Measure D establishes a rule that only dispensaries that were operating before the City approved a Moratorium on new pot dispensaries. At that time, there were about 135 operating in the city. Now, there are as many as 1,000 dispensaries in the City, but no one is sure yet how many there really are. Also yet to be decided is how and when the non-compliant dispensaries will be closed.
Already, dispensaries have shown their willingness to turn to the courts to remain open, and there is already talk of challenging Measure D with lawsuits.
Read the full article at the LA Daily News.[...]
In an effort to control wild fires and remove fuel that has contributed to 15 major fires in the East Bay, UC Berkeley, the City of Oakland, and the East Bay Municipal Utilities District have applied for FEMA funding to help remove some 85,000 non-native trees from the East Bay Hills. The 10-year project should cost around $5 million.
The price tag pales in comparison to a single major fire, and between 1923 and 1991 last year, major fires contributed to the deaths of 25 people and caused $1.5 billion in damages. However, for the environmentally sensitive communities in the East Bay, cutting down so many trees is a flash-point of its own. Public comment at a recent meeting was split, but clearly the environmental advocates opposed the plan.[...]