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Sunday
Aug122012

L.A. CITY HALL: Rick Orlov TIPOFF, Villaraigosa, mayor says he wants "time to reflect"; Democratic National Convention, who from L.A. City Hall is planning to attend; 2013 mayor's race, Greuel, "queen of lists," Perry casting herself as the outsider.... 

* Daily News (Rick Orlov TIPOFF):  "Mayor Villaraigosa says he wants 'time to reflect'" - From the DN:

So, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, if you were a tree, the sardonic Dan Schnur asked the mayor last week as he channeled his inner Barbara Walters, what Cabinet post would you take in a second Obama administration?

Even Villaraigosa was caught off-guard by the question from Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC at an event billed as "A Conversation on the Future of Los Angeles." "I was about to say something about being an oak," Villaraigosa said, spreading his arms out, stalling for time. "I will work hard to get President Obama re-elected, but I am not looking for a job."

As he has said to anyone who has asked him, Villaraigosa deferred on whether he has any broader political ambitions.

   ****

The mayor will find himself with some company from official Los Angeles at the convention in Charlotte, N.C., this year that runs from Sept. 3-7 - although not as much as in years past. Controller Wendy Greuel and Councilman Eric Garcetti - both of whom want to succeed him - will be there. Councilman Tony Cardenas, who is running for Congress, also is expected to attend. From the county, only Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas plans to attend.

In past years, the convention was a must-attend event for local officials, particularly if they had national ambitions, wanted to network with donors or were just political junkies. There is not as much enthusiasm this year, however. Part of it is the fact California is seen as a de facto Democratic state and party leaders are not placing importance on their attendance.

At City Hall, the City Council, which just returned from a three-week summer recess, is taking the week of Labor Day off. The League of California Cities, which is holding its annual conference in San Diego and conflicts with the finish of the Democratic convention from Sept. 5-7. . . . . . . .

   ****

Call it the two ways to run for mayor.

Controller Wendy Greuel is rapidly becoming the queen of lists, with the number of endorsements she has received from various individuals and groups. There is the Valley list. The women's list. The Hollywood list. Of course, there are many crossovers, with people on multiple lists.

Councilwoman Jan Perry, however, is taking a different tactic, casting herself as the outsider.................

Saturday
Aug112012

AFTERNOON MEMOS: LAX, U.S. District Court ruling upholding airport's begging ban; S.F. Central Subway, questions regarding contractor Tutor-Saliba; LAUSD, 2nd District Court of Appeal, nullification of settlement bypassing seniority-based layoffs; etc....

***Various items this afternoon from across the spectrum of politics and/or public policy....

* Daily Breeze:  "Judge upholds LAX begging ban"

* Los Angeles Times:  "L.A. Unified settlement bypassing seniority-based layoffs nullified" - "Appeals court nullifies the settlement meant to protect teachers with little seniority at 45 underperforming schools."

* Orange County Register:  "Bustamante won't seek re-election to Santa Ana council"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Low bid on subway could cost SF"

* Sacramento Bee:  "Wolk criticizes Steinberg for cutting off broadcast of hearing"

Saturday
Aug112012

POLITICS/SPORTS: San Francisco 49ers, new stadium, settlement of $30 million tax dispute with Santa Clara County redevelopment oversight board....

* San Jose Mercury News:  "San Francisco 49ers, South Bay schools settle $30 million tax dispute" - From the MN:

SANTA CLARA -- Settling a dispute over precious tax funds that pitted pro football against schools, the San Francisco 49ers and local education leaders on Thursday agreed to share millions of dollars dedicated for the team's new stadium to stave off classroom cuts.

The deal will settle a lawsuit that the 49ers filed against a Santa Clara County oversight board that shell-shocked Silicon Valley in June by seizing redevelopment money voters earmarked for the $1.2 billion stadium and giving it to schools. Now, stadium construction can continue at full speed, though the 49ers will have to wait longer to get their money, while local schools and other agencies will get to tap into the disputed funding source but get about half of what they wanted.

The agreement lets the Santa Clara Unified School District balance its budget -- avoiding teacher layoffs -- by taking in more than $7 million over the next three years from the pot of property tax money previously earmarked for the stadium.

