Index
Thursday
Oct232014

POLITICS (National): Center for Responsive Politics, projection, price tag for 2014 midterm elections, almost $4 billion: "2014 will be the most expensive midterm election ever" ....  

* Washington Post ("The Fix"):  "2014 will be the most expensive midterm election ever" - From the WP:

The total price tag for the 2014 midterms -- an election which almost no one is paying attention to -- will be nearly $4 billion, according to projections released Wednesday by the Center for Responsive Politics. That would make it the most expensive midterm election in history and set the stage for a 2016 presidential contest that could approach double-digit billions in spending.

The vast majority of that sum -- $2.7 billion -- will be spent by candidates and parties. (Republicans are expected to spend slightly more -- $1.92 billion to $1.76 billion.) But an additional $900 million will come from outside groups, a sum that rivals the $1.2 billion those organizations spent in the 2012 presidential cycle.

"So far, at least $663.3 million has been spent by outside groups like super PACs and 527s (a figure that is current within the last 48 hours), but CRP’s projections based on the pattern in the 2012 cycle indicate that at least another $233.5 million remains to be spent in the 12 days before Nov. 4," according to the Center. "That’s a rate of $19.4 million a day."

Interestingly, CRP is projecting that liberal groups will actually outspend conservatives ones, albeit in narrowly.....................

Thursday
Oct232014

SACRAMENTO: Proposition 47 campaign, $3.5 million contribution from American Civil Liberties Union: "National ACLUD spends big for California's Proposition 47" ....

* Sacramento Bee:  "National ACLU spends big for California's Proposition 47" - From the Bee:

The American Civil Liberties Union has contributed $3.5 million to the campaign to pass Proposition 47 in recent days, making it the largest donor to the Nov. 4 measure that would reduce penalties for certain crimes.

The New York-based organization gave $2 million last Friday and another $1.5 million on Tuesday to the yes-on-47 campaign. Other top contributors are B. Wayne Hughes, a Malibu Republican and conservative Christian businessman who has given $1.26 million, and the Open Society Policy Center, an entity founded by liberal billionaire George Soros, which has contributed $1.21 million.

With this week’s ACLU money, Proposition 47 supporters have outraised law-enforcement opponents by more than 20-to-1. Through Tuesday, proponents had raised $8.8 million and opponents had collected less than $434,000...................

 

Thursday
Oct232014

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Bay Area): U.S. District Court ruling, San Francisco, Ellis Act fees, editorial: "The court is right: San Francisco's Ellis Act fees were too high" ....

* San Francisco Chronicle (editorial):  "The court is right: San Francisco's Ellis Act fees were too high" - From the Chronicle:

San Francisco’s scorching-hot rental market is burning tenants — but the city is going to have to find another way to help them besides shaking down property owners. U. S. District Judge Charles Breyer ruled this week that San Francisco’s new ordinance, which substantially raised the tenant relocation fees that landlords must pay when they decide to get out of the rental business, is unconstitutional.

“The ordinance requires an enormous payout untethered in both nature and amount to the social harm actually caused by the property owner’s action,” wrote Breyer. The case will likely be appealed to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

The ordinance, which passed in July, dramatically raised prices for Ellis Act evictions, sometimes to absurd levels. One of the plaintiffs was a family seeking to move into both floors of a house it had bought in 2008. The family’s move would have required them to displace a tenant, forcing a payout of nearly $118,000.

This kind of payout is excessive and unfair. It’s not just the amount of the payments, as Breyer points out in the decision; it’s also that the tenants are not restricted in their use of the payouts — nor are they themselves required to be low-income. They get paid simply because they had the good fortune to move into a unit that was rent-controlled. Their landlords, meanwhile, are forced to pay enormous amounts simply because they had the bad fortune to need their property for their own purposes. It’s indeed terrible that the rental market is so ridiculously hot right now, but, as Breyer pointed out, that’s not the fault of property owners seeking to exercise their right to ownership.

“The city has no authority to require property owners to remain in the rental market … to ameliorate this or any other perceived social ill.”

The issue is not settled. City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced Wednesday that he would appeal.

Meanwhile, San Francisco has an election coming up. Proposition G, yet another landlord shakedown measure, is on the ballot..............

Thursday
Oct232014

POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION (County of Los Angeles): Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Kinkisharyo rail car assembly plant, Palmdale, editorial: "Going off the rails on Metro's rail cars" ...., 

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "Going off the rails on Metro's rail cars" - From the LAT:

Two years ago, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority became the first transit agency in the nation to pick a rail car manufacturer based in part on how many jobs the company would create. The Japanese firm Kinkisharyo International won the nearly $900-million contract to build light-rail cars after promising to hire about 250 workers.

 Metro officials had hoped all of those jobs would be in L.A. County, and so far the firm is on track to hire 194 workers for a temporary rail car assembly operation in Palmdale. But a dispute between Kinkisharyo and local labor unions has almost killed plans to build a permanent manufacturing plant there. The company is now looking for a site outside California. We say "almost killed," because there is still hope that union leaders and Kinkisharyo can put aside their rancor and make a deal. L.A. County should get the good jobs being partly funded by Measure R, the half-cent countywide sales tax that is paying for the new rail cars.
Frankly, there's been too much misleading rhetoric on both sides. . . . . . . . .
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Both the company and the unions are wrong, and their intransigence could cost L.A. County good jobs. Political leaders, including Metro board members Mayor Eric Garcetti, who chairs the Metro board, and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who has close ties to labor, should be working overtime with their colleagues to broker a deal to keep the jobs here.
Thursday
Oct232014

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles City Council, tentative approval, ballot measure to change municipal election dates: "L.A. council orders up ballot measure to shift election dates" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "L.A. council orders up ballot measure to shift election dates" - From the LAT:

Los Angeles City Council members moved Wednesday to prepare a ballot measure asking voters to change the city's election date, saying it will boost lagging turnout. On a 12 to 1 vote, the council instructed City Atty. Mike Feuer to prepare a measure for the March 3 ballot that would shift city elections from odd-numbered to even-numbered years starting in 2020. The change, which would align city campaigns with higher participation presidential or gubernatorial elections, was first proposed after turnout in the May 2013 mayoral runoff election fell to 23%.

   ****

The council is scheduled decide Oct. 31 whether to put the measure on the spring ballot. If approved, the measure would give L.A. elected officials who begin new terms after July 2015 an extra 18 months in office. For example, Wesson and Councilman Jose Huizar, who would have had to leave office under term limits in June 2019, would be allowed to stay in office until December 2020.

Councilman Bernard C. Parks cast the only opposing vote, saying he has strong doubts about one effect of the measure: turning the administration of city elections over to Los Angeles County. The city currently has no way of knowing how much the costs will be when the county runs elections, he said.................