Local News RoundUp
The Local News RoundUp is the League's daily news clipping service of articles related to California cities and local government.
Receive the Newsletter
Once you click "Subscribe" you will be sent a email to complete the subscription process.
Unsubscribe from the list
Oct. 8, 2015
ENERGY & SUSTAINABILITY
Gov. Brown signs climate change bill to spur renewable energy, efficiency standards (Los Angeles Times)
Under the legislation, which builds upon standards already on the books, California will need to generate half of its electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2030. At the same time, the state will need to double energy efficiency in homes, offices and factories.
California's new climate law encourages electricity industry to compete against Big Oil (AP)
"It basically tells the electric industry to go eat the oil industry's lunch," said Max Baumhefner, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.
WATER / DROUGHT
Upcoming El Nino will soak Southern California into 2016: Scripps (KNSD)
There is a 95 percent chance the upcoming El Nino will soak San Diego and the rest of Southern California through spring 2016, weather experts told San Diego city leaders at a preparation hearing.
El Niño cometh: Meteorologists forecast winter storms of historic proportions on the Central Coast (Santa Maria Sun)
Opinion: El Niño is no substitute for water management (San Francisco Chronicle)
Drought relocation funds approved (The Porterville Recorder)
The California Department of Housing and Community Development has awarded $4 million from the Community Development Block Grant Program to the cities of Lindsay and Dinuba and $1 million to the Housing Authority of Tulare County.
(Video) As drought-desperate California sinks, the risk of flood is rising (KQED)
Delta water tunnel project revised again, but concerns linger (Water Deeply)
The project is important because about half of California’s freshwater flows through the delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas. The delta supplies about 13 percent of the total water used throughout California, providing at least part of the drinking water for 22 million people and irrigating 3 million acres of farmland, mostly in the San Joaquin Valley.
Scientists question twin tunnels report (The Stockton Record)
An independent team of scientists renewed its criticism of Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels plan this week, saying that the massive documents justifying the project are “incomplete and opaque.”
Tuolumne County leaders back CCWD request for New Melones storage (The Sonora Union Democrat)
Tuolumne County leaders are supporting Calaveras County Water District’s request for a Warren Act contract to store water in New Melones Reservoir, saying the additional storage would provide a much-needed backup source for the region.
Manhattan Beach council opposes desal plant in El Segundo (Hermosa Beach Easy Reader)
The City Council asked staff to prepare a letter opposing the proposal to build an ocean water desalination plant in El Segundo. The plant has been suggested by the West Basin Municipal Water District.
Report: Drought drains non-profit resources in the Valley (The Foothills Sun-Gazette)
A first-of-its-kind report reveals 95 percent of San Joaquin Valley nonprofit organizations rate the impact of California’s drought on their clients and their organizations as moderate or severe.
Lemoore gets water orders from state (The Hanford Sentinel)
Amid growing pressure from the state, Lemoore is preparing to push for more conservation and higher water rates.
Poway continues its water-wise ways (Pomerado News)
Water usage was down 35.4 percent when compared to the same month of 2013, according to Assistant City Manager Tina White.
Purple pipe project progressing in Pleasanton (The Livermore Independent)
The project will install roughly 10 miles of new purple pipeline that will deliver recycled water for irrigation purposes. The net savings in potable water for the entire City of Pleasanton will be a full 10%.
Grant approved for golf course improvements (Needles Desert Star)
The city received a $500,000 grant that will mean removing turf from the golf course and turning it into more of a target course.
Milpitas council proposes 57% water rate increase over two years (Milpitas Post)
Those rates -- a jump of 57 percent for the average Milpitas household -- would take effect in phases, starting on Jan. 1, 2016 and then on July 1, 2016, which is the start of the city's 2016-17 fiscal year.
Hanford proposes higher water rates (The Hanford Sentinel)
After hearing several options, the council asked staff to move forward with a plan that includes three 9 percent rate increases over the next five years.
Editorial: Water vigilance must continue (The Stockton Record)
Now that the 100- and 90-degree days are almost finished for the year, this is no time to slip back into bad habits.
ELECTIONS & REDISTRICTING
San Jose council makes sweeping changes to election law (San Jose Mercury News)
The City Council voted to eliminate a voluntary spending cap for mayoral and council candidates that many said had been rendered meaningless by court decisions that have freed independent political groups from any such restrictions.
