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. […]
WCROG HERO Program Available Statewide
Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing (PACE) programs, for residential and commercial properties, were in development throughout the United States when the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) sought to impose limits on such residential PACE assessments. The FHFA directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac not to acquire mortgages on properties with PACE liens and to suggest additional measures negative to residential PACE programs.
Western Riverside Council of Government’s (WRCOG) HERO Program, however, continues to thrive, for residential property financing, thanks to the determination of WRCOG to provide this valuable program to its constituents. A commercial program was recently launched, and WRCOG is also expanding both its residential and commercial program statewide, offering many benefits to other jurisdictions thinking of offering a PACE program.
WRCOG’s HERO Program allows home and business owners to finance energy efficiency and water conservation improvements through low, fixed rate financing that is repaid over time through annual assessments collected on the homeowner’s property tax bill. California law allows for local jurisdictions to enter into contractual assessments with property owners for such improvements.[...]
The much derided Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles may soon have another purpose: treating the mentally ill and substance-addicted inmates of the County’s detention system. The plan calls for a thorough investigation of the proposal.
Inmate advocates applaud the idea that offers new attention to the problems facing the system’s inmates, many of whom come from backgrounds of drugs and mental illness. According to their advocates, those needs have been largely underserved. In addition to the jail treatments, advocates hope that the Supervisors will look into community-based programs as well.
The idea to turn the Men’s Central Jail into a treatment center is the newest proposal for the facility. Sheriff Lee Baca has recently proposed tearing down the facility and replacing it with a new, state of the art detainment center. The new jail would have classrooms and medical facilities to help break the cycle of drug abuse and recidivism.
Read the full story at the Southern California Public Radio.[...]
After nearly two years of campaigning, the next Mayor of Los Angeles will be Eric Garcetti. Current City Controller Wendy Greuel called Garcetti to concede early Wednesday morning.
The two former council allies spent a combined $33 million tearing each other down through attack ads, mailers, and billboards. In the end, the election was decided by about 8 points.
Garcetti now inherits a City that has started recovering from a long and painful recession. However, the return of funds means that Garcetti will have the challenge of prioritizing budgeting, deferred projects, and other strains that will emerge on the weakened City finances. One of the potential pitfalls he will have to negotiate are sidewalk repairs that could run into the billions of dollars.[...]
The U.S. Supreme Court, on a 6-3 split decision, has upheld the power of the FCC to mandate that local governments decide whether or not to allow new cell towers to be erected within five months. The decision is a blow to local governments how had contended such a timeline infringes upon local zoning authority.
The decision split the Court’s conservative justices, with Justice Antonin Scalia writing the opinion for the majority, and Chief Justice John Roberts writing the dissent. In the majority opinion, Scalia made a case for limited judicial oversight of regulatory matters, saying that the Courts shouldn’t “waste their time in the mental acrobatics.” Instead deference should be given to the agencies that oversee reasonable regulations.
Los Angeles and San Diego had joined the case with two cities from Texas, claiming that regulations such as these had been left to individual cities.
Chief Justice Roberts disagreed with Scalia and wrote that regulatory agencies such as the FCC can act as legislature, executive, and judicial branches all in one, becoming a fourth branch of the government. Further complicating the broad powers they exert is the non-elected nature of the agencies’ leadership.
Read the full story at the Los Angeles Times.[...]
By David Liebler on May 21st, 2013
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 Sonoma County’s Comprehensive Energy Project, click here.
When Sam Ruark starts talking about saving energy, his eyes light up. Sam serves as the energy and sustainability coordinator for Sonoma County, which has been recognized nationally for its Comprehensive Energy Project. And Sam has every reason to get excited over what Sonoma County has been accomplishing.
When the County adopted its Climate Protection Action Plan in 2006, staff was directed to develop a Comprehensive Energy Project to meet three objectives: 1) reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 2) save the county money, and 3) replace worn out and energy inefficient equipment. An exhaustive inventory of county facility energy usage resulted in 101 energy efficiency measures being recommended. Out of those, county staff selected 38 at 24 county buildings that presented the greatest energy savings and financial return.[...]
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.[...]