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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October 21, 2014
In a First, Healdsburg Bans Under-21 Tobacco Sales (San Francisco Gate)
The Wine Country city of Healdsburg, known for enticing tourists with a hedonistic blend of fresh food and drink, now has another distinction: It’s the first place in California to ban tobacco sales to anyone under 21.
The City Council voted Monday, four votes to one, to lift the legal age for buying cigarettes, chew and other tobacco products from 18, putting it at the same threshold for buying booze. The restriction, which needs a second council vote before taking effect, is billed as a way to maintain the city’s fit and fertile character.
Los Angeles to Consider Banning Cultivation of Genetically Modified Crops (City News Service)
The Los Angeles City Council today will consider a proposal to ban the cultivation of genetically modified crops in the city.
The motion by Councilman Paul Koretz calls for a prohibition on the sale and planting of genetically modified seeds, as well as the sale of genetically modified fruit trees and plants in Los Angeles. It was backed Monday by members of the council’s Arts, Parks, Health, Aging and River Committee.
REVENUE & TAXATION / MUNICIPAL FINANCE
Proposed Local Revenue Measures November 2014 (California City Finance)
The November 4, 2014 California Gubernatorial election includes over 400 local measures including 265 seeking approval for taxes or bonds. K-12 schools districts and community colleges are requesting a total of $11.565 billion in 113 separate authorizations for bonds to construct facilities, acquire equipment and make repairs and upgrades. There are just eight measures to increase or extend school parcel taxes.
Desert Hot Springs Voters Split on Sales, Pot Taxes (The Desert Sun)
In just two weeks, Desert Hot Springs is banking on voters to approve three tax measures on the ballot to boost the city’s coffers and help it dig out of a $6.2 million deficit.
Measure JJ calls for a 1 percentage point increase in the sales tax — from 8 percent to 9 percent — to generate an estimated $1.4 million annually to the city’s general fund annually. Two other ballot proposals, Measure II and Measure HH, would be taxes on the recently approved medical marijuana industry.
Guest Commentary: November Election Will Dictate Emeryville’s Future (Oakland Tribune)
The city's proposal is to change Emeryville from a "general law" city into a "charter city" for the limited purpose of getting the authority to create a property transfer tax. This is Measure U on the November ballot. In addition, the city proposes Measure V, which would create the local property transfer tax itself. The tax rate would be $12 for each $1,000 of sale value.
Opinion: Measure D Lacks Substance for Meaningful Change (The Daily Californian)
Measure D is a revenue-generating general fund tax for the City of Berkeley. It is a measure that raises more questions than answers, including why the same product would be taxed if it comes into the city on a truck but would not be if it’s sold by a small retail store or brought into the city by the retailer himself.
SD Trying to Preserve State Money (San Diego Union-Tribune)
San Diego improved its eligibility for millions in state infrastructure money on Monday when the City Council declared the city can use special wage agreements on certain construction projects.
PENSIONS / LABOR RELATIONS
San Jose Police Union Head Denies He Urged Recruits to Quit (Contra Costa Times)
The head of the police union on Monday denied an accusation that he told academy cadets to drop out because it would best serve them and the department -- allegations the mayor called "troubling" and vowed to investigate.
CalPERS Has Highest Complexity, Costs Compared to Other Funds (Sacramento Business Journal) \
The California Public Employees' Retirement System had nearly double the pension administrative costs of four similar U.S. pension funds in 2012-13, according to a new comparison.
CalPERS had a pension administration cost of $215 per member -- far above the peer average of $108, according to Cost Effective Measurement Benchmarking, a Canadian firm that compares public pension funds across the nation and globe.
Business Leaders Say Labor is Pushing Rail Car Plant from L.A. County (Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles County officials and business leaders rose to the defense of a Japanese company Monday that has all but given up plans to build a $60-million manufacturing facility in the Antelope Valley because of a dispute with local labor leaders.
