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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August 1, 2014
Editorial: In California, a Way Out of the Medical Marijuana Morass (Los Angeles Times)
Senate Bill 1262 is still a work in progress, but with some tweaks it would be a huge improvement over the current situation. It was introduced in February by Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) and sponsored by the League of California Cities and the Police Chiefs Assn. The two groups have traditionally opposed efforts to legitimize the cannabis industry but came to realize that a well-crafted statewide regulatory structure could help cities and police manage the proliferation of medicinal marijuana more effectively and could serve as a framework for regulation if California follows the lead of Colorado and Washington and legalizes the recreational use of the drug.
Forty More Arrested at Santa Ana Medical Marijuana Dispensaries (New Santa Ana)
The Santa Ana Police Department once again raided many of Santa Ana’s medical marijuana dispensaries, arresting over 40 people, last night according to OC-NORML’s Facebook page.
The SAPD made 42 arrests after similar raids in mid-July this year, according to the O.C. Register.
The City of Santa Ana banned medical marijuana dispensaries in 2007, but that was ridiculous given that the people of California approved the use of medical marijuana via a statewide ballot measure, Prop. 15, back in 1996.
State Appeals Court Delivers Win for High-Speed Rail (KQED)
In a Thursday evening ruling, California’s 3rd Court of Appeals overturned two November 2013 decisions by a Sacramento judge blocking the project from tapping into $8 billion in state bond money, and throwing out the proposed San Francisco-to-Los Angeles rail line’s business plan.
ENERGY & UTILITIES
Wind Turbine Going Up in Gonzales (Monterey County Herald)
The wind blows steady in Gonzales and it will soon turn the blades of a 350-foot-tall electric wind turbine that will help power a vegetable processing and cooling plant.
The turbine is the latest component of the city's Community Sustainablity Initiative. It is being constructed on city land and the power it generates will be used by Taylor Farms. The turbine will supply 50 percent of the plant's power needs, Truszkowski said.
Oil Industry’s Use of Water Must Be Clear (San Luis Obispo Tribune)
Oil companies have an available alternative that would not require them to compete with farms and households. With each barrel of oil they extract, they also recover up to 10 or more barrels of water. This “produced water” adds up to more than 130 billion gallons per year.
Some companies are already reusing produced water in their oilfields, or even selling it for irrigation use, but large volumes are simply poured into open ponds to evaporate. Without any reporting requirements or public disclosure, it is impossible to know how much water is being reused. The public has a right to know about the oil industry’s use of water.
Frazier: State Won’t Dictate Fate of Vacaville Parking Lots (Fairfield Daily Republic)
Assemblyman Jim Frazier says he won’t let the state Department of Finance determine the fate of Vacaville parking lots paid for with redevelopment funds.
The state agency sent a June 27 letter to Vacaville about 11 parking lots that the Department of Finance said did not qualify as governmental use and advised the city’s options are to sell them or obtain a compensation agreement with affected tax entities for the properties.
Civic San Diego Looks for New Cash Source (San Diego Union-Tribune)
Civic San Diego, the city's former redevelopment arm, needs cash.
It lost its guaranteed share of property taxes in 2011-12 when the state abolished all 400 local redevelopment agencies, including San Diego's. And it's remaining in business only by having access for a limited time to the same source to wind down its old projects.
REVENUE & TAXATION / MUNICIPAL FINANCE
As Public Safety, Pension Costs Rise, Desert Cities Look to Sales Tax Increases (Riverside Press-Enterprise)
The proposed 1 percent sales tax increase is geared toward covering rising costs for police and fire services, which the city contracts out to the county. Some of the estimated $3 million in annual revenue would go toward parks and funding a new library. City leaders see the increased park and library funding as a critical way to sell the tax to voters.
Desert Hot Springs also plans to look at a similar proposal at a City Council meeting next week, despite voters at the June primary narrowly rejecting a parcel tax increase that would have helped fund the city’s Police Department.
Milpitas Council to Review Card Room Ballot Measure for November (San Jose Mercury)
Milpitas City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 5 will consider placing a measure on the Nov. 4, 2014 ballot that if approved by voters would allow a card room within the city as well as impose a related gambling tax on the operator.
TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE
L.A. Street Repair Agency Riddled with Problems, Audit Finds (Los Angeles Times)
City auditors revealed Thursday that the bureau charged with fixing and maintaining Los Angeles' streets is beset with problems that include failing to collect or spend hundreds of millions of dollars, keeping shoddy records and neglecting to address the most heavily trafficked roads first.
The woes of L.A. streets are already obvious to anyone on wheels or foot: Streets so pockmarked or broken that the city gives them a D or F grade make up nearly 40% of city roadways. Mike Eveloff, president of the advocacy group Fix the City, argued that the battered roads imposed a "hidden tax" on Angelenos, who end up paying for cars damaged by potholes and other untallied expenses.
Airbnb and Its Hosts Campaign to Legalize Short-Term Home Rending in San Francisco (San Francisco Business Times)
Airbnb, along with a coalition of hosts and other supporters, launched a campaign Thursday calling for passage of San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu's pending proposal to legalize and regulate short term renting of apartments in the city, but they were also calling for significant changes to that same legislation.
San Bernardino Bankruptcy Timeline (San Bernardino Sun)
July 29: Judge Jury refuses to let the firefighters union sue in state court over alleged violations of state law and the city Charter by city officials, although she says attorneys can make the arguments to her and she leaves open the possibility that she’ll lift the stay later. The union contends that cuts to the Fire Department, including layoffs, were violations. The city has agreed to hold off on those cuts until after further hearings.
Fresno Buying 100 On-Body Cameras for Officers (Visalia Times-Delta)
Fresno officials have approved the purchase of 100 on-body cameras for police officers.
The total cost of $159,732 — with $70,000 from a state grant and the rest from the city — includes video storage.
Chief Jerry Dyer says the cameras, which will arrive in a month, will record officers’ interaction with citizens.
IN OTHER CITY NEWS
Lancaster Lauded for Community Service Efforts (Our Weekly)
Lancaster is also heralding a number of community improvement projects which were showcased last month as part of the League of California Cities’ California City Solutions. The community projects were recognized as an example of successful neighborhood-improvement plans and were listed among the state’s most innovative programs. The League of Cities said the Lancaster programs have worked well to encourage residents and volunteers to improve the safety of residents.