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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January 28, 2015
Lancaster Officials Aim for Stiffer Fines to Support Law Enforcement Efforts (CBS Los Angeles)
In what officials say is an “effort to preserve the safety of its residents and businesses,” the City Council is considering an initiative to counteract changes to state law that mandates certain criminal offenses must now be charged as misdemeanors.
As a result of voters passing Proposition 47 in November, fewer offenders convicted of theft, shoplifting, receipt of stolen property, and other crimes have resulted are being prosecuted or serving time in jail, according to city officials.
Under the city’s proposed Administrative Citation Program, local law enforcement will work to deter such crimes by the issuance of a $500 fine for the first offense, and a $1,000 fine for every offense thereafter.
County to Spend More Money on Jails, Not Services (East Bay Express)
Alameda County continues to invest heavily in jail cells while failing to put public safety funds toward critical social services for the formerly incarcerated.
MASSAGE THERAPY REGULATION
Pleasant Hill Sets Massage Parlor Permit Fee (Contra Costa Times)
Massage business applicants must pay $230 for a new permit that grants the police chief broad powers to close businesses where employees allegedly have engaged in prostitution. The City Council on Monday set the fee and approved the ordinance creating the permit, which gives the police chief authority to suspend or revoke the permit if illegal activity allegedly took place in the establishment, even if no one is prosecuted or convicted, and even if the owner was unaware of it.
Airbnb Under More Pressure to Pay S.F. Back Taxes (San Francisco Gate)
The San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee on Wednesday night is set to vote on a resolution authored by state Sen. Mark Leno, Supervisor David Campos and committee member Meagan Levitan demanding that Airbnb immediately pay its back taxes, estimated at $25 million. As with a lot of what the DCCC does, passage wouldn’t actually do anything — but it would send a message.
S.F. Replacing Old Streetlights with Cheaper, Better LED Bulbs (San Francisco Gate)
The $11 million upgrade program, which covers less than half of the streetlights across the city, isn’t designed just to improve lighting, conserve energy and reduce maintenance costs. It also marks a move into the growing realm of networked “smart” electrical grids for a city that likes to bill itself as “the innovation capital of the world.”
A New Age for Sheltering in Oakland (East Bay Express)
Rebecca Katz, Oakland Animal Services' new director, hopes to overhaul the agency and curb unnecessary deaths — and she's partnering with vocal city critics to make it happen.
GRANTS & FUNDING
San Dimas Council Approves Federally Funded Projects (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)
After hearing an extensive staff report Tuesday night, the City Council unanimously approved 2015-16 proposed programs to be paid with $135,289 from federal Community Development Block Grant dollars.
JOBS & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
San Jose Mayor: Boom Has Created ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ (KQED)
Many, if not a majority of our residents, have enjoyed a significant uptick in their incomes, their job opportunities. but we know for far too many residents in San Jose who’ve been left behind in the boom, they’re simply facing higher housing costs, a more challenging difference between the skills that they need to have to survive in this economy and the skills that they currently have.
ELECTIONS & REDISTRICTING
Supervisors Approve Cap on Political Party Contributions (Seaside Courier)
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday to tentatively approve caps on the amount of money political parties can donate to candidates for county offices.
Pending a second vote, the limits would be $25,000 for supervisors races by district and $50,000 for countywide offices.
TRANSPORTATION & TRANSIT
Changes Needed In How We Pay for Road Repair (Woodland Daily Democrat)
Because California and the nation at large rely on fuel taxes to fund road repair. The owners of electric vehicles don't pay for repairing the roads they're helping destroy — even if it's only bit by bit.
That's why we need to change how we pay for roadwork. It should start at the federal level, but that's unlikely considering Congressional gridlock. So, it will probably be up to states like California to move away from gas taxes and toward a "fee based" system where motorists pay for the miles they drive.
