Index
Saturday
Mar282015

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Bay Area): San Francisco, "AC transit general manager resigns abrupty"; Richmond, commentary (Daniel Borenstein), "Richmond's $448M retirement debt works out to aobut $4,150 for every city resident"; San Francisco, "Chinatown hotel next up in S.F. gentrification wars" ....

***Various items regarding doings in and around the Bay Area....

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "AC Transit general manager resigns abruptly"

* Contra Costa Times (Daniel Borentstein):  "Richmond's $446M retirement debt works out to about $4,150 for every city resident"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Chinatown hotel next up in S.F. gentrification wars"

Saturday
Mar282015

POLITICS/EDUCATION: Stanford University, in the news: "Stanford Latest Top School to Face Cheating Claims"; also, "Stanford lets more students in tuition-free" ...  

***Stanford University in the news....

* Wall Street Journal:  "Stanford Latest Top School to Face Cheating Claims" - "The school is probing an 'unusually high number' of claims of academic dishonesty among students"

And, on quite a different note, but also relating to Stanford:

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Stanford lets more students in tuition-free"

Saturday
Mar282015

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles Police Department, greater diversity but continuing community distrust, report/analysis: "LAPD is more diverse, but distrust in the community remains" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "LAPD is more diverse, but distrust in the community remains" - From the LAT:

The sweeps came on Friday nights in South Los Angeles, often before big events like Raiders games. Police would round up young men they thought were gang members and hold them over the weekend to keep violence down, a campaign launched by then-Chief Daryl F. Gates to control "the rotten little cowards."

Francisco McClure recalled being arrested several times, only to be released the following Monday mornings without being charged. For the young black man, the fact that most of the officers were white made the experience even more bitter. The martial arts instructor, 50, these days sees more Latino and black faces patrolling his community of Jefferson Park, and he says the officers don't hassle residents as much. He commends them for holding neighborhood forums and using more dashboard cameras. But, he said, "they just cleaned up their act a little. Before it was white against blacks. Now it's just blue against blacks."

The Los Angeles Police Department often is cited as an example of how recruiting nonwhite officers can improve community relations. The LAPD, once a predominantly white institution, now closely mirrors the city's demographics and is majority nonwhite — from the glass offices at headquarters to patrol cars working the beat. There is wide agreement that the transformation has helped, turning even some longtime LAPD critics into supporters.

"The department has moved away from being an occupying force in South L.A. and East L.A. to one that interacts and is more representative of those communities," said John Mack, a veteran civil rights leader who recently served as a police commissioner. But Mack and others also acknowledge that a more diverse police force has not extinguished distrust in the community it serves .....................

Saturday
Mar282015

POLITICS (State, Local/Bay Area): More info/details, California Public Utilities Commission, criminal investigation, $5M+ contract with defense counsel: "Amid scandal, PUC legal bills skyrocketing"; also, "State PUC faces $5.1 million legal fees; public to pay" ....

***Following up on earlier item noted here (California Public Utilities Commission, criminal investigation, approval, $5.2 million contract with defense counsel; up from original contract maximum amount of $49,000)....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Amid scandal, PUC legal bills skyrocketing" - From the LAT:

The embattled Public Utility Commission's legal bill for criminal defense by an outside law firm is growing rapidly. The PUC originally budgeted $49,000 for outside legal fees but now is allocating up to $5 million over the next year and a half. The need for more legal help comes as state and federal investigators are looking into a broad range of possible misconduct, including improper communications between PUC officials and utility executives.

   ****

In November, the PUC approved a contract for $49,000 with the Los Angeles firm of Sheppard Mullin. To better reflect actual legal  costs, the contract now has been amended to authorize billings of up to $5.2 million for the period of November 2014 through June 2016.

   ****

Timothy Sullivan, the PUC's interim executive director, signed the updated contract on Thursday. The jump in legal costs was first reported by the U-T San Diego newspaper. The Sheppard Mullin bill, so far this year, is just over $1.5 million. The entire expenditure is being challenged in state court by San Diego consumer attorney Michael Aguirre. The contract, he argues, is not valid because the five-member commission has not publicly found that PUC employees, who may have committed wrongdoing, acted in good faith. "There has been no such finding," Aguirre said. "This is unlawful conduct."

The new PUC president, Michael Picker, recently testified at a Senate hearing that his agency had no choice but to hire an outside law firm. PUC staff lawyers do not handle criminal cases, he said. And the state attorney general can't represent the PUC because that office already is probing the commission.

***ALSO:

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "State PUC faces $5.1 million in legal fees; public to pay"

Saturday
Mar282015

SACRAMENTO: 2018 election, California Lieutenant Governor: "Seven lawmakers have committees for 2018 lieutenant governor's race" ....

* Los Angeles Times (PolitiCal):  "Seven lawmakers have committees for 2018 lieutenant governor's race" - From the LAT:

With Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom termed out in 2018, seven current and former state legislators, including Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), have opened committees to raise money for possible campaigns for lieutenant governor.

De Leon has begun fundraising in the last month for a possible candidacy . . . . . . . .

   ****

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) has scheduled an April 9th fundraising dinner . . . . . . . .

Gatto is committed to running for state Senate in 2016, said Parke Skelton, his political consultant. But if he loses the Senate race he could run for lieutenant governor two years later, Skelton said.

Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) reports having raised $88,000 for a campaign committee for lieutenant governor in 2018. Others who have formed committees include Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), former Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and GOP Rep. Jeff Denham of the Central Valley.

Some of those who have filed statements of intention to run for lieutenant governor will not be on the ballot, said Allan Hoffenblum, who publishes a nonpartisan election analysis called the California Target Book. “They often do that (open committees) just to park their money,” he said, noting that state law allows candidates to raise funds for seats for which they end up not running. In some cases, a candidate raising money for lieutenant governor might switch to running for secretary of state or some other statewide office and still be able to use the money raised, he said.