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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January 19, 2017


HOMELESSNESS/POVERTY
More beds open for homeless near the American River as rain comes down (Sacramento Bee)
As more rain came down in Sacramento, additional beds for homeless people opened up near the American River on Wednesday night, funded by a combination of private, county and city funds. Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna said a building on the campus of social services organization Stanford Settlement in the Gardenland neighborhood near Garden Highway opened from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. to house and feed up to 25 homeless people. After last week’s string of storms, a number of homeless people were flooded out of areas near the river.
Cities in Sacramento County
 
California's poorest may finally be feeling rising economy (Southern California Public Radio)
Applications for cash welfare reached their lowest point in at least six years in 2016, which economists say might indicate California's poorest are finally feeling the effects of an improving economy.  Last year, an average of about 250,000 Americans applied for assistance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is also known as welfare-to-work. About 13 percent of them were in California, where TANF is also known as CalWORKs.   That rate was down from a spike of applications following the Great Recession. In 2010, the year after the recession ended, about 330,000 people per month applied for cash welfare in the U.S.  Economic recovery at the lowest rungs has been slow, said Professor Gary Painter, director of public policy at USC's Sol Price Center for Social Innovation.
Statewide
 
HOUSING
18-acre neighborhood, 126 homes to be built (Folsom Telegraph)
BlackPine Communities and Presidio Residential Capital will break ground in this month on a new 18-acre community that will offer 126 single-family homes within Lewis Planned Communities’ Parkshore Master Plan in Folsom.  Homes will open for sale in summer 2017, and the community is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2019. The retail value of this development is $68.5 million. Located at Parkshore Drive and Folsom Boulevard, the modern farmhouse-style homes on 45-by-70-foot lots will have open floor plans and emphasize outdoor living.  A park will ring the perimeter of the community, which will also include a recreation center with a swimming pool, a nature preserve and direct access to extensive bike trails. Residents are in close proximity to Folsom Lake and the American River.
Folsom
 
WATER/DROUGHT
Should California drought rules be lifted? State ponders question as storms roll in (Sacramento Bee)
With rivers roaring and more rain coming, California’s drought cops are wrestling with a complicated question: Should they keep patrolling the beat? A chorus of urban water districts Wednesday urged the State Water Resources Control Board, California’s chief drought regulator, to allow the state’s emergency conservation rules to expire. At a lengthy hearing in Sacramento, representatives of the water districts said the state board is losing credibility by insisting the drought still exists when residents can see how much conditions have eased.
Statewide
 
California proposing to continue water conservation (Capital Public Radio)
Water conservation would continue in California until at least May under a proposal regulators are considering. Currently, emergency drought regulations require cities and water agencies to prove they have enough water to meet future demands or they must cut back water use. Those rules are set to expire at the end of February. But the State Water Resources Control Board has proposed extending them, despite the heavy rain and snow this winter.  Regulators argue that the state is only halfway through the wet winter and rain could end. They say some parts of the state still lack an adequate water supply. The water board will vote on the proposal in February, and revisit the issue in May.
Statewide
 
TAX/REVENUE
Mystery raises at tax board prompt demand for reforms (Sacramento Bee)
Almost two years later, that batch of raises is driving a crackdown on executive compensation at the tax-collecting agency and prompting some of its elected leaders to demand more tools to check the decisions of their staff. One of the six ongoing state audits investigating the Board of Equalization is looking at its personnel practices. The raises were distributed by former BOE Executive Director Cynthia Bridges, who was ousted in March 2016 and subsequently hired to join the BOE staff of board member Jerome Horton. Bridges and Horton declined to comment. Bridges may have been attempting to reward performance or to ensure that executives earned more money than their highest-paid subordinates, both of which are reasons that state agencies sometimes give extra raises to top employees, administrators said. Without records, the department could not explain them.
Statewide
 
ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
Trump’s EPA pick won’t guarantee California’s right to tougher auto emission rules (Sacramento Bee)
During a contentious confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Donald’s Trump nominee to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said he’d open up a review of new federal auto emissions standards and also review waivers granted to California to enact auto standards stronger than those of the federal government. The remarks by Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general, immediately drew rebukes from Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, including California’s newly seated senator, Kamala Harris.
Statewide
 
Have climate policies helped San Joaquin Valley? New report says yes (Los Angeles Times)
As California lawmakers prepare for another round of debating the best way to combat climate change, a new study says the San Joaquin Valley is benefiting economically from the state's policies on global warming. The report comes from Next 10, a public policy think tank that partnered with researchers at UC Berkeley to crunch the numbers. F. Noel Perry, a venture capitalist who founded Next 10, said they studied the valley because it has struggled with poor air quality and an economy that's sluggish when compared to the state's coast. Politicians who represent the region in the Capitol have also been skeptical of state regulations, and it's unclear whether they'll be swayed by some of the report, which analyzed the cap-and-trade program, renewable energy standards and energy efficiency initiatives. According to the study, there has been $13.4 billion in economic benefits, primarily from the construction of solar generation facilities.
Statewide
 
MARIJUANA
California’s pot czar on upcoming marijuana regulation: ‘We will not fail’ (Sacramento Bee)
In a coming together that once seemed highly unlikely, California state regulators Wednesday greeted a hotel ballroom filled with marijuana growers, promising that a licensing program to bring thousands of pot producers out of the shadows will be operational in the state by Jan. 1, 2018. It was hard to ignore the landmark nature of the informal meeting between California officials – including the head of the new marijuana regulations bureau – and members of the California Growers Association, a 2-year-old trade group representing marijuana farmers. For years, some of those participating in the growers association’s two-day “Envision 2026: California Cannabis Policy Summit” at the Holiday Inn in downtown Sacramento had operated in the black market of illegal trafficking or the gray market of the California’s long unregulated medical marijuana industry.
Statewide
 
PUBLIC SAFETY
Behind prison walls: The blind side (Folsom Telegraph)
Behind Folsom State Prison’s walls, select prisoners have transcribed books into Braille for blind students through California Prison Industry Authority’s Braille program since 1989. The program started when the Folsom Lions Club was doing books on tape for a blind girl named Amelia Diaz, said Don Ring of the Folsom Lions Club. Her favorite reader was a man named William and she would write back in Braille thanking him for the work he did. Diaz’s mother would write above the Braille what Amelia wrote and William would start crying every time he received a letter, Ring said.
Folsom
 
Lincoln City Council, staff talk privatization (Lincoln News Messenger)
Privatization of garbage and emergency medical services were among the key issues discussed Jan. 11 and 12 during the Lincoln City Council’s annual two-day retreat. The retreat was attended by the five City Council member as well as Lincoln City Manager Matt Brower and most of the city’s department heads, including public services director Jennifer Hanson, community development director Matt Wheeler, Fire Chief Kurt Snyder and economic development director Shawn Tillman. During a discussion of privatizing the city’s garbage services, Brower reviewed an $86,000 2013 study that ultimately led the council at the time to suspend a search for an independent solid waste franchise – there were no responses to the city’s Request for Proposals – and instead update the solid waste rates.
Lincoln
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