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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March 27, 2015
California Assembly sends drought relief package to Jerry Brown (The Sacramento Bee)
Elected officials are under pressure to act as California’s drought stretches into a fourth year. The drought package largely allocates existing bond funds, including $660 million for flood control and $267 million for water reuse projects, while also claiming $74.7 million from the general fund for areas like aiding fish and wildlife and giving food relief to workers displaced by the drought.
Forum near Tulloch will explore river flows (The Modesto Bee)
Jack Cox of the Lake Tulloch Alliance, which is sponsoring the forum, said in a news release that a longer-term threat remains.
“This environmental policy threatens agriculture in the Valley and communities throughout the Sierra foothills and will also impact higher mountain communities by decreasing tourism,” he said.
“These releases will effectively waste enough water to supply the cities of Modesto and Stockton combined for one year while removing a valuable storage of water that may be needed in the future if the drought continues in 2015-2016. This is bad public policy.”
Green light for $26 million Rialto flood control project (The San Bernadino County Sun)
A recent legal agreement reached between San Bernardino County and the city of Rialto ends a protracted legal battle in deciding who will pay for millions of dollars in flood control improvements along the 210 Freeway to prevent flooding and damage to the surrounding area.
Grant helps ensure Guadalupe’s water access (Santa Maria Sun)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently granted the city of Guadalupe the money it needs to get a secondary pump going, with a $347,000 allocation through the USDA’s Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant Program. Sarah Marquat of USDA Rural Development said communities/cities can qualify for the grants because of a decline in surface water supplies or a decline in water quality.
Some California cities see end in sight for veteran homelessness (California Healthline via PublicCEO)
Cities across California have committed themselves to what sounds like an impossible goal: ending homelessness among military veterans by the end of this year.
More than 25 cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Cruz, have joined a federal campaign known as the “Mayor’s Challenge” to house every homeless vet.
Bankrupt San Bernardino reveals details of deal with Calpers (Reuters)
Under the deal with Calpers, the city agreed to pay it in full under its bankruptcy plan, which it must issue by May 31, and to "ratify" its relationship with Calpers. To repay the arrears, the city paid $1.5 million to Calpers in May 2014, and agreed to pay roughly $600,000 a month for two years between July 2014 and June 2016. The city also agreed to pay five annual payments of $400,000 to settle fines, penalties and interest.
Bay Area leads state in population growth (Bay Area News Group)
The biggest growth was in the East Bay, led by Alameda County, the fastest-growing county in the state. From April 2010 through last June, it has added more than 100,000 residents, according to census estimates.
Contra Costa ranked fifth in growth statewide, with more than 60,000 new residents, and third in the Bay Area. More people, of course, means more jobs, more culture and more vibrancy. But it also means more traffic jams and more people priced out of the region altogether.
ELECTIONS & REDISTRICTING
Santa Barbara Considers Maps For District Elections (KEYT-TV)
Santa Barbara is one step closer to having by-district elections rather than at-large elections in November. A California Voting Rights Act lawsuit was settled with an agreement to move forward with districts.
ENERGY & SUSTAINABILITY
Study: San Diego second in nation in solar energy (Times of San Diego)
San Diego ranks second nationally and fourth per capita in solar installations, according to a study released Thursday by the nonprofit Environment California.
At the end of 2014, 149 megawatts of solar capacity was in operation in San Diego, behind only the 170 megawatts in Los Angeles. The category includes all kinds of solar installations, whether rooftop or utility scale, the environmental organization said.
Environment California said 110 watts of solar was produced per person in San Diego, which ranked behind Honolulu, Indianapolis and San Jose.
Grant awarded for Tahoe-Truckee electric vehicle readiness plan (Tahoe Daily Tribune)
“Not only do we need to make electric vehicle travel within the Tahoe-Truckee Region convenient for residents, visitors, and businesses, we also need to ensure that visitors and second homeowners, who increasingly own PEVs in the Bay Area and Sacramento regions, can get to Tahoe-Truckee in their cars,” said Karin Edwards, Sustainable Communities Program Manager for TRPA.
Editorial: Breaking the deadlock on housing (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
A new report from the state’s nonpartisan legislative analyst summarizes the economics and politics of housing in the nation’s most populous state, finding many of the same ambiguities expressed by policymakers in Sonoma County.
Still, policymakers can seek out opportunities to reduce building costs, use land more efficiently and expand affordable housing programs. There will be political obstacles, including ongoing public concerns about the impact of growth on the environment and public infrastructure.
Fresno takes first step toward medical pot regulation (The Fresno Bee)
The City Council on Thursday took the first of two steps to allow medical marijuana users to grow up to four marijuana plants. The council on a 5-2 vote approved the introduction of such a bill. The council will vote at a later date on adopting the bill that amends city code.
