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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Nov. 17, 2015
A NOTE TO READERS
The RoundUp will be away to accommodate the annual League Leaders event and for the week of Thanksgiving. It will return on Dec. 1. Thank you for reading.
WATER / DROUGHT
El Niño could be the most powerful on record, scientists say (Los Angeles Times)
“This thing is still growing and it’s definitely warmer than it was in 1997,” said Bill Patzert, climatologist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge.
El Niño prompts state of emergency (San Diego Union-Tribune)
Concerned that El Niño rains might cause significant flooding this winter, the San Diego City Council unanimously declared a local state of emergency that could help accelerate clearing of clogged drainage channels.
Long Beach homeless warned about El Nino dangers (Long Beach Press Telegram)
“We have already gone out to those areas to get a blueprint of the situation to see where people are living,” said Capt. Gonzalo Medina, marine safety chief for the Long Beach Fire Department. “When we have large quantities of water moving fast through the Los Angeles and San Gabriel rivers and rising quickly, homeless people are our primary concern.”
Inland cities prepare storm strategies (The Riverside Press-Enterprise)
Inland city and county agencies are preparing for expected El Niño flooding by stocking up on sand and sandbags, cleaning storm drains, educating residents and coordinating efforts with neighboring agencies.
As huge El Niño brews, California fights to keep drought mentality (Los Angeles Times)
Officials have long feared heavy rains would reduce conservation by residents, even though a major El Niño would not end the drought by a long shot.
Historically strong El Nino may only last a season, forecasters say (Capital Press)
Federal forecasters are still confident that historically strong El Nino conditions will persist throughout the winter, bringing a heavy storm track to the southern United States, but the conditions may recede by next spring.
Groundwater is mostly non-renewable, study finds (CBC News)
While many people may think groundwater is replenished by rain and melting snow the way lakes and rivers are, underground water is actually renewed much more slowly. In fact, just six per cent of the groundwater around the world is replenished within a "human lifetime" of 50 years, reports a new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience today.
Water-wasting rules may continue after California drought ends (San Jose Mercury News)
Environmentalists and some local water managers are considering making California's new water-wasting rules a permanent part of state law, even in wet years. "It's just good common sense," said Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the state water board.
Senate committee hearing focuses on chronically underfunded water needs (ACWA)
California suffers from an estimated $2 billion to $3 billion a year in chronically underfunded water needs in areas such as groundwater recharge, stormwater management, aging infrastructure and safe drinking water in some disadvantaged communities.
Pleasanton eyes end to penalties for excess water use (San Jose Mercury News)
The penalties are not needed in fall and winter because residents collectively slashed use by 37.3 percent through October, far exceeding the state's demand for a 24 percent cut, according to city officials.
City pushes for winter water conservation (The Davis Enterprise)
Davis’ water reduction for October was 22.6 percent, which is better news than the 18-percent reduction in September, but still short of summer’s big savings. The decline over the past two months puts the city’s cumulative reduction at 27.1 percent, just short of the state-mandated 28-percent target.
First phase of recycled water project in Encinitas (KFMB)
It's the first step in a seven-mile pipeline project to connect the Olivenhain and San Elijo water districts.
Why water rates are rising (KNSD)
Residents have stepped up and cut back their water usage by an average of 27 percent since June, according to SDCWA Public Affairs Representative Mike Lee. But such a drastic drop in water sales impacts the bottom line for many water districts.
Giant Sequoias struggle with drought (KQED)
Only half a dozen giant sequoias have died in the Sierra Nevada’s Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks since the drought began, said the parks’ science coordinator Koren Nydick. But the fact that some giant sequoias started to show signs of stress last year caused concern among scientists because the trees are normally long-lived, with some known to be more than 3,000 years old.
Opinion: East Bay sanitary district finds it's not so easy to repurpose all that treated water (Contra Costa Times)
At a time when California is in the throes of a parched-throat, historic drought, the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District is dumping more than 20 million gallons of processed water into Suisun Bay each day.
Opinion: California must capture water, not waste it (Los Angeles Times)
We need to look past the coming El Niño at the long-term changes in our weather patterns, as climate change poses new challenges to water managers, planners, utilities and, indeed, all of us.
MUNICIPAL FINANCE / REVENUE & TAXATION
CA launches website that shows government debt (NSPR)
A new website
allows Californians to see – and sort – the one-point-five trillion dollars in debt their state and local governments have accrued.
