Index
Wednesday
Oct222014

POLITICS (State, Local): Local government, strong-mayor form of government: "Jerry Brown throws support behind strong-mayor systems" ....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Jerry Brown throws support behind strong-mayor systems" - From the Bee:

Gov. Jerry Brown Wednesday expressed his support for strong-mayor forms of government. While not directly endorsing Sacramento’s Measure L, the campaign behind the ballot measure described the statement as a boost to their effort.

“In a large, diverse city, there has to be a unifying force, and an elected mayor with executive authority fills that bill,” the governor said in a statement released by Measure L. “It’s more democratic for the people to elect the one who has the authority and is not just a figurehead.”

Brown has declined to throw his support behind most specific ballot measures around the state, instead choosing to focus on a state water bond and budget proposition on the November ballot.

Mayor Kevin Johnson, the lead proponent of the strong-mayor plan, said Brown “knows exactly how essential it is to have a city government work well.” “(The governor’s statement) is a huge boost for our campaign to move Sacramento forward with Measure L,” the mayor said in a statement.

Brown successfully passed a strong-mayor ballot measure in Oakland in 1998 as he campaigned for mayor of that city. The strong-mayor measure earned 75 percent of the vote..................

Wednesday
Oct222014

L.A. CITY HALL: Mansionization, unhappy residents: "Neighborhood frustration grows as mansionization continues in L.A." ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Neighborhood frustration grows as mansionization continues in L.A." - From the LAT:

With mansionization marching on in some Los Angeles neighborhoods and city officials saying stricter regulations are still a year and a half away, some vexed residents are taking matters into their own hands.

Beverlywood resident Pam Roberts-Malay said she was moved to act after a new, bigger home was built on a modest lot next door, blocking her treasured view of the Century City skyline with an eyeful of gray wall. The new home, roughly twice the size of the old one, obscured the western sunlight and scenery she had loved. So she gave her neighbors an eyeful of their own.

Big signs across the western windows of her Cresta Drive home proclaim in block letters "Your house destroyed our privacy" and "Your house blocks our sunlight." Roberts-Malay posted the signs after failing to hear back from the owners or persuade her homeowner association that the house should not have been allowed under neighborhood restrictions. "I am not the type that likes to feel powerless," Roberts-Malay said.

The owners of the neighboring home, Ezra and Aviva Sagi, declined to be interviewed. In a September letter to Roberts-Malay and her husband, the Sagis' attorney said they were seeking a temporary restraining order, arguing that the couple were "deliberately seeking to annoy them" and making it harder for them to sell the vacant house.

Such squabbles represent the latest round in the long-standing tug of war over how far the rights of L.A. homeowners — and their neighbors — extend................................

Wednesday
Oct222014

SACRAMENTO: SB 270, statewide ban, single-use plastic bags, referendum campaign: "Plastic bag industry gives $1.2 million to repeal bag ban"; also, "Group seeks referendum signatures for referendum to repeal California's plastic bag ban"  ....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Plastic bag industry gives $1.2 million to repeal bag ban" - From the Bee:

Out-of-state plastic companies hoping to block California’s freshly signed ban on single-use plastic bags have poured over $1 million into a referendum campaign.

Moments after Gov. Jerry Brown announced having signed Senate Bill 270, a plastic industry group that vociferously fought the bill announced its intention to launch a referendum campaign. If proponents secures enough signatures by the end of December, the measure would be placed on the 2016 ballot, suspending the law’s implementation until then.

Five plastic firms accounted for the entirety of the $1.2 million sitting in the referendum’s ballot committee. Only one of them, Tustin-based Durabag Co., is headquartered in California. The other four are located in Texas (Superbag Corp.); South Carolina (Hilex Poly Co.); Mississippi (Heritage Plastics Inc.); and New Jersey (Formosa Plastics Corporation USA).

The national scope of the donations speaks to the potentially sweeping repercussions of California’s ban. Bag manufacturers could be shut out of a vast market, although municipalities throughout California have already enacted bans. And in part because of California’s size and influence, policies passed in the state often ripple out to other parts of the country..................

***ALSO:

* San Jose Mercury News (Vacaville Reporter):  "Group seeks signatures for referendum to repeal California's plastic bag ban"

 

Wednesday
Oct222014

POLITICS/MEDIA: Death of Ben Bradlee, "legendary Washington Post editor," age 93 ....

* Washington Post:  "Ben Bradlee, legendary Washington Post editor, dies at 93" - From the WP:

Benjamin C. Bradlee, who presided over The Washington Post newsroom for 26 years and guided The Post’s transformation into one of the world’s leading newspapers, died Oct. 21 at his home in Washington of natural causes. He was 93.

From the moment he took over The Post newsroom in 1965, Mr. Bradlee sought to create an important newspaper that would go far beyond the traditional model of a metropolitan daily. He achieved that goal by combining compelling news stories based on aggressive reporting with engaging feature pieces of a kind previously associated with the best magazines. His charm and gift for leadership helped him hire and inspire a talented staff and eventually made him the most celebrated newspaper editor of his era.

The most compelling story of Mr. Bradlee’s tenure, almost certainly the one of greatest consequence, was Watergate, a political scandal touched off by The Post’s reporting that ended in the only resignation of a president in U.S. history.

But Mr. Bradlee’s most important decision, made with Katharine Graham, The Post’s publisher, may have been to print stories based on the Pentagon Papers, a secret Pentagon history of the Vietnam War. The Nixon administration went to court to try to quash those stories, but the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the decision of the New York Times and The Post to publish them................................

Wednesday
Oct222014

POLITICS/EDUCATION: Los Angeles Unified School District, commentary (Steve Lopez): "Is the L.A. teachers union tone deaf?" ....  

* Los Angeles Times (Steve Lopez):  "Is the L.A. teachers union tone deaf?" - From the LAT:

It was back-to-school night in August. A time for new beginnings and high hopes at Thomas Starr King Middle School on the Silver Lake/Los Feliz border. Then came an awkward moment. With new parents and students in the room, a teachers union rep got up on a soapbox to lay out the labor issues that could lead to a strike.

"He could not have been more tone deaf," said Tomas O'Grady, a parent who was in the room. "What a stupid thing to do, for a new group of parents excited about this school." O'Grady said the speaker is "one of the most amazing teachers at King," so out of kindness, O'Grady reined him in by suggesting this was not the time or place for a labor rally. "In an attempt to protect him, I spoke up. Because if it was anyone else, I'll be honest, it wouldn't have been to protect him, but to reprimand him."

I offer this as a snapshot of a big problem for United Teachers Los Angeles, and in larger measure, the entire district. To borrow O'Grady's words: Is UTLA tone deaf?............................