Local News RoundUp
The Local News RoundUp is the League's twice-weekly news clipping service of articles related to California cities and local government.
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May 26, 2016
Opponents rally against Brown’s plan to exempt affordable housing (Sacramento Business Journal)
Gov. Jerry Brown wants to allow certain projects with onsite affordable housing to sidestep requirements for conditional use permits, planned unit development permits and other local approvals. But labor and environmental groups oppose the governor’s plan because they say it “blows a hole” in the California Environmental Quality Act and would restrict urban planning.
Assembly Democrats seek money for child care, affordable housing (KQED)
includes $650 million for affordable housing programs — an amount Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon acknowledges is about half of the housing funds the Democratic Caucus originally wanted.
The hourly wage needed to rent a two-bedroom apartment is rising (Citylab)
For poor Americans, even a one-bedroom place is out of reach. There’s not a single state in the U.S. where a minimum-wage worker can comfortably afford a one-bedroom by working a 40-hour week.
Kottinger Gardens officially underway (The Livermore Independent)
After many years of planning, groundbreaking was held last Friday at Kottinger Gardens, an affordable housing development for seniors. It will provide 185 brand new affordable rental homes on two sites that had previously provided 90.
TRANSPORTATION / INFRASTRUCTURE
Still no deal in sight for state road funding (Los Angeles Times)
Long-stalled plans to boost funding for road repairs in California won’t happen as part of the state budget deal, the leader of the Assembly budget committee said.
San Luis Obispo County loses $45.1M in state transportation funds (Paso Robles Daily News)
“This cut of $45.1 M in funding to our region is on top of the $15 million in cuts and delays from prior STIP reductions late last year,” said San Luis Obispo Council of Governments Executive Director Ron De Carli. “This is further proof that state transportation funding cannot be relied on to solve our local transportation needs.”
Apple explores charging stations for electric vehicles (Reuters)
For more than a year, Silicon Valley has been buzzing about Apple's plan to build an electric car. Now the company appears to be laying the groundwork for the infrastructure and related software crucial to powering such a product.
Maps: Watch colorful bursts of commuters from each U.S. county (Citylab)
The Michigan-based data enthusiast Mark Evans uses Census data to show Americans’ work-related commutes as bursts of colorful dots, contracting into and expanding outwards from each county in the U.S.
CAP AND TRADE
State cap-and-trade auction falls far short, hurting bullet train (Los Angeles Times)
The latest auction in California’s cap-and-trade market for greenhouse gases fell sharply below expectations, as buyers purchased just 2% of the carbon credits whose sale funds a variety of state programs -- notably, the proposed high-speed rail project.
WATER / DROUGHT
House moves on California water bills, but toward what end? (McClatchy)
The House of Representatives passed yet another set of controversial California water provisions, sending a political signal and, perhaps, putting pressure on the Senate. Important differences, though, still split the state, and lawmakers have yet to show they can get out of their respective trenches and resolve them. For now, a final deal seems far off.
House wading into California's long-running water war (AP)
Wading into a longstanding California water war, the House Wednesday endorsed a Republican plan to shift more water to San Joaquin Valley farmers and cut the flow for threatened fish and growers in another part of the state.
Meet the newest soldiers in California’s drought battles (Good)
Mendocino County’s Fetzer Vineyard is currently partnering with Chilean company BioFiltro to install the first-ever worm-based wastewater disposal program in America. A massive “treatment box” filled with 12,000 worms per cubic yard will be installed on the property, and wastewater will then be sprayed into the box for the worms to clean. The process will take roughly four hours, and can be done with almost zero outside influence, including electricity.
Rising reality (San Francisco Chronicle)
Fifty years ago, Bay Area residents rallied around the call to save San Francisco Bay. Public action on an unprecedented scale reversed development tides that for more than a century had covered shallow waters with land for industrial parks and housing tracts, roadways and garbage dumps. Now the challenge is more profound: to accommodate the bay’s impending expansion as it rises because of our warming planet. And to accomplish that in a way that won’t put our human and environmental resources at risk.
Inglewood cooked its books to lure NFL team, former accounting manager says (Los Angeles Times)
The city allegedly used restricted federal and state grant money to pay for daily operational costs and used money seized from federal crime enforcement operations that was meant to cover police-related expenses. Defendant Mayor Butts said that the claims were "totally baseless and without any merit."
Moving company fights city sanctions (The San Diego Union-Tribune)
MEK Enterprises completed more than 3,000 projects for the city. Some jobs were as simple as moving one work station. Sometimes the firm would relocate an entire department. The relationship soured in 2013, owner Marc Kranz said, after he sought an annual cost-of-living adjustment permitted under his contract.
City prosecutor measure may face hurdles (The Riverside Press-Enterprise)
The election day prospects may not be bright for a Riverside ballot measure that would create a city prosecutor’s office. A campaign is raising money to fight the initiative, which has no organized support. And city budget problems have residents and local officials wary of funding a new program.
MUNICIPAL FINANCE / REVENUE & TAXATION
City council may do financial audit (The Riverside Press-Enterprise)
Moreno Valley city officials may audit their financial practices following a councilman’s call for a review and the discovery that an error led to council members being overpaid health benefits for almost a decade.