PENSIONS / LABOR
CalPERS may lower investment expectations, costing taxpayers billions (Los Angeles Times)
As soon as Wednesday, the fund's board could approve a plan that would slowly reduce to 6.5% the current 7.5% it says it expects to earn on its investments. For taxpayers, that seemingly small change is significant.
Legislation cut California’s workers’ compensation medical costs (The Sacramento Bee)
Senate Bill 863, backed by employers and labor unions, affected many specific aspects of the system but was aimed largely at reducing medical costs and redirecting savings into cash benefit increases for disabled workers. The medical care portions of the bill appear to be having the desired effect, a new study by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau concludes.
L.A. terrorism task force partners with faith-based communities to combat possible attacks (KABC)
Law enforcement officials said there is one tool that separates Los Angeles from Paris. It is community policing, a partnership cultivated with multiple faith-based organizations, including the Muslim community.
Q&A: Sacramento police chief discusses rise in crime, high-tech gadgets (The Sacramento Bee)
As crime has risen this year in Sacramento and the across the United States, police chiefs from across the nation descended on Chicago last month for several important law enforcement conferences. Sacramento Police Chief Samuel Somers Jr., along with a few deputies, attended the trio of conferences.
Oakland considering crackdown after weekend of 'outrageous' sideshows (San Jose Mercury News)
Oakland police and California Highway Patrol officials promised increased enforcement after both agencies were overwhelmed by an estimated 700 joy-riders -- some coming from as far away as Los Angeles -- speeding through East Oakland neighborhoods and turning intersections and even Interstate 880 into a playground for motorcycle and car tricks.
Garcetti's overhaul of LAFD hiring hasn't met aim of diversifying (Los Angeles Times)
Under the Garcetti administration system, 202 recruits have entered the grueling boot camp that is the final step to becoming a city firefighter. Of those, virtually every racial group except white males is underrepresented when compared with the city's population.
Body cameras coming for Long Beach police (Long Beach Press Telegram)
Before the pilot program is officially launched, the Long Beach City Council has to award the camera contract and approve up to $210,100 in funding.
TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE
Google antsy as California slow on self-driving car rules (AP)
The Department of Motor Vehicles was supposed to write precedent-setting rules of the road by last Jan. 1. Nearly a year later, it is still struggling. After all, the agency is geared to administering driving tests and registering cars, not settling complicated questions the technology raises.
L.A. Expo Line hasn't reduced congestion as promised, a study finds (Los Angeles Times)
A new study has found that the $930-million project has done little to relieve traffic congestion in the area.
Rash of hurt pedestrians leaves S.F.’s Vision Zero out of focus (SF Gate)
In a city where last year officials pledged to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2024 through an ambitious plan called Vision Zero, those charged with making the city’s streets safer for pedestrians urged patience as they do their best to tackle a complex problem with no easy solutions.
HOMELESSNESS / POVERTY
Cleaning out Big Tujunga Wash: Whose job is it? (Los Angeles Times)
The encampments of Tujunga Wash have fallen into a tangle of inconsistent rules for public and private land and conflicting perceptions of homelessness.
Infographic: California's economy is booming, so why is it No. 1 in poverty? (Los Angeles Times)
“The fact that California housing is so much more expensive means the threshold to be in poverty is a lot higher,” said David Cooper of the Economic Policy Institute in Washington.
First Lady asking landlords with vacant spaces to help homeless veterans (KFSN)
Mrs. Obama more landlords to consider getting involved with the "Supportive Services for Veteran Families" program, an initiative that provides grants to non-profits and consumer cooperatives on behalf of vets in need and to be more receptive to accepting HUD Vash Vouchers.
Opinion: The homeless are everywhere and there are no easy solutions (Los Angeles Times)
The number of homeless people in Los Angeles County has grown by 12% in the last two years. But the number of tents, makeshift communities and vehicles occupied by homeless people has jumped by 85%.
CITY PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT
World Logistics Center: Backers aim to protect Moreno Valley warehouse (The Riverside Press-Enterprise)
Supporters of the World Logistics Center turned in about 48,000 signatures Monday for three ballot initiatives aimed at thwarting legal challenges to a 40.6 million-square-foot warehouse complex that would transform the city’s eastern side. Eight lawsuits against the project have been filed and contend Moreno Valley failed to address traffic and environmental concerns when its City Council approved the project in August.
San Pedro low-income housing makeover in the future? (Torrance Daily Breeze)
For decades, San Pedro’s aging government housing project has frustrated those hoping to redevelop the town’s waterfront. Now, an estimated $232 million full redevelopment could turn it into a gleaming retail/commercial/mixed-income housing to shine amid the community’s evolving downtown and waterfront — if enough money can be found.
