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Monday
Dec112017

POLITICS/ENVIRONMENT: Donald Trump presidency, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Editorial, "Trump's EPA wants to ignore science and put more dirty trucks back on the road" ....

***Donald Trump presidency, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency....

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "Trump's EPA wants to ignore science and put more dirty trucks back on the road" - From the LAT:

Diesel exhaust fumes are the most foul tailpipe emissions on the road, as anyone stuck in traffic behind an aging bus or 18-wheeler can attest. But researchers have gathered overwhelming evidence that the fumes are more than just unpleasant; diesel emissions contribute to asthma, heart disease, cancer and a host of other ills. Diesel-powered trucks are also major contributors to lung-searing smog, and their emissions are loaded with climate-altering soot and gases that contribute to global warming.

That research undergirds the increasingly strict emissions standards that air quality regulators have been imposing on new trucks sold in the United States over the last 15 years. The newest standards to make trucks more fuel efficient and cut greenhouse gas emissions were adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last year.

But never mind public health and science. President Trump’s EPA is trying to reopen a loophole that would let truckers avoid all those pesky and costly clean-air requirements by putting old, dirty engines in new truck bodies. Last month, the EPA proposed waiving the clean truck standards for these so-called glider kits. A final decision is expected next year.

   ****

It’s worth noting that the nation’s major truck manufacturers and trucking associations urged Pruitt not to reopen the loophole. They said it tilts the playing field, allowing some truckers to skirt clean air rules that other trucking companies have spent heavily to comply with. The repeal would allow more highly polluting, soot-belching trucks on the road and impose a huge pollution burden on communities near freeways and trucking centers ...............

Monday
Dec112017

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Bay Area): San Francisco, proposed ballot measure, "Could Department of Livable Streets fix S.F. parking and traffic?"; Oakland, "Oakland workers strike for seventh day, despite agreeing to mediation"; San Francisco, "Undoing sale of rich S.F. street was a matter of national security for Britain" ....

***Various items relating to local issues/local government, in and around the Bay Area....

* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):  "Could Department of Livable Streets fix S.F. parking and traffic?"

* East Bay Times:  "Oakland workers strike for seventh day, despite agreeing to mediation"

* San Francisco Chronice (Matier & Ross):  "Undoing sale of rich S.F. street was a matter of national security for Britain"

Monday
Dec112017

POLITICS (National): Donald Trump presidency, tax plan/ tax cuts, various reports?: "As tax plan gained steam, GOP lost focus on middle class"; "As businesses rush to exploit GOP tax cuts, government revenue may shrink more than expected"; "Living With the Republican Tax Plan" ....

***Donald Trump presidency, tax plan/tax cuts, various reports....

* Los Angeles Times (Don Lee):  "As businesses rush to exploit GOP tax cuts, government revenue may shrink more than expected"

* Washington Post (Damian Paletta):  "As tax plan gained steam, GOP lost focus on middle class"

* New York Times (Op-Ed: Ross Douthat):  "Living With the Republican Tax Plan"

Monday
Dec112017

POLITICS/URBAN AFFAIRS: Real estate, affordable housing, Los Angeles area?: Commentary (Steve Lopez): "Finding the L.A. real estate gold rush -- in Compton, Watts and South L.A." ....

***Real estate, affordable housing, Los Angeles area?

* Los Angeles Times (Steve Lopez):  "Finding the L.A. real estate gold rush -- in Compton, Watts and South L.A." - From the LAT:

If you were to stand near the corner of 57th Street and South Vermont Avenue, you might not see many great selling points. But if you were to stand there with Julio Ruiz, you’d get a different take. He’d point out the nearby transit options, which could get you to USC, downtown, and all the way to the beach. He’d tell you about all the people moving into the area and all the investors who want a piece of the action. And he’d tell you this: “There is cheap housing in L.A. … The American dream is still affordable in Watts, Compton and all the forgotten ghettos.”

Ruiz saw my column last week about frustrated Californians leaving the high-rent districts of coastal Los Angeles for cheaper housing in Las Vegas. No need to go east, he said, when there’s so much right here ....................

Monday
Dec112017

POLITICS (National): President Donald Trump, Republican tax plan, conflict of interest?: Editorial, "Trump is set to release his health records. Why not his taxes?" ....

***President Donald Trump, Republican tax plan, conflict of interest?

* Washington Post (editorial):  "Trump is set to release his health records. Why not his taxes?" - From the WP:

WHITE HOUSE press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that President Trump will submit to a full physical exam early next year and release the results. The announcement was meant to quiet speculations about Mr. Trump’s health after he seemed to slur his words in a speech the previous day. If, and this is a big if, Ms. Sanders’s announcement is more than a rhetorical maneuver to end the questioning — if the president actually follows through on his latest pledge to release information of public concern — it will be a welcome turn toward transparency for a man who has disrespected Americans’ interest in disclosure since he entered politics.

Yet there is a matter of presidential openness that is perhaps even more urgent. Congress is on the verge of passing the most significant tax bill in a generation. Nonpartisan experts report that the GOP plan would add $1 trillion or more to the debt to pay for a plan that would mostly benefit the rich. Mr. Trump has been unusually involved in determining the details of the plan. Yet the public can only guess at how he and his family would benefit from the bill, because he has broken with decades of bipartisan practice — and has flouted a direct campaign promise — by refusing to release any of his tax returns, past or present.

Left to speculate about Mr. Trump’s possible conflicts of interest, experts have identified provision after provision seemingly tailor-made to help the Trumps ...............