The past half-dozen years have not been kind to local government agencies in California. Amid declining revenues, it should come as no surprise that many leaders throughout California have pursued—or at the very least considered—the idea of consolidating core services. […]
By Steven M. Anderson and Lucas I. Quass, Best Best & Krieger LLP Like private development, public projects must frequently obtain and comply with a variety of state and federal regulatory permits. Too often developers, under pressure to complete projects as […]
Originally posted at CalPensions. By Ed Mendel. A federal appeals court last week gave Sonoma County retirees another chance to show that an implied contract gave them vested rights to retiree health care, preventing the benefit from being cut to […]
Originally posted at East Bay Citizen. By Steven Tavares. During one of the most heartbreaking, riveting and longest Alameda County Board of Supervisors meetings in recent memory, a long-discussed proposal to approve the early stages of a court-ordered treatment program […]
Originally posted at the Project for Public Spaces.
By James Rojas.
As I played in my backyard in East Los Angeles on Saturday August 29, 1970, just a few blocks away the streets were aflame. The Chicano Moratorium, a protest against the recruitment of young Hispanics drafted into the Vietnam War and a demand for civil rights, ended with the destruction of Whittier Boulevard, the East Los Angeles “main street”. My community was permanently changed.
The visual and physical repercussions of that day reshaped the environment around me prompting me to launch my urban planning career and become a Latino placemaker.
By Otis White.
I’ve met a lot of mayors over the years. Some were smart, a few were philosophical, many were shrewd, but only a handful were strategic. One of the few, Frank Martin, died in 2012.
Martin was the mayor of Columbus, Georgia who, in a single term in office in the early 1990s, changed his city. Yes, you read that right: He served a single four-year term. (It was his decision. He finished his term to acclaim but chose not to run again.) And in that single term he set in motion changes that are still being felt, 20 years later.[...]
Originally posted at CalPensions.
By Ed Mendel.
A superior court judge last week said he plans to uphold a key part of a new state law that curbs ‘spiking’ in county retirement systems, notorious for giving retirees pensions that are much higher than the salaries they earned on the job.
The pensions ballooned mainly because some county systems allowed unused vacation and sick leave from previous years to be cashed out and counted as the final pay on which pensions are based.[...]
By Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese.
Seconds count. That’s the undisputed truth when residents are confronted with an emergency and call 911. They need a firefighter, paramedic, police officer or sheriff as fast as possible. Period.
It’s local government’s job to ensure that first responders have every tool necessary to get to emergencies quickly.[...]
Originally posted at Beyond Chron.
By Randy Shaw.
Oakland is booming. Filled with new bars, restaurants and housing, the city is the go-to place for hipsters and young people unable to afford high San Francisco rents. Now that Mayor Jean Quan has appointed the popular Fred Blackwell to essentially run the city, a mayor left for politically dead actually has a chance at re-election.
After Jean Quan appointed Fred Blackwell to the position of City Administrator last week, I thought: given that Blackwell is among the Bay Area’s most effective public officials, doesn’t this mean that more voters will back Quan’s re-election.
Stranger things have happened. And win or lose, Quan is in a much better position than most thought possible only months ago.[...]
Originally posted at New Geography.
By Joel Kotkin.
As all the Californians who celebrated the deluge of rain that fell the week before last know, it did not do much to ameliorate the state’s deep drought. We are likely to enter our traditionally dry spring, summer and fall in a crisis likely to exacerbate the ever greater estrangement between the state’s squabbling regions and classes.[...]
Originally posted at Voice of San Diego.
By Liam Dillon.
Things started to fall apart Oct. 6, 2010.
San Diego police officer Robert Acosta stepped into a Riverside County courtroom that day to face felony charges along with his wife, for trashing their foreclosed home.
The charges against Acosta began a seven-month stretch that saw 11 SDPD officers arrested or otherwise accused of serious misconduct. Ultimately, ongoing misconduct issues have led to the sudden retirement of the city’s longtime police chief, millions of dollars in legal settlements and continued calls for outside oversight of the department.[...]
Originally posted at California Health Report.
By Leilani Clark.
Late last year, a self-employed Santa Rosa mother found herself navigating the Covered California website in search of affordable health coverage.
After filling in the required information — a frustratingly slow process — she discovered that she and her partner qualified for Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program for low-income residents. The Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, allows states to expand Medicaid.
The news turned out to be a blessing and a curse.[...]
Originally posted at Fox & Hounds Daily.
By Jeff D. Baize.
The “Tax Reform Act of 2014” recently proposed by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Camp (R-Midland, MI) would have a devastating impact to California municipalities and state government, as well as nonprofit private hospitals and centers for higher education.
In essence, Camp’s bill would eliminate or seriously reduce the tax-exempt status of an array of municipal bonds that California and other states rely upon to build prisons, housing, energy facilities, airports, colleges, hospitals, schools and thousands of other public and private projects – all in an attempt to provide billions in funding for our already mismanaged federal programs. It would also substantially increase infrastructure costs for nonprofit entities.[...]
Originally posted at Beyond Chron.
By Randy Shaw.
Unlike progressives in Washington DC, San Francisco has no Republicans blocking progressive spending priorities. But despite the city’s booming economy, tough choices remain about how the budget pie is divided.[...]