PENSIONS / LABOR
Glendale to end health benefit for retired city workers (Glendale News-Press)
More than 700 retired city employees will soon no longer have their insurance policies subsidized, a move that will potentially save Glendale hundreds of millions of dollars.
Orange County municipal retirees earn way more than working Orange Countians: Data (OC Weekly)
Full-career retirees from Orange County municipalities received average annual retirements from the state pension system that were 54 percent greater than the average salary of still-working area residents in 2014.
Why did Industry give its former manager and critic a $500K retirement deal? (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)
The city of Industry has handed its former city manager a severance package worth nearly half a million dollars, leading a local government expert to conclude the city is “buying the silence of a former whistleblower.”
Reserve fund proposal voted down City Council Budget Committee (City News Service)
A proposal by the San Diego mayor's office to create a reserve fund to cover unexpected increases in pension contributions was voted down Wednesday by the City Council's Budget Committee.
Editorial: The public pension premium (The Riverside Press-Enterprise)
Retired public employees who worked a full career receive pensions worth an average of 20 percent more than the average Californian’s salary, according to Transparent California, a website of the Nevada Policy Research Institute.
Editorial: Pension reform, take 3 (The Riverside Press-Enterprise)
Pension reformers Chuck Reed, the Democratic former San Jose mayor, and Carl DeMaio, the Republican former San Diego city councilman, are nothing if not doggedly determined.
L.A. earthquake retrofit bill passes key hurdle at City Hall (Los Angeles Times)
If approved, the law proposed by Mayor Eric Garcetti would be the most sweeping earthquake safety measure in California history. It would require retrofits of as many as 13,500 wooden apartment buildings and 1,500 brittle concrete buildings.
Despite drought, agencies train to fight floods (Merced Sun-Star)
Employees from Merced city and county, Fresno, Los Banos, Stanislaus County and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection practiced filling sandbags only one-third full, laying them to create a watertight fit, controlling overtopping of a levee or stream, and protecting against erosion.
Governor vetoes bill limiting surplus military equipment (AP)
AB36 by Democratic Assemblywoman Nora Campos of San Jose was one of several bills lawmakers approved this year in response to concerns about police activities. It would have required local governments to hold a public hearing before acquiring the equipment.
Private database lets police skirt license plate data limits (AP)
For years, police nationwide have used patrol car-mounted scanners to automatically photograph and log the whereabouts of peoples' cars, uploading the images into databases they've used to identify suspects in crimes from theft to murder. Nowadays, they are also increasingly buying access to expansive databases run by private companies whose repo men and tow-truck drivers photograph license plates of vehicles every day.
Menlo Park: Police department earns safety award (Palo Alto Daily News)
Efforts by the police department to make the Belle Haven neighborhood safer over the past couple of years are paying off. The force on Sept. 30 received the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence in Public Safety at the League of California Cities' Annual Conference.
State OKs burying nuclear waste at beach (The San Diego Union-Tribune)
State regulators have approved a controversial plan to bury nuclear waste in concrete bunkers within 125 feet of a seawall and the beach at the shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant.
20 marijuana stores seek San Jose's blessing (San Jose Mercury News)
Revolution Health Center is among just 20 pot collectives on track to satisfy San Jose's strict new rules for medical marijuana outlets -- only about one-quarter the number that existed a year ago. The rules restrict pot collectives to a few industrial areas, which will force many to move and require them to grow their own weed or get it from a single local source.
Marijuana delivery services in L.A. could live or die by new laws (LA Weekly)
A proposed initiative by ReformCA, which filed its initial language yesterday, asks voters to legalize recreational pot and prohibit cities from banning delivery of medical marijuana "by licensed providers ... to qualified patients for their personal medical use."
Gov. Jerry Brown approves new limits on paparazzi drones (Los Angeles Times)
The bill, AB 856, changes the definition of a "physical invasion of privacy" to include sending a drone into the airspace above someone's land in order to make a recording or take a photo.
TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE
Five rail lines Metro could build with $120 billion in new sales tax revenue (Los Angeles Times)
A bill that Gov. Jerry Brown signed Wednesday will allow Los Angeles County transportation officials to seek a sales tax increase in 2016 that could raise as much as $120 billion for local roads, freeways and mass transit.
Boxer: Pass highway bill to keep trains running (McClatchy D.C.)
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said she would not support extending the year-end deadline for railroads to implement a collision-avoidance system if Congress doesn’t approve a six-year transportation bill that’s languished for the past two months.