Detroit Bankruptcy Decision Set for Early November (San Luis Obispo Tribune)
A judge pledged Monday to make a swift decision on Detroit's plan to get out of bankruptcy, signaling that the largest U.S. case of an insolvent local government could close in just a few more weeks
SD Adopts Mandatory Water Limits (San Diego Union-Tribune)
San Diego is cracking down on water waste, after the city council voted unanimously Monday to invoke mandatory water restrictions.
The shift from Stage 1 “drought watch” conditions to Stage 2 “drought alert” restrictions transforms voluntary water conservation measures into legal requirements, and stiffens some existing restrictions, such as those on ornamental fountains.
County Supervisors Unanimously Back State Water Bond (Times of San Diego)
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors registered its unanimous support Tuesday for a $7.5 billion state water bond issue to be decided by voters Nov. 4.
If Proposition 1 is approved, San Diego County would get about 9 percent of the regionally allocated bond money, which is roughly proportionate to its share of the statewide population, according to supervisors Greg Cox and Dave Roberts.
RENEWABLE ENERGY & CONSERVATION
Renewable Energy Plan Targets Imperial Valley Ag Land (Imperial Valley Press)
A state and federal land use planning document could accelerate the pace with which Imperial County farm land is developed for renewable energy projects.
The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan is designed to make the environmental review and permitting process for renewable energy projects more streamlined, efficient and predictable. It identifies areas for renewable energy development and areas for conservation over 22.5 million acres in the counties of Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego.
San Rafael Votes to Rejoin Marin Narcotics Squad (Marin Independent Journal)
San Rafael withdrew from Marin's multiagency narcotics squad 12 years ago, but city officials are willing to give the group another shot — at least for a year.
City Council members voted unanimously Monday night to rejoin the drug unit, formally known as the Marin County Major Crimes Task Force, in an effort to encourage regional law enforcement cooperation. City staff anticipate spending $125,000 to $140,000 to participate in the task force during the next year.
CITY PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT
New Lead Investor Reported on Oakland Coliseum City Project (San Francisco Business Times)
A new lead investor has reportedly signed on for the Coliseum City project in Oakland, a development that could potentially bring new stadiums for the Raiders and the A's.
Sources told the Oakland Tribune the new investor won't publicly come forward until the city agrees to extend an exclusive negotiating rights deal beyond the current Tuesday deadline.
San Mateo County Looking at Housing Options for Homeless (San Mateo Daily Journal)
Mimicking an expected change in federal homeless policy, San Mateo County is considering a rapid rehousing pilot program that focuses on getting families out of shelters and more quickly into more stable long-term housing.
Doing so would let the county try out this new approach while likely putting it in a better position for federal funding. Small-scale efforts have been tried previously but doesn’t provide enough of a track record to show how it could work locally.
S.F. Developer Cuts Deal for Break on Affordable-Unit Rule (San Francisco Gate)
The developer of a 52-story Transbay district high-rise has cut a deal with the city to pay $13.85 million to avoid including 11 below-market-rate condominiums in what will become the highest condo tower west of the Mississippi River.
The payment, $1.26 million per unit, shows how much luxury builders in San Francisco are willing to shell out to circumvent housing laws with affordable-housing requirements — 15 percent in the case of the neighborhood around the Transbay Transit Center. Legislation is required to make the deal happen.
California’s Prop 46 Could Boost Medical Professional Liability Rates (Business Insurance)
Passage of California’s Proposition 46 could result in higher medical professional liability insurance rates, according to a study released by A.M. Best Co. Inc. on Tuesday.
If voters approve Proposition 46 on Nov. 4, the state’s current $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages for pain and suffering awards established by the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 would increase to $1.1 million and be indexed annually based on inflation.
County Sued Over Sex Offender Ordinance (Victorville Daily Press)
Seeking to protect civil rights for a “socially outcast minority,” the California chapter of Reform Sex Offender Laws this year has sued 22 municipalities for ordinances that the group contends are inconsistent statewide and unconstitutional, the organization’s president said Monday.San Bernardino County on Oct. 14 was the latest target of California Reform Sex Offender Laws, which is led by Santa Maria attorney Janice Bellucci.