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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April 17, 2015
Facing resistance, Gov. Jerry Brown defends order to cut water use (Los Angeles Times)
With criticism of new conservation regulations pouring in from local officials, Gov. Jerry Brown and other state leaders defended Thursday his executive order requiring a 25% reduction in water use. "From everything I can see here, it's attainable," Brown said. "Maybe we can do more. Maybe we have to do it differently. We don't do it all in one day."
California Assembly members push to speed up water storage construction (Los Angeles Daily News)
Introduced last month, AB 311 creates a window to resolve litigation over environmental reviews of new water storage facilities.
Drought-stricken California’s wealthy pay up to keep lawns lush (Bloomberg News)
Rationing in the Montecito water district, where the typical house sells for more than $2 million, shows how the ability to stop one’s property from baking brown depends on a steady flow of green.
Local agencies fall short in water conservation efforts (Thousand Oaks Acorn)
Up to 70 percent of the potable water used in the Las Virgenes and Conejo valleys, Moorpark, Simi Valley and Camarillo is used for lawns and gardens.
Cities tread lightly into Gov’s water mandate (The Foothills Sun-Gazette)
Local city councils scrambled to begin the legal process to carry out the Governor’s April 1 historic executive order to cut water use statewide.
Lompoc utilities director slams water conservation mandate (Santa Maria Times)
“Lompoc has done a really good job, and we’re getting slapped in the face for it,” Larry Bean said.
California almond growers to expand orchards, despite drought (The Sacramento Bee)
California’s almond farmers are likely to continue planting new orchards in the coming years, increasing production by 2 percent to 3.5 percent a year over the next decade, one of the state’s leading farm economists said
Opinion: The drought isn’t California’s only water problem (Wired)
It’s not about the Delta, exactly; the real story is 200 feet below it, where the governor of the Golden State wants to dig huge tunnels that will make it easier for southern California to get northern California’s water.
Glendale Water & Power wins efficiency award (Glendale News-Press)
Much of the credit is due the department’s collaboration with WaterSmart and its software that enabled customers to head to the utility’s website to access data on how much water they’re using around the house on a daily basis.
Tulare records decrease in underground water pumped (Visalia Times-Delta)
Tulare officials said 275,000 gallons of water were pumped up for city service during February, the lowest amount over the last 14 months.
House-hunting? Hurry. Homes in California are moving faster (Los Angeles Times)
Real estate listings website Trulia crunched the numbers on how long home listings are staying on their site and found that only 43% of houses that were on the market in Los Angeles County in February were still up for sale in April. That’s the eighth-quickest pace in the country, and significantly faster than the 60% figure nationwide. The fastest-moving market was San Francisco, where only 26% of listings last two months. In Orange County, the number was 41%, and eight of the top 10 were in California.
Why your rent will rise again this year (The Associated Press)
The three metro areas with the biggest annual increase in rent in January, according to Trulia: Denver (14.2 percent), Oakland, California (12.1 percent), and San Francisco (11.6 percent). Job growth in each of those cities also eclipsed the national growth rate of 2.3 percent over the 12 months ended in January. Employment grew 3.7 percent in Denver, 2.7 percent in Oakland and 4.5 percent in San Francisco.
Opinion: Housing regs benefit a few, hurt others (U-T San Diego)
Earlier this month, the state Supreme Court heard arguments in a Northern California case that could have statewide impact, given that it ponders the constitutionality of one way officials promote the construction of lower-cost housing. The issue is “inclusionary zoning.” In exchange for allowing builders to construct houses, officials require them to set aside a percentage of the new houses that would be sold at below-market rates.
Berkeley council extends discount of affordable housing impact fee (Bay Area News Group)
The City Council has extended until July 1 an $8,000 discount in the affordable housing impact fee that was due to lapse this week. The move could cost the city at least $2 million, according to a report by Mayor Tom Bates, the action's sponsor.
TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE
Road Repair Bill Would Raise California Gas Tax, Vehicle Fees (Capital Public Radio)
There’s bipartisan agreement at the state Capitol that California’s roads and highways need billions of dollars in repairs. The question is where the money would come from.
Davis plans for next steps with electric vehicles (The Davis Enterprise)
Today there are approximately 400 electric vehicles in Davis, but the city has an ambitious goal of 2,500 in the community by 2020.
L.A. spends $100 million a year on homelessness, city report finds (Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles spends more than $100 million a year coping with homelessness, including as much as $87 million that goes to arrests, skid row patrols and mental health interventions.
Eureka homeless relocation prompts questions on the task ahead (Eureka Times-Standard)
After Eureka police and other law enforcement agencies arrested more than 20 people on suspicion of various offenses in the area known as the “Devil’s Playground,” those who remained in the over 100 makeshift campsites were told that they had two weeks to clear out. The city is working to create a temporary site where uprooted individuals can stay until they are able to find more permanent housing or be funneled into transitional housing programs.
Editorial: Fresno’s impressive battle plan for winning war on poverty (The Fresno Bee)
The Fresno Bridge Academy started in 2010 with 127 families as a demonstration project. Two years later, leaders took their positive results to the Fresno County Department of Social Services, which partnered with Reading and Beyond to expand services. Since then, more than 1,000 people have graduated. From October 2012 to last month, 77% graduated. Of those, 80% received raises or promotions and 32% became self-reliant, no longer needing government help.
