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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July 25, 2014
PENSIONS / LABOR RELATIONS
CalPERS Pulls Back from Hedge Funds (Wall Street Journal)
Public pensions from California to Ohio are backing away from hedge funds because of concerns about high fees and lackluster returns.
Those having second thoughts include officials at the largest public pension fund in the U.S., the California Public Employees' Retirement System, or Calpers. Its hedge-fund investment is expected to drop this year by 40%, to $3 billion, amid a review of that part of the portfolio, said a person familiar with the changes.
San Jose Police Union President Blasts DA (San Jose Mercury)
In a scathing email to 1,500 active-duty and retired officers, the president of San Jose's police union took the unusual step of publicly casting off one of its traditional crime-fighting allies -- District Attorney Jeff Rosen -- saying the group will no longer run the prosecutor's monthly column in its magazine and will try to thwart Rosen's statewide political ambitions.
The email blast from Jim Unland, president of the San Jose Police Officers Association, came in response to Rosen's endorsement of two local candidates who support Measure B, the city's controversial pension reform act. San Jose voters overwhelmingly approved Measure B in 2012 over strong union opposition. Since then, hundreds of cops have been quitting for better-paying cities, and the exodus has coincided with increasing crime rates and longer response times.
Garcetti Uses YouTube to Appeal to LAPD Officers on Contract Offer (Los Angeles Times)
Days after Los Angeles police union leaders threatened to bar city officials from meeting directly with union members, Mayor Eric Garcetti released a video on YouTube making his case for the city's latest contract offer directly to officers.
In the short YouTube video, Garcetti lauds Los Angeles Police Department officers for making "sacrifices" in past contracts and says that continued belt-tightening is necessary to restore city services "in a responsible and sustainable way."
Judge Rejects Injunction that would have Blocked Areana Project (Sacramento Bee)
A judge is poised to remove what is probably the final legal barrier before construction can begin on the new Sacramento Kings arena.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley, in a tentative ruling, rejected a citizen group’s request for an injunction that would have stopped the $477 million project from moving forward until the lawsuit was resolved. Frawley could make a final ruling as early as today after a hearing on the matter.
REVENUE & TAXATION / MUNICIPAL FINANCE
San Francisco Property Owners Rip House Flippers Tax on November Ballot (San Francisco Business Times)
The measure, placed on the ballot by supervisors John Avalos, David Campos,Jane Kim and Eric Mar, is designed to deter house flipping, the practice of buying, renovating and then quickly selling property. The measure’s sponsors said that flipping is reducing the amount of rental properties on the market at a time when demand is increasing.
The tax rate, should it get approved at the ballot in November, starts at 24 percent, if the sale takes place in the first year, and falls to 14 percent after five years.
City of Glendale Sees Rise in Sales Tax Revenue (Glendale News-Press)
Sales tax revenue generated by Downtown Glendale's biggest shopping centers increased by nearly $1 million in the past five years, something city officials attribute to a series of openings by sought-after restaurants and stores.
Editorial: Placentia Right to Scrap Tax (OC Register)
The Placentia City Council made the right call this week when members decided not to move forward with a plan to ask voters to impose a half-cent sales tax on themselves in the face of a potentially widening budget shortfall.
La Habra is the only city in Orange County that imposes a local sales tax on its residents. Stanton may join them, as a similar proposal to add a one-cent sales tax was passed on to voters by the Stanton City Council this week.
Santa Monica Tax Hike Opponents Say Measure Will Lead to Massive Development (Santa Monica Lookout)
Is the real estate tax increase proposal on the November ballot an opportunity to fund affordable housing programs in Santa Monica, or is it a contrived attempt at “over-development”?
Those are the official arguments for and against the measure, which calls for the tax on real estate transactions of at least $1 million to go up from $3 per $1,000 to $9 per $1,000.
A companion measure says the money earned through the tax hike should support Santa Monica’s affordable housing program, although it is only an advisory proposal
Citizens Group Forms to Support SLO Sales Tax Measure (San Luis Obispo Tribune)
A group of advocates in favor of a ballot measure that seeks to reauthorize San Luis Obispo’s half-percent sales tax increase has emerged — launching a citizen-based campaign to pass it.
