We do our best to cover the breaking and relevant news in California. Despite long hours and hard work, we sometimes miss a few. In the opinion of this editor, we missed more than usual last week. Allow us a moment to recap some of the stories that we should have included in our publications.
LA Councilman Richard Alacron and Wife Ordered to Stand Trial
The perjury and voter fraud case involving LA Councilman Richard Alacron and his wife will move forward, but not until after the election. The case alleges that Alacron and his wife lied about their address to enable Alacron to continue service the 7th District on the Council, despite living outside of the district.
According to prosecutors, the couple lied on DMV and voter documents in 2006 and 2008. However, they say that while they “temporarily” relocated to a home in Sun Valley, their permanent residence was inside the district but rendered uninhabitable due to renovations.
Alacron is running for the State Assembly after being termed out of the City Council.
Read the full story at the Los Angeles Times.
New Rules Limit Crowd at Oakland Meeting
On May 6, an Oakland police officer shot and killed 18 year-old Alan Blueford. His relatives and their supporters later rallied outside of city hall and inside the council chamber, disrupting the meeting.
As a result, the Council approved new rules that limit crowds at their meetings, specifically closing an upper gallery seating area that could accommodate 98 people. That limited total seating available in the chamber to just 116. They also decided to prohibit standing inside the chamber, ensuring that only 116 people would be allowed inside. Enforcing the rules were paper signs advising “No Standing” and police officers stationed at the doors.
Those who couldn’t fit into the chamber were directed to an overflow room located two floors below, where the meeting is streamed via closed circuit TV.
Read the full story at the San Francisco Chronicle.
$30 Million Gamble
The idea is to create a marine highway between San Francisco Bay and the ports of Stockton and West Sacramento. Behind it is $30 million in public investment in new infrastructure and a push to convince the business community to give the idea a try.
In a perfect world, importers and exporters would bypass trucking materials to the ports in the Bay, instead loading goods onto barges that would then travel through canals to the Bay, thereby reducing pollution and traffic, and perhaps even saving businesses money. It isn’t the first time this idea has been proposed, but this is the most recent iteration of the concept.
The Marine Highway would allow barges to carry containers full of goods directly to larger ships in the Bay, thereby saving the time and cost of having to break apart bulk shipments multiple times.
Read the full story at the Comstock Magazine.
Sacramento Pushes Sales Tax Hike to Bolster Core Services
For five years, Sacramento has cut budgets and staffing – at times targeting its public safety sector for cuts. But now the city is looking to restore services with a 6 year sales tax hike.
The plan, designed to boost general fund revenues by $28 million per year, would bring the city’s sales tax rate to the highest in the region – tied only with the nearby city of Galt. Without the money, various programs and departments will face another year of cuts.
Because the money goes towards the general fund, the plan only requires a simple majority. Detailing how the money would be spent would raise the threshold to 2/3rds. However, proponents say hints towards the money’s future is highlighted in the arguments made for Measure U – which specifically mentions public safety. However, other programs could benefit, including public pools.
But opponents say that the tax measure simply provides more revenue to a city that mismanages the money they already have and could drive shoppers away from the high-tax environment. Should the measure pass, the city’s sales tax rate will jump to 8.25 percent.
Read the full story at the Sacramento Bee.
Homeless Receive Checks in Sacramento Settlement Over Police Cleanup
Local charity Loaves and Fishes in Sacramento typically distributes food to the city’s needy. But 1,143 people will receive checks too as a result of police raids on homeless camps in 2005.
The City of Sacramento lost a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of those who lost personal property without the benefit of due process. Those who suffered the raids will receive checks ranging from $400 to $750. One person who experienced two separate raids will received $1,400. The attorneys who represented the homeless are requesting that the city pay them $1.8 million in legal fees.
Read the full story at the Sacramento Bee.