Local News RoundUp
The Local News RoundUp is the League's daily news clipping service of articles related to California cities and local government.
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February 25, 2015
State Democrats Roll Out Plan to Fund Construction of Affordable Housing (Southern California Public Radio)
State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins is expected to announce Wednesday a proposal that would nearly make up for the $1 billion in redevelopment funds that are no longer earmarked for affordable housing in California.
San Mateo County to Study ‘Rent Control:’ Supervisors from Blue Ribbon Task Force on Housing (San Mateo Daily Journal)
The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors moved toward studying rent stabilization Tuesday and formed a Blue Ribbon Task Force on Housing despite being urged to abandon the idea by property rights advocates
A New Chapter for Stockton: Post-Bankruptcy (Stockton Record)
Nearly 1,000 days after formally declaring itself fiscally insolvent, Stockton is expected to exit Chapter 9 bankruptcy today when a $2 billion financial restructuring that was years in the making finally takes effect.
Municipal Utility’s Recurring Budget Transfer to General Fund Requires Voter Approval (Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP)
On February 19, the Third District Court of Appeal issued an order denying requests by both parties for a rehearing of its recent decision, Citizens for Fair REU Rates v. City of Redding
. This decision held that a municipal utility’s recurring budget transfer of a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) to the City’s general fund constitutes a tax under Proposition 26 unless the City can show on remand that the amount collected is necessary to cover the reasonable costs of providing electric service. The order denying requests for rehearing also included limited modifications that do not impact the court’s original judgment.
JOB & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Small Businesses Fret Over East Bay City’s Plan for $14 Minimum Wage (San Francisco Business Times)
Emeryville is seeking to increase its minimum wage to $14.42 per hour by June 1. If approved, it would be one of the highest rates in the nation, surpassing neighboring Berkeley and Oakland. Local retailers and restaurant owners are concerned that the measure could be a death blow.
Sacramento City Council OKs Speeding Up Installation of Water Meters (Sacramento Bee)
By a unanimous vote, the council approved a plan by the Department of Utilities to shave four years off a previously adopted plan to place meters throughout the city. Officials said they would now complete the project by the end of 2020.
Referendum on California Plastic Bag Ban Qualifies for 2016 Ballot (Monterey County Weekly)
Today the American Progressive Bag Alliance announced its initiative to repeal SB 270, the 2014 bill banning single-use plastic retail bags and instituting a $0.10 charge for paper bags statewide, has qualified for the November 2016 ballot.
That means instead of kicking in this July, the statewide bag ban will be on hold until the election.
LANDMARKS & HISTORICAL BUILDINGS
LA Rolls Out Online Database of Historic Sites (Associated Press)
Officials gathered Tuesday on the 26th floor of City Hall, itself a historic landmark, to roll out a new website called HistoricPlacesLA.com.
It is the 15-year project of The Getty Conservation Institute and city planning officials.
CITY PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT
Inglewood Approves NFL Stadium, Bypassing Public Vote (Long Beach Press-Telegram)
With eloquent words of support from local residents and a passionate showing by Los Angeles Rams fans who have waited 20 years to get their team back, the Inglewood City Council on Tuesday took a major step toward bringing pro football back to Los Angeles.
Council members adopted a plan dubbed City of Champions Revitalization Project to build a football stadium on the site of the old Hollywood Park race track.
DC Moving Forward with Initiative for Legal Marijuana Use (Associated Press)
It will soon be legal to grow small amounts of marijuana at home and smoke it on private property in the nation's capital. But it can't be sold, and the District of Columbia will not tax it.
Santa Monica Homeless Count Shows Modest Decline (Santa Monica Lookout)
Despite years of investments in tackling the problem, homelessness in Santa Monica decreased by less than 1 percent this year from 2014, according to results of Santa Monica’s 2015 Homeless Count released this week.
Santa Clara County: Supervisors Create Task Force to Find Better, Quicker Solutions to Local Homeless Problem (San Jose Mercury)
With a growing sense that more needs to be done soon, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed Tuesday to form a Housing Task Force to come up with creative solutions to help more homeless off local streets, and do it quicker..
New Bill Would Again Make Possession of Date Rape Drug A Felony (Capitol Public Radio)
California voters reduced drug possession charges from felonies to misdemeanors last fall when they approved Proposition 47. Now, there’s a push to make possessing a date rape drug a felony again.
Oakley City Council Considering Changing Police Services (Daily Democrat)
Councilman Randy Pope, who is a sergeant with the Oakland police department, said the city should seek alternative retirement plans for its potential police officers because CalPERS hinders the city's control.
REVENUE & TAXATION / MUNICIPAL FINANCE
Proposed Tax on California Motorists Aims to Charge 5 Cents Per Mile Driven (Examiner)
The upkeep and maintenance of old roads along with the continued expansion of existing roads is important to the vitality of our nation and individual state economies. Without adequate roads, goods and services fail to be exchanged in an efficient manner and everyone suffers down the chain. States such as Oregon and Nevada have already experimented with new ways to raise funds from raising the sales tax to the selling of bonds. They've also started pilot programs on a VMT (Vehicle Mileage Tax) to see how effective it can be and how people react. Now California joins those two states, launching their own pilot program in an undisclosed county sometime this week. A study done by SCAG (The Southern California Association of Governments) found through preliminary studies done by the aforementioned states that a five cent tax per mile could possibly raise billions for road repairs and new road construction.
Citing Lack of Interest, Santa Cruz Shelves High-End Hotel Tax Incentive (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
A contentious economic tax rebate program created last year to entice hotel developers to create mid- and upper-range hotel rooms in Santa Cruz was scrapped Tuesday.
Economic Development Director Bonnie Lipscomb, the incentive’s author, told the Santa Cruz City Council that she was recommending discontinuing the tax break after none of the three targeted hotels took advantage of it in seven months.
In a report to the council, Lipscomb cited hotel developers’ concerns with the “prospect of rendering the entire hotel construction project a prevailing wage project.” Lipscomb told the council that the incentive program was never fully developed after initial negative feedback from likely program participants, who said increased construction costs would outweigh the tax benefit.
MASSAGE THERAPY REGULATION
Oakley Imposes Temporary Massage Parlor Ban (Inside Bay Area)
The City Council unanimously voted to adopt an urgency ordinance that prevents new massage businesses from opening in the city until further notice.
The decision Tuesday follows a new state law that gives cities the power to establish zoning regulations for massage businesses that differ from other professional and personal services, according to a staff report.
Bakersfield Developers Settle High-Speed Rail Lawsuit (Modesto Bee)
A Bakersfield land-development company has agreed to drop its environmental lawsuit against the California High-Speed Rail Authority – the second out-of-court settlement among seven challenges over the Fresno-Bakersfield segment of the statewide bullet-train route.
IN OTHER CITY NEWS
Oil-Gas Panel Suggests Consulting Role for Local Government (San Diego Union-Tribune)
Colorado task force is recommending that local governments be given a consulting role on some decisions about the location of large oil and gas facilities, but the panel decided against suggesting that cities and counties be allowed to enforce their own rules.
The Emerging New Aspirational Suburb (New Geography)
Urban form in American cities is in a constant state of evolution. Until recent years, American suburbia was often built without an appreciation for future evolution. This has left many older suburbs in a deteriorated state, and has accelerated claims of a more generalized suburban decline.
The Indianapolis suburb of Carmel represents a response to this historic pattern. While responding to today’s market demands with a new aspiration level designed to make it nationally competitive, it’s also trying to position itself for success tomorrow and over the longer term.