The SLO Citizens for Measure G committee is composed of business leaders, past city advisory board members and elected officials, and other key players in the community representing environmental interests.
GRANTS & FUNDING
Rocklin Lands Major Grant for its Parks (Placer Herald)
Rocklin leaders learned July 1 that the city will receive a $310,025 state grant to help improve and rehabilitate its parks. The funds were awarded by the California Department of Housing and Community Development. According to Rocklin Economic Growth Manager Karen Garner, the city will use most of the money to assist with the development of park area and open space in the Quarry District, a part of downtown Rocklin near City Hall.
Dealing with the Lasting Effects of a Trespass Grow (The Mendocino Beacon)
Mendocino Redwood Company is one of a few property owners with the resources and mindset to do something about these wastelands. Cost of cleanup including toxic chemicals can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Last Saturday, in order to demonstrate the problem and a kind of solution, MRC took journalists and politicos into the woods to watch the clean-up team the company has tapped do this work.
Laguna Serious when it comes to Homeless Solution (Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot)
Laguna Beach, with its desirable weather and surroundings as well as bohemian vibe, has always been a draw for the homeless. But the issue of homelessness in the city has come to the fore in a new way: A proposal for permanent housing with support services in the canyon being is discussed, and Laguna Beach leaders and affordable-housing providers are seriously looking to find a way to balance compassion with public safety.
City Hall Compromise on Housing Ballot Measures (San Francisco Chronicle)
A controversial proposal pushed by affordable housing activists and designed to ensure that 30 percent of San Francisco's future housing units are within reach of low- and middle-income residents will not go before voters in November, after Supervisor Jane Kim and Mayor Ed Lee reached a compromise Thursday.
Bell Backs Plan for Immigration Detainee Shelter in City (Los Angeles Times)
Council members of the city that just a few years ago was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy after a massive corruption scandal voted on Wednesday night to support the Salvation’s Army request for federal funding for the project.
The vote came after a spirited debate among residents over whether housing the detainees made sense. Many supported the idea on humanitarian grounds. Others, however, said it sent the wrong message.
City Preps in Case of Disaster (Moorpark Acorn)
The 450- page document provides city officials with detailed instructions on what to do during and after dangerous and potentially dangerous situations such as floods, fires, earthquakes, power outages, shootings, terrorist attacks and in-air aircraft collisions in Moorpark and the surrounding areas.
It will take the place of the Emergency Management System Multihazard Functional Plan, the previous plan, which was created in 1993 and updated in 2004.
City Water Conservation Measures Lackluster Compared to State Regulations (Turlock Journal)
While the State Water Resources Control Board recently approved an emergency regulation to allow local governments and agencies to fine citizens for excessive outdoor water use, local citizens will not be affected by the new measures since the City of Turlock instituted its own water conservation rules more than 20 years ago.
Alameda County Water District Drought Surcharge Takes Effect (San Jose Mercury)
The district has been reviewing the drought's effects on its financial situation and what methods could be used to offset them for the past six months -- since Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of drought emergency in January. Water district officials continued to tell residents who had gathered to dissuade the board from voting in favor of the drought surcharge, that the district was using a multi-pronged approach that included budget cuts, reducing expenses, deferring capital projects, new debt issuance, and using a reserve fund to stabilize water rates.
Stadium Subsidies are Financed by Pension Cuts (San Francisco Chronicle)
As states and cities grapple with budget shortfalls, many are betting big on an unproven formula: Slash public employee pension benefits and public services while diverting the savings into lucrative subsidies for professional sports teams.
Detroit this week became the most prominent example of this trend. Officials in the financially devastated city said their plan to slash public workers' pension benefits will move forward. On the same day, the billionaire owners of the Detroit Red Wings, the Ilitch family, unveiled details of an already-approved taxpayer-financed stadium for the professional hockey team.
IN OTHER CITY NEWS
Mayor Garcetti to Talk with U.S. Olympic Officials About 2024 Bid (Los Angeles Times)
Mayor Eric Garcetti is set to meet with U.S. Olympic Committee officials to discuss Los Angeles' potential bid for the 2024 Summer Games.
The USOC has invited representatives from the four remaining American candidates -- which also include Boston, San Francisco and Washington -- to its Colorado headquarters for what are being called low-key, informative sessions.