The myth of 'no public funding' for new Raiders, Warriors projects (San Francisco Business Times)
To some extent, public money always is involved — and needed, for example, to upgrade infrastructure that helps a broader development beyond ballparks, stadiums and arenas.
Plans for children’s cancer hospital near Morro Bay withdrawn (San Luis Obispo Tribune)
The nonprofit group Teach About had applied to San Luis Obispo County to rezone 253 acres on the north side of Highway 41, just outside the city limits of Morro Bay, from agricultural to recreation. The nonprofit’s director, Sunil Kayal, said he withdrew the application out of frustration with the bureaucratic process of getting permits from the county and state Coastal Commission.
Opinion: Oakland moving in right direction with idea to replace I-980 (San Francisco Chronicle)
The rebirth of the Embarcadero and Hayes Valley in San Francisco shows how a city and its neighborhoods can flourish after the removal of intrusive, invasive freeways. Now Oakland has the potential to see such addition by subtraction — a move that, down the road, could even pay benefits for the region as a whole.
Fresh off Bay Area victory, tech giant Airbnb may set sights on L.A. (Los Angeles Times)
For years, organized labor has been the big dog in L.A. politics, spending huge sums on political campaigns and working to influence policies on transportation, economic development, trash pickup and the minimum wage, to name a few. But the fight in San Francisco has raised the possibility that one day there could be an even bigger dog in town — if tech companies like Airbnb choose to assume that role.
Redwood City slaps corporate housing providers downtown with cease and desist letters (Silicon Valley Business Journal)
City officials in September slapped three corporate housing companies with cease-and-desist letters for accepting short-term rentals at apartment units they own or manage, violations of the city's zoning codes. The get-tough approach comes after the city received complaints that downtown apartment units were being taken off the market for corporate housing
Laguna Beach to rule on short-term rentals ban (The Orange County Register)
The Laguna Beach City Council, which set a moratorium on all new short-term rentals in May, will consider an ordinance today to ban all such rentals in the city’s residential areas – which is most of the city.
In S.F., few African Americans win affordable units (San Francisco Chronicle)
Less than 1 percent of subsidized units built by private developers and sold to low-income residents between 2008 and 2014 went to African Americans.
Sonoma County home sales increase in October (The Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
As activity increased, the county’s median home price dipped 2.3 percent to $529,275 from September. That price remains 8 percent higher than a year ago.
Federal judge orders governor back to talks on Madera-area casino (The Fresno Bee)
Saying that Gov. Jerry Brown acted in “bad faith” by ending negotiations, a federal judge has ordered the state to return to talks with North Fork Rancheria officials on a gaming compact for a Madera-area casino that state voters rejected last year.
Eastvale: Lawsuit against county vowed involving debt-relief bill (The Riverside Press-Enterprise)
The Eastvale City Council announced that it intends to file a lawsuit against Riverside County involving a bill that provided for debt relief for Riverside County's newest cities.
$15 minimum wage likely coming to San Mateo (Silicon Valley Business Journal)
All five members of the city council expressed support for adopting a $15-an-hour city minimum wage.
L.A. could fund sidewalk repairs in front of businesses (Los Angeles Times)
City Council members are trying to hash out a policy as Los Angeles starts to invest tens of millions of dollars annually in its sidewalks: Under a pending settlement with attorneys for the disabled, the city has pledged to spend $1.4 billion over the next three decades to fix its massive backlog of buckled walkways.
What color is my city? (Boom)
Night lights are changing L.A.’s complexion.
Fort Bragg takes aim at teen drinking with new ordinance (The Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
The “Social Host Ordinance” empowers police officers to issue citations to any property owner, renter or other person who knowingly allows alcohol consumption by minors on properties over which they have control.
San Bernardino approves outsourcing with Burrtec (The San Bernardino Sun)
After years of uncertainty going back at least to the first month of bankruptcy when the city started moving forward with outsourcing its refuse services, 72 city employees learned Monday night who their new employer will be: Burrtec.
Opinion: San Bernardino: My City (Inland Empire Community News)
The crimes are real. The abject poverty in the city’s more destitute areas is real. But to portray San Bernardino as a city on the verge of self-destruction, with an inherently miserable populace that is barely scraping by with a modicum of hope—a broken city—is an unfair characterization that ignores many of the things that have made San Bernardino a beloved place in the eyes of many of its citizens.