Vallejo City Council votes to bring back MMD ordinance in May (Vallejo Times-Herald)
The Vallejo City Council unanimously voted Tuesday night to have a proposed medical marijuana dispensary ordinance return in early May after city staff make revisions.
Tension was thick as more than 100 medical marijuana dispensary supporters packed the Vallejo City Council chambers and lobby outside the meeting hall in opposition to the proposed ordinance.
Phillips 66 oil train opponents say San Jose route risks lives (San Jose Inside)
“Downtown San Jose is in the midst of a real resurgence,” says Jack, “and I got very concerned that this would curtail that by having long trains coming through town, having the danger of explosions, having carcinogenic fumes, blocking train crossings, things like that. It didn’t feel like it was the best thing for our city.”
Opinion: California faces challenge of crumbling roads (U-T San Diego)
Although the approaches to fixing California’s road and highway systems are still in their early stages, lawmakers shouldn’t delay on addressing this problem. As state Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, noted, “improving the state’s transportation infrastructure is one of the biggest challenges facing California this century.”
120 groups call for more funding for active transportation program (Streets Blog LA)
A broad coalition of organizations called today for California to increase funding for walk and bike projects. More than 120 organizations signed a petition urging the state to increase its investment in the Active Transportation Program (ATP), citing cost savings and health benefits from better bike and pedestrian infrastructure and the low level of funding currently available.
City geared up for Measure P projects (KSBW)
Monterey’s pavement gets a 50 out of 100 on the pavement condition index, and some of the storm drains are rated at f for fail.
City of Monterey principal engineer Steve Wittry said the work will include repaving, storm drain work, ADA improvements, and sidewalk repair. Wittry said it will take place pretty much all over the city.
Garden Grove to set ban on pet sales through breeders (Orange County Register)
Pet stores in this city soon will no longer be allowed to sell dogs or cats from commercial breeders, only from shelter programs or rescue groups.
The city is set to become the fifth Orange County community and the 18th in the state to institute such a ban. Sellers will have one year to comply, according to the ordinance.
CITY PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT
San Diego officials willing to put stadium deal before voters (Los Angeles Times)
In a news conference to announce a partnership between the city and county governments, Faulconer restated his position that San Diegans will be given a chance to vote on any stadium project -- even if that vote is not required by law.
In Inglewood and Carson, city officials have encouraged citizen initiatives that would bring a stadium issue to the respective city councils. The council could then approve the project without submitting it to voters. That strategy could also bypass much of the lengthy environmental review process required by state law.
1 building symbolizes Oakland’s transformation (San Francisco Chronicle)
The Sears building — a vacant, beige hulk of a structure at 20th Street and Broadway in Oakland — has long symbolized the city’s drab downtown corridor.
Now it’s the barometer for an economic boom.
Chinatown hotel next up in S.F. gentrification wars (San Francisco Chronicle)
A real estate investment group has served eviction notices to two dozen families at 2 Emery Lane, a 32-unit residential hotel where tenants — a mix of seniors and young families — live in 100-square-foot rooms and share kitchens and bathrooms.
Longtime Chinatown housing organizers say the situation is noteworthy because until now SRO hotels have been immune to the displacement sweeping nearly every other part of the city.
Citrus Heights council approves relocating city hall to make way for medical office building (The Sacramento Bee)
Council members said the deal, which would provide a source of revenue for a new city hall while bringing a non-retail business to the community, was too good to pass up. Citrus Heights has limited opportunity for growth, so “we have to think outside the box about how to get businesses to want to come to the city,” said Mayor Sue Frost.
California eases Jessica's Law restrictions for some sex offenders (Los Angeles Times)
"Jessica's Law was trying to protect the children," said Luis Patino, a spokesman for the corrections department. "Parole agents will now be empowered to look at the person's history and determine whether or not there is a possibility that they would at some point commit a sex crime against a child."
Marin supervisors approve dispatch deal with Central Marin police (Marin Independent Journal)
The sheriff’s communications center in the county’s public safety building, which handles 185,000 emergency calls a year, will cover 35,000 more from Larkspur, Corte Madera and San Anselmo after services are consolidated over the summer.
IN OTHER CITY NEWS
City of San Diego not liable for stink on La Jolla rocks, judge rules (Los Angeles Times)
“The court does not minimize the unpleasantness of the odors," wrote Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor, "and it empathizes with the business challenges they cause for area merchants and restaurateurs."
But the droppings left by the sea creatures are a fact of nature, not comparable to a broken sewer pipe or overflowing trash dump that the city would have an obligation to fix, Taylor indicated in a seven-page tentative decision issued Thursday.