JOBS / ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Faraday Future seeks approval to build electric cars in California (Los Angeles Times)
Having broken ground only a month ago on a $1-billion car factory in Nevada, Faraday could add a Vallejo facility to its production plans. Pending the outcome of a city council vote Tuesday, the car company could take over a 157-acre parcel on the area's Mare Island and begin building cars within two years.
Opinion: San Francisco’s increasing dominance over U.S. innovation (Citylab)
Starting out with just four percent of U.S. patents in 1976, the Bay Area topped New York by 1995 with around 10 percent of patents. By 2008, the Bay Area comprised 16 percent of all U.S. innovation—nearly double the innovation of the next largest metro. New York experienced a steady decline in innovation over this period, while the eight other metros—including Boston, L.A., Chicago, and Seattle—saw their shares stagnate.
South City pins hopes on town’s first-ever ‘Comic Con’ event (San Francisco Examiner)
South San Francisco is poised to host its first-ever comic book convention next month in what town officials are hoping will be a boon to the local economy.
Brewers toast new rules (The Riverside Press-Enterprise)
A temporary ban on new breweries and distilleries will expire on Friday after the Temecula City Council this week approved new rules that standardize regulations for the rapidly-growing industry.
Whittier officials celebrate future shopping center on old car dealership site (Whittier Daily News)
New stores, including Orchard Supply Hardware and Home Goods, soon will be going up on a nine-acre site of two former auto dealerships that has been vacant since 2009.
CITY PLANNING / DEVELOPMENT
City managers predict new boom to rumble through southwest county (Valley News)
Brace yourself, Southwest Riverside County, another massive development boom is about to rumble through the region. “I think you’re hearing the same thing throughout the region,” Rick Dudley, Murrieta city manager, concluded. “It is going gangbusters.” But all the news wasn’t good. The five managers admitted their cities will struggle financially to provide the police, fire, traffic circulation and other basic services sought by the flood of new residents, workers and tourists.
Calling planning ‘sexy,’ city officials want a better Long Beach Blvd (Long Beach Press-Telegram)
A new strategy for attracting private investments to Long Beach Boulevard in the Central area of the city won the City Council’s approval during a meeting in which one councilwoman also remarked that, yes, planning can be sexy.
Redwood City allows for more affordable housing (The San Mateo Daily Journal)
The Redwood City Council amended the Downtown Precise Plan to include an additional 162 units of affordable housing as the plan nears its cap of 2,500 new apartments. There are already 2,336 new units of housing downtown that have already been approved or under consideration, including 213 affordable housing units to be built in four projects.
Del Rey Oaks approves RV resort, won't send it to voters (Monterey County Weekly)
The City Council unanimously approved an initiative measure that will allow the planned Monument RV Resort—which is proposed on 54 acres of Del Rey Oaks' land on the former Fort Ord—to move forward without the environmental review required under the California Environmental Quality Act.
ENERGY / SUSTAINABILITY
Study: Monterey Bay Community Power feasible, solar development may take time (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Marin Clean Energy, the state’s first publicly owned electricity retailer emphasizing renewable energy sources, is winning over skeptics. Growing from 6,000 to 174,000 customers in six years, the energy provider is hearing from neighboring cities that want in and serving as a role model for locals who want to launch in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties.
Audit shows city's lack of oversight caused overcharging, potential fraud in smaller jobs (Long Beach Gazettes)
A system to contract out smaller building and maintenance projects through the city’s Public Works Department received almost no oversight over the last 12 years, resulting in consistent overcharges and the potential for fraud, according to City Auditor Laura Doud.
Sunnyvale opens first new fire station in more than 50 years (San Jose Mercury News)
The 18,168-square-foot station includes a 50-person classroom for training, living quarters and an adjacent 25-yard tactical shooting range. The shooting range is a unique feature for a fire station as the city's department of public safety trains its personnel as police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians.
City of Monterey and state of California look to regulate safety at pet boarding facilities (Monterey County Weekly)
Last July, an electrical fire smoldered in the wall of Home Away From Home Pet Spa, a pet boarding facility in Monterey, and filled a back room with smoke. While the fire did no structural damage to the building, the smoke asphyxiated and killed 15 dogs, leaving pet owners heartbroken and a small business proprietor devastated. Since that time, Monterey city staff looked for ways to improve safety in animal boarding facilities.
West Hollywood unveils West Coast's 1st automatic parking structure (KFSN)
The city unveiled the West Coast's first fully automated parking structure. Drivers simply pull into a machine, lock their cars and take a ticket. The robotic garage does the heavy lifting. Mechanical shuttles move the car in and out of the $18 million computerized car park.
More money demanded for Merced Youth Council (Merced Sun-Star)
The proposed budget for Merced’s Youth Council is $13,000, up $500 from last year. Tatiana Vizcaino-Stewart, the manager of Building Healthy Communities, said the amount the city is willing to invest for the Youth Council is still insufficient.
City officials and community foundation to collaborate on converting vacant property (The San Mateo Daily Journal)
Work will soon begin converting a rundown, empty home some San Bruno residents have considered an eyesore and nuisance into a neighborhood park, under a decision by city officials.