Governor Jerry Brown signs legislation creating California Cultural Districts (Santa Monica Daily Press)
Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law Assembly Bill 189, a measure empowering the California Arts Council to designate areas as Cultural Districts. The districts will be approved by the Council through a competitive application process.
Short-term rentals pay $16.4M in hotel and sales taxes (The San Diego Union-Tribune)
San Diego city’s 6,116 short-term rentals paid nearly $16.4 million in hotel and sales taxes in the fiscal 2015 year, a new study shows.
CITY PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT
Commission takes up fierce battle over Newport Banning Ranch plan (KABC)
Hundreds packed into Wednesday's California Coastal Commission meeting over the controversial Newport Banning Ranch plan for 400 acres in the Newport Beach area. "It is the last large piece of unprotected coastal open space remaining in all of Southern California," said Steve Ray, executive director for the Banning Ranch Conservancy.
Former Newport Beach City Hall will become a luxury hotel, after state gives its blessing (Orange County Register)
The California Coastal Commission voted 10-2 in favor of a plan from R.D. Olson Development, which proposes to build a 130-room luxury hotel with a restaurant, fitness center, spa, and meeting rooms at the entrance of Lido Village.
New development for city’s redevelopment money (The Galt Herald)
Galt’s interim city manager said the city might have to play a $1 million “shell game” and pay that amount to the state of California to possibly recover $9 million in former redevelopment funds.
Palm Springs leaders defend land sales (The Palm Springs Desert Sun)
Palm Springs leaders defended their land-sale procedures after a city-commissioned review of the process found violations of state law. The transgressions — which could result in the revocation of a sale — came during a complex period of change in order to comply with state regulations that required the dissolution of local redevelopment agencies, city leaders said.
LAND USE & ZONING
Reducing drugs, prostitution via zoning: Costa Mesa's plan to shutter problem motels (The Orange County Register)
After two decades of a highly-publicized fight with those businesses and numerous attempts to shutter them, Costa Mesa officials think they finally have a plan to make some of those motels disappear: property zoning.
Arcadia one step closer to addressing ‘mansionization’ issue (The Pasadena Star-News)
Officials announced a settlement had been reached between all parties, likely paving the way for the city to resume its residential zoning code update and to include the Highland Oaks neighborhood in a citywide historic preservation survey.
Dublin: Council OKs deal trading more housing for school land (Bay Area News Group)
The proposal, which was rejected 3-2 by the Planning Commission, will provide the school district with a free parcel of land in Jordan Ranch to build a much-needed middle school for 950 students, while giving a developer the go-ahead to construct 150 homes nearby.
Alameda: Affordable housing part of Alameda Point development (Contra Costa Times)
The 128 units of family and senior housing will be built along Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway between Main Street and Ferry Point Way at the former Alameda Naval Air Station. The initial phase of the ambitious project, which the City Council unanimously approved in June, also calls for 182 multifamily units and 15,000 square feet of ground floor retail on a parcel adjacent to the affordable housing site.
Housing-related measures dominate November ballot (San Francisco Examiner)
Initiatives that range from green-lighting the creation of thousands of homes to temporarily pulling the plug on certain developments to more strictly regulating short-term rentals are on the Nov. 3 ballot, offering voters a variety of issues that can impact the city’s housing crisis.
El Cerrito sees high demand for new affordable units (Contra Costa Times)
In another sign of how the Bay Area housing demand is far outstripping supply, a new 57-unit affordable complex received about 1,200 applications and is now filled a month after completion.
Oakland: Officials protest decline in Section 8 subsidies (Bay Area News Group)
Two city council members are asking federal housing officials to reexamine a formula that would cause lower subsidies for Oakland residents with Section 8 vouchers.
Modular apartments hoisted into place in midtown Sacramento (The Sacramento Bee)
Crews began work Wednesday on the installation phase of the area’s latest apartment project, a 118-unit, six-story building, called Eviva Midtown, at 16th and N streets. It’s billed as the first pre-fabricated, modular apartment building in the region.
Berkeley’s soda tax boosts retail prices of sugary drinks, study confirms (UC Berkeley News)
Not long after Berkeley became the first city in the country to levy an excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, questions arose about whether the move would have its desired effect by increasing the retail price of soda. The latest signs, coming from a new study by UC Berkeley researchers, say yes.