   ****

[T]he funding is less than the $5 million a year the school district hoped to get when the oversight board -- citing new state laws -- voted to take control of the funds in June. The schools didn't need that much money to balance the budget, however,.

Other local agencies -- including Santa Clara County, the city of Santa Clara and the West Valley-Mission Community College District -- will also split a combined $15 million-plus over the next three years, about half what they wanted.

The 49ers, meanwhile, will get whatever redevelopment property tax money is left over, meaning it will take about a half-decade to get the $30 million it was promised, instead of only a few years like it had planned. . . . . . . . . .

   ****

The 49ers declined to comment until the settlement is formally ratified in two weeks. Construction on the stadium next to Great America in Santa Clara continues without delay.

   ****

The deal ends an impassioned debate that pitted football fans against school parents...............

Saturday
Aug112012

POLITICS: Richard Alarcon voter fraud case, District Attorney investigator testimony that Alarcon's Panorama City residence was "unoccupied"; judge assigned to preliminary hearing is Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's sister, M.L. Villar de Longoria....

***Following up on most recent earlier report noted here....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Investigator says L.A. city councilman's residence was unoccupied" - "The Panorama City house that Richard Alarcon claimed as his legal residence sat empty for months, investigator testifies at preliminary hearing." - From the LAT:

For nearly nine months in 2009, Los Angeles County district attorney's investigator David Babcock showed up regularly at the Panorama City home that Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon claimed as his official residence and, except for one occasion, he never saw anyone there.

Based on his surveillance, Babcock told a courtroom Friday at the start of the councilman's preliminary hearing, he concluded that Alarcon and his wife, Flora Montes de Oca Alarcon, were not living at 14451 Nordhoff St.

   ****

Alarcon and his wife are facing 24 felony counts of perjury and voter fraud for claiming the Nordhoff Street house as their official residence. . . . so that he could run for the 7th District council seat. Prosecutor Jennifer Lentz Snyder says they were actually living in a Sun Valley home, outside the district boundaries.

Superior Court Judge M.L. Villar de Longoria will decide if there is enough evidence to send the case to trial. . . . . . . . . .

   ****

Defense attorneys suggested that Babcock may have missed times when Alarcon was at the Nordhoff house because of the councilman's irregular schedule. They also got Babcock to acknowledge that newspapers were removed regularly and that he sometimes saw a light on in a utility room.

The selection of Villar de Longoria triggered the biggest buzz of the day among court watchers. The judge is the sister of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a City Hall ally of Alarcon. Lentz Synder said she had no qualms about a potential conflict of interest. "Both sides can object if they think the judge can't be fair and impartial," she said. "Nobody did."

The preliminary hearing is expected to last about eight days.

***ALSO:

* Daily News:  "Judge in Alarcon case is mayor's sister"

Saturday
Aug112012

L.A. CITY HALL: Board of Public Works, approval, Venice Beach zip line, denial of appeal by residents opposed to the project....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Venice zip line speeds ahead after board denies residents' appeal" - From the LAT:

Angelenos and tourists alike could soon be speeding over the Venice boardwalk on a new zip line. On his blog Friday, Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s staff announced that the Los Angeles Board of Public Works unanimously denied an appeal by residents who opposed the project because of concern about noise, access to the beach and ocean views. The pilot program will now head to the California Coastal Commission for a permit. The potential launch date will likely be in August or September, depending on when the commission takes up the issue.

A zip line is an elevated cable ride that "zips" harnessed riders along at high speeds, powered only by gravity. Originally slated to open July 1, the Venice zip line has been delayed in part because of the appeal.

Greenheart Conservation Co. had planned to install a 720-foot zip-line ride along the boardwalk in time to capitalize on the busy summer foot traffic. Officials hoped to draw up to 400 riders a day at $20 per thrill. Greenheart co-founder Ian Green said he wasn't pleased with the prospect of a possible fall opening. "That's why the goal was to open in summer, where you're guaranteed to be successful," Green said. "I don't know if we should open up in the fall and hang out in the fog."

City officials approved the ride for a three-month trial, with a percentage of gross revenue to fund maintenance of the boardwalk. Rosendahl’s office said that he and supporters hope the zip line will specifically generate revenue to maintain bathrooms and clean the beachfront park......

***ALSO:

* Daily Breeze:  "Beach zip line approved in Venice despite opposition"