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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December 2, 2016
December 2, 2016
TRANSPORTATION / INFRASTRUCTURE
Private sector should be involved in state transportation fixes (Orange County Register)
A new study from the California Policy Center explains how private investments could benefit the Golden State’s lagging infrastructure. The state’s water infrastructure has not been expanded since the 1970s and is designed to accommodate 20 million residents when California now has nearly 40 million residents. Its energy infrastructure is increasingly oriented toward renewables, without a clear plan to achieve the distribution and storage upgrades necessary to realize this dramatic shift. Current policies in California embrace water and energy conservation to balance demand with supply. Enforcing these policies runs counter to creating the prosperous state with access abundant and affordable resources that Californians deserve.
Most of Los Angeles County’s new jobs will be low paying, report says (Los Angeles Daily-News)
Los Angeles County has added more than 475,000 jobs since the depths of the Great Recession, and it’s expected to gain another 334,200 jobs by 2020, according to a report released Thursday. But most of those jobs will be low-paying positions, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. reported at the seventh annual Southern California Economic Summit, sponsored by the Southern California Association of Governments and the Southern California Leadership Council. The L.A. County report notes that more than a third of the county’s projected openings over the next five years will require workers without a high school diploma and no work experience. Another 30 percent will go to people with a high school diploma or the equivalent with no work experience. The remaining positions will be suitable for graduates with a bachelor’s degree (10.5 percent), those with an associate’s degree (4.5 percent) and others with some level of education beyond high school (5.6 percent).
Cities in the Los Angeles County Division
Homelessness is exploding downtown: What we know (and don’t) about why (Public CEO)
Theories abound about the reasons for booming homelessness downtown but no one can explain exactly why it’s booming. Since January alone, a business group’s monthly census has shown a 68 percent spike in street homelessness downtown. The count peaked at nearly 1,400 in August and has since hovered around 1,130. More tents line city blocks and more homeless people cluster near freeway on-ramps, businesses and homeless services. Some local leaders have said Proposition 47, a state ballot initiative that downgraded some felonies to misdemeanors in an effort to reduce the state prison population, is a significant culprit. Others have speculated about the impact of high rents, an influx of homeless people from other areas and even the way the homeless population is counted.
How California can ease housing crunch (Sacramento Bee)
Affordable housing is a pressing issue for many California families. Although low incomes and insufficient federal subsidies are somewhat to blame, so is the inadequate level of new housing construction. This partly results from local opposition to new construction, especially when it increases density. State government could address the problem by enhancing and enforcing current laws, increasing participation in the planning process and shifting some planning decisions to regional or state levels.
San Marcos’ looming water shortage might be a mirage (Public CEO)
A water shortage that exists entirely on paper is causing problems in the real world. The Vallecitos Water District, which provides water to 97,000 people in and around San Marcos, told state regulators that demand for water will soon exceed its supplies. Its projected shortage is 3.7 billion gallons a year by 2020, enough water for tens of thousands of people. San Marcos residents are alarmed. They fear they’ll be forced to ration water. The estimates also threaten new development across San Marcos. The Newland Sierra project – one of the largest housing developments proposed in the county – is facing a lawsuit alleging there isn’t enough water for the 6,000 people expected to live there.
California’s rivers are latest battlegrounds in water wars (Sacramento Bee)
Californians, while celebrating our coastal splendor and majestic mountains, have long seen rivers as mere plumbing for our hydration convenience. But now communities, seeking space for environmental restoration and recreation (and sometimes housing and development), are treating rivers and riverfronts as new frontiers and busily reconsidering how these bodies of water might better connect people and places. But the new thinking is opening up new conflicts that touch on public health, housing and economic development. So many places now are making so many plans for so many rivers that we may have to ask just how much change our rivers can handle.
California lays out long-term plan for water conservation (Capital Public Radio)
Thinking about hosing down that driveway? Think again. California agencies want to ban water-wasting practices like hosing driveways and excessive lawn watering permanently – not just in this drought. Under a new draft plan, urban water suppliers would have to meet new conservation targets by 2025 based on a variety of factors, including indoor and outdoor water use, commercial and industrial water use, and water lost to leaks. Some of the measures will require legislative approval. A final plan will be released in January. Statewide
Police-reform spotlight shines on the local level (Public CEO)
The presidential campaign focused some attention on the long-simmering debate over policing and the appropriate uses of force, but as is typical with national campaigns, the nuances got lost amid ideologically charged soundbites such as “law and order” and “Black Lives Matter.” Some advocates for police reform worry about what a new Trump administration will mean for these discussions given the president-elect’s expectedly different approach toward the matter than President Obama’s Department of Justice. But others argue the election will send reform back to where it really belongs: at the local level. Two northern California cities, Sacramento and San Francisco, are good examples of the latter. They are currently plowing ahead with major oversight and accountability proposals for their police departments – the result of local policing scandals that have little to do with national political changes. Sacramento takes up the matter at a City Council meeting on Tuesday.
Sacramento, San Francisco
CA Supreme Court to review pension case with nationwide implications (Public CEO)
Reigniting a perpetually smoldering debate with nationwide implications, the California State Supreme Court agreed to consider whether rules cracking down on pension boosting strategies could be applied to unionized government workers. “A state appeals court in San Francisco ruled in a Marin County case in August that the new laws could be applied to current employees — a potentially major setback for the workers and their unions, and a victory for local governments facing mounting deficits in their pension plans,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported. “But the state’s high court voted unanimously Tuesday to put that ruling on hold while it reviews the issue for a future statewide resolution.”
CITY IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Cathedral City appoints new planning commissioner (Desert Sun)
The Cathedral City Council unanimously voted to appoint Stan Barnes to the open seat on the city’s planning commission Wednesday. Mayor Stan Henry thanked the other two applicants for the opening, Eric Steele and Alice Daby, for their interest and encouraged them to remain active in the city. Council appointed Steele to the mobile home fair practices commission at the same time as Barnes’ appointment to the planning commission. They were both approved 4-0. Council member John Aguilar was absent. Barnes will fill a hole left vacant when former-commissioner Linda Snowden resigned in October.