Palo Alto: Minimum wage increase eyed (Palo Alto Daily News)
The City Council's Policy and Services Committee is slated later this month to discuss and potentially recommend approval of an ordinance that would hike the local minimum wage from $9 per hour to $10.30 with annual adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index. The ordinance is modeled after ones that were recently adopted by Mountain View and Sunnyvale.
OPEN GOVERNMENT & TRANSPARENCY
California Legislature: Bill to tighten public officials' financial disclosures passes first hurdle (Contra Costa Times)
The bill would require officials to report not only names of businesses they invest in, but also "a thorough and detailed description of the business entity's activities" and "the names of all business partners who share a financial interest in the business entity."
REPORTS & STUDIES
Cities, the Sharing Economy, and What's Next (National League of Cities)
This National League of Cities report seeks to provide an analysis of what is currently happening in American cities so that city leaders may better understand, encourage and regulate the growing sharing economy. Interviews were conducted with city officials on the impact o f the sharing economy and related topics, and the report centers around five key themes: innovation, economic development, equity, safety and implementation.
Rep. Mike Thompson co-sponsors bill regulating transport of oil by train (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
His bill would, among other rules, establish maximum volatility standards for crude oil and other hydrocarbons transported by rail; prohibit use of unsafe tank cars, including removal of 37,700 unsafe cars; and require disclosure of train movements through communities and emergency response plans.
Oakland police discipline system broken, report says (San Francisco Chronicle)
Oakland police officers who get fired or disciplined for misconduct frequently overturn their punishment at arbitration because department officials and the city attorney’s office do a poor job investigating the cases, according to a scathing report issued Thursday.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS & TECHNOLOGY
Opinion: Lessons from Nextdoor (Voice of San Diego)
Nextdoor currently partners with at least eight city and police agencies in San Diego County, but SDPD is by far its biggest success story. The department hits its two-year anniversary using Nextdoor this month “For public safety agencies, the real advantage to Nextdoor is they get to communicate to verified residents,” said Grady. “When they post on Twitter, they’re not totally confident who they’re getting the message to.”
CAP AND TRADE
California ratepayers getting electric bill rebates (Los Angeles Times)
Almost 11 million customers of the state's for-profit electric utilities will be getting credits averaging $27 per household on either their April or May bills. The rebates account for a portion of the revenues generated by the so-called Cap and Trade program.
Inland plants boost state to No. 1 (The Riverside Press-Enterprise)
Boosted by the start-up of three large solar projects in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, California last year received more than 5 percent of its electricity from the sun, leaving the rest of country far behind in solar-power production.
ENERGY & SUSTAINABILITY
El Cerrito to offer program encouraging energy efficiency upgrades (Contra Costa Times)
Property owners who have delayed making their houses and businesses more energy efficient because of the upfront cost should soon have a way to move forward when the city begins participating in PACE financing programs.
Saratoga: It uses no water, but city code says 'no' to turf (San Jose Mercury News)
In Saratoga, artificial turf is lumped into the same category as cement, which isn't legal to use to replace front lawns, either.
ELECTIONS & REDISTRICTING
Activist shareholders urge Chevron to stop spending money on politics (Contra Costa Times)
Chevron shareholders will decide on a series of proposals at their annual meeting. The resolutions are meant to underline the oil company's massive political sway, including millions spent during November's Richmond City Council race to support some candidates -- who all lost -- and oppose others.
NY computer hacker who attacked DirecTV, Farmers Insurance and L.A. public works sentenced to 3 years in prison (New York Daily News)
In the attack on the Los Angeles Department of Public Works, the hacking group and Chuisano stole identification and health information related to more than 3,000 people, prosecutors said.
PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT
Project will be 'new footprint for downtown' (The Stockton Record)
The ground floor of Grand View Village would provide just more than 19,000 square feet of commercial space, much of it to be dedicated to a grocery store. Visionary Home Builders is to develop the residential portion, with retail development in the hands of Ten Space, which recently unveiled major plans for rehabilitation of a 15-block area in east-central downtown.
8 development projects in Santa Maria (Santa Maria Times)
From residential developments to retail centers, there are a number of construction projects in the works in and around Santa Maria.
Los Gatos: Plans for North 40 are taking shape (Community Newspapers)
Council members voted 3-2 to permit 270 homes, leaving room for a 35 percent density bonus for a total of 364 homes. The council voted unanimously to allow 435,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.
Del Rey Oaks medical marijuana dispensary will be first of its kind (Monterey Herald)
The Del Rey Oaks dispensary will be the only one in the nation with a police substation on its second floor.
Baked in Arcata (The North Coast Journal)
In 2014, the city started collecting a tax for high electricity use, a move clearly targeting residential grow houses. The council's relationship with dispensaries has been all over the map since medical marijuana was legalized in 1996, culminating in a cap on the number of dispensaries allowed in the city. But now, with the winds of statewide legalization at the city's back, a decidedly pot-friendly idea is germinating: the Arcata Marijuana Industrial Complex.
S.F. picked as lead city in effort in ban chewing tobacco at MLB stadiums (San Francisco Chronicle)
The president of The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says San Francisco was picked to take the lead because the Giants are the world champions — and because the city has often been the first “to do something that then sweeps the rest of the nation.”
IN OTHER CITY NEWS
Richmond mayor says city logo ‘is incredibly ugly,’ needs replacement (San Francisco Chronicle)
“I hate the logo, and think it’s incredibly ugly,” Butt says. “Some people think it’s a bird.” The city seal, at least, has “a ship, a train, a building, a hill and water,” he says.