City Seeks Feedback on Potential Rural Road Changes (Elk Grove Citizen)
There are fewer bicycle and walking trails in rural Elk Grove compared to the rest of the city. The same goes for the amount of sidewalk along Calvine, Bradshaw, Bond, and Grant Line roads that border rural Elk Grove. City officials want to know if these “mobility projects” should be developed in rural Elk Grove, and they plan to look to rural neighborhood associations for feedback.
TRAFFIC SAFETY & SERVICES
Red-Light Cameras Insanity is Disappearing (Hanford Sentinel)
For many California drivers, there have been few worse plagues than the red light cameras that once operated in more than 70 cities across the state.
Plan to Raise Shasta Dam Takes Hit After Federal Biologists Say They Can’t Support It (San Jose Mercury)
Less than three months after California voters approved a water bond that contains $2.7 billion for new water storage, one of the leading projects under consideration has suffered a potentially fatal setback.
Biologists at the main federal agency that oversees the Endangered Species Act have concluded they cannot endorse a $1.1 billion plan to raise the height of the dam at California's largest reservoir, Shasta Lake, because of its impact on endangered salmon.
REVENUE & TAXATION / MUNICIPAL FINANCE
Kern County Declares a Fiscal Emergency Amid Plunging Oil Prices (Los Angeles Times)
Kern County supervisors declared a state of fiscal emergency at their weekly meeting Tuesday in response to predictions of a massive shortfall in property tax revenues because of tanking oil prices. Surging oil supplies domestically and weak demand abroad have left Kern, the heart of oil production in California, facing what could be a $61-million hole in its budget once its fiscal year starts July 1, according to preliminary calculations from the county’s assessor-recorder office.
Sacramento Treasurer: Arena Borrowing Solid, but City Near Debt Limit (Sacramento Bee)
The new downtown Sacramento sports arena is under construction and city finance officials are confident they have a solid plan for the public’s contribution to the $477 million project. It’s the next few projects that could become a concern. City Treasurer Russ Fehr told the City Council on Tuesday night that it should use caution in taking on more debt for a long list of civic projects that are being proposed.
City Concerns Linger: Vagrancy vs. Homeless (Oakdale Leader)
The homeless problem in Oakdale is continuing to be an issue as Neighborhood Watch groups in the city are starting to speak out requesting action as city officials search for an answer. At the Jan. 20 Oakdale City Council meeting, Burchell Hill Neighborhood Watch Captain and head of the city’s graffiti abatement hotline, Mike Hancock, told the council he felt the vagrancy problem near the Stanislaus River was getting worse and damage being caused would affect the image of the city.
OPEN GOVERNMENT & TRANSPARENCY
A Note to Agencies: Keep Emails (San Luis Obispo Tribune)
Consider the email: In many situations, it has replaced the memo, the letter, even the phone conversation. That’s why it is critically important for governments at every level to retain email correspondence, just as they would preserve letters and other more traditional written communications.
Manteca Plans More Info for New Website (Manteca Bulletin)
The day is soon coming when you will be able to click on the city’s website and access the most up-to-date street map available.
It’s part of a sweeping technology initiative the city is continuing to implement that will allow council members to access paperless agendas via iPads, utility customers to pay automatically by phone much as they would a credit card bill, and make the public’s interaction with municipal staff more efficient, transparent, and effective.
City of Chico Launches Sustainability Website (Chico Enterprise-Record)
The city of Chico has launched a new sustainability website as an information hub for residents who want to reduce their environmental footprint, and business looking to implement sustainable business practices. Now accessible at www.chicosustainability.org, the website includes information on energy use reduction, pollution prevention, water conservation, transportation options and waste reduction.
CITY PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT
Inglewood Officials: Stadium Initiative will be on June 16 Ballot (Orange County Register)
Inglewood city officials said Tuesday that they expect an initiative asking voters to approve plans for a $2 billion, 80,000-seat NFL-ready stadium at Hollywood Park to be on the ballot in time for a June 16 election.