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NEW: Local News Round-Up Section Added to California Cities Advocate

Presenting a Collection of Daily Local Government News from Around the State

August 6, 2013
Visit the Local News Round-Up section for your daily dose of diverse local news and top stories that affect your city in one convenient location.
 
The new Local News Round-Up section will serve as a supplement to stories covered by the California Cities Advocate Newsletter.

ELECTIONS 
 
Election Lawsuits Spreading Across the State
A lawsuit that is forcing Escondido to switch to city council elections by district, rather than at-large voting, is part of a wave of similar litigation spreading across California — and at least five other San Diego County cities could be vulnerable. David Garrick, UT San Diego
 
PENSIONS 
 
San Bernardino City Council Expected to Approve Union Agreement
The City Council is expected to approve an agreement today that would end a longstanding contract dispute with the union representing its middle managers and end that union's objection to the city's eligibility for bankruptcy protection. Ryan Hagen, Redlands Daily Facts
 
WATER
 
Editorial: State Agency Must Do Its Job
Our view: Apparently it's like the wild, wild West in the foothills of Butte County. It's time for public officials to exert some control. Local authorities are getting some inconsistent, nonsensical answers from the state government over possible environmental degradation occurring in the Butte County foothills as a result of large-scale marijuana farms. Chico Enterprise-Record.
 
Study: Delta Tunnels Would Net $ 5 Billion Benefit
A new economic study estimates that Gov. Jerry Brown's multi-billion-dollar plan to build two massive tunnels to move water from Northern California down south would create a net benefit for Californians of roughly $5 billion. Paul Burgarino, Contra Costa Times.
 
Report Details Economic Benefits of Water Project
An economic report released by California officials says a proposed twin-tunnel water system coupled with a massive habitat restoration effort would generate billions of dollars in economic activity. AP News, Daily Republic.
 
Letter to the Editor: Should San Gabriel Have Local or Federal Control?
Staff Writer Steve Scauzillo, reporting on July 30 of a meeting in San Dimas on the San Gabriel Mountains, began his story: "Powerful water interests and conservative members of cities in Los Angeles County raised numerous concerns relative to the proposed legislation that would grant the National Park Service power to manage portions of the San Gabriel foothills, Puente Hills and San Gabriel and Rio Hondo rivers." San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
 
REDEVELOPMENT
 
Sonoma’s Suit Over RDA Funds
Sonoma’s lawsuit joins 130 others with similar complaints against the state DOF, namely that, following the letter of the dissolution law passed by the state legislature on February 1, 2012, redevelopment agencies with legitimate, contractual commitments for such things as the Springs sidewalk and streetlight project and millions of dollars of street maintenance and repair projects inside Sonoma city limits, were nonetheless told they had no legal or legitimate right to spend bond money on the purposes for which the bonds were sold. Sonoma Index-Tribune.
 
BANKRUPTCY
 
Chiang: Bad Info Led City to Ruin
Stockton is no Bell, a city rife with corruption and self-dealing that drove it to a financial crisis, state Controller John Chiang said Monday, making public a series of controversial audits. Rather, Stockton's collapse can be traced to poor decision-making based on ill-informed and weak accounting management, Chiang said. Scott Smith, Stockton Record.
 
REVENUE & TAXATION / FINANCE 
 
Petaluma City Council Considers Possible Tax Measure
In the past 10 years, voters have defeated two proposed tax increases, but city leaders are considering possibly trying a third measure, likely for the November 2014 ballot. Lori A. Carter, The Press Democrat.
 
After Cuts, Fitch Upgrades California Bond Rating to A
Fitch Ratings boosted California's bond rating to an `A' grade on Monday, revising the state's outlook to positive in another signal the financial industry approves of the state's efforts to trim spending and programs. AP News.
 
TRANSPORTATION
 
Feds Withhold More Than $2.2b in LA Metro Funds
The federal government is withholding more than $2.2 billion in grants from Los Angeles County's train and bus system because of labor union complaints over state pension reform. AP News.
 
Freeze in Transportation Funds Could Lead to Layoffs, Longer Waits
The Inland Empire's regional bus services may consider potential workforce and service reductions with the freeze of millions of dollars in transportation funds. Neil Nisperos, Redlands Daily Facts.
 
EMINENT DOMAIN
 
El Monte Considers Eminent Domain Plan for Underwater Mortgages
El Monte is considering a novel and controversial plan to take over underwater mortgages using its eminent domain power -- an idea highly unpopular among representatives of the financial industry but backed by anti-Wall Street groups. Alejandro Lazo, LA Times.
 
ENVIRONMENT
 
Waste Management Adds 11 New Trucks
Waste Management in Santa Maria recently added 11 new compressed natural gas-fueled waste and recycling collection vehicles to its fleet serving the unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County. Staff Report, Santa Maria Times.
 
Hearing Set for Santa Maria Energy Project
The hearing is to take public comments on the greenhouse gas emissions analysis of the air quality section of the environmental impact report for Santa Maria Energy’s oil and gas drilling and production plan, and Laguna County Sanitation District’s recycled water pipeline project. Brian Bullock, Santa Maria Times.
 
CORRECTIONS
 
Prison Policy is a Wild Card on Legislature’s Long To-Do List
Speaker John A. Pérez, in a news conference Monday morning, said it was unclear how, if at all, the Legislature will deal with the end-of-the-year Dec. deadline for the state to remove nearly 10,000 inmates from state lockups. Melanie Mason, LA Times.
 
HOUSING
 
Maybell Project in Palo Alto Could Land on Nov. 5 Ballot
The Palo Alto City Council has scheduled a special meeting Thursday to discuss potentially repealing its approval of a controversial affordable senior housing project at Maybell and Clemo Avenues or putting the decision in the hands of voters this November. Jason Green, SJ Mercury News.
 
Long Beach Housing Advocates Will Use Vote Delay to Mobilize Support
The Long Beach Planning Commission vote on the Housing Element, a state-required document that will shape future housing plans in the city, has been delayed from Aug. 15 to Sept. 5. The City Council is scheduled to vote on the document on Oct. 1. The Housing Element is a planning document required for all cities and counties by the California Department of Housing and Community Development. Those documents are updated every eight years and Long Beach is in the update process for the 2013-2021 cycle. Gregory Yee, Press-Telegram.
 
Housing Authority Pitching Affordable Housing Contracts
The Fresno Housing Authority is hosting three workshops in Fresno, Orange Cove and Mendota this month to educate small businesses about contract opportunities in the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Construction Project. Staff Report, The Business Journal.
 
MISCELLANEOUS
 
Garcetti Invites Mayors from L.A. County Cities to Share Thoughts
New Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti invited mayors from the 87 other cities in the county to his ceremonial residence, and 63 (including representatives of mayors) showed up. Garcetti said he planned to make such informal get-togethers a regular occurrence during his administration. Catherine Saillant, LA Times.


 
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