Index
Thursday
Sep182014

SACRAMENTO: AB 2293, ride-sharing services, insurance rules: "Jerry Brown signs ride-sharing insurance bill"; also, "New Uber, Lyft, Sidecar nsurance rules signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown"; "Gov. Brown signs ride-sharing insurance bill into law" ....

***Gov. Jerry Brown signature, AB 2293, ride-sharing services, insurance rules....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Jerry Brown signs ride-sharing insurance bill"

* Los Angeles Times:  "Gov. Brown signs ride-sharing insurance bill into law"

* San Jose Mercury News:  "New Uber, Lyft Sidecar insurance rules signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown"

Thursday
Sep182014

POLITICS (State, Local/Bay Area): California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E, lobbying campaign, preferred judge, rate-setting case, San Bruno explosion: "PG&E facing big fine for judge-shopping in rate case" ....

***Following up on most recent earlier items noted here (California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E, controversy, shakeup)....

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "PG&E facing big fine for judge-shopping in rate case" - From the Chronicle:

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. could face millions of dollars in fines for the lobbying campaign it waged with state regulators to assign its preferred judge to a rate-setting case stemming from the deadly San Bruno explosion, under a proposed order that the California Public Utilities Commission issued Wednesday. The commission - which acquiesced to PG&E's request and appointed the company's choice to decide the $1 billion-plus rate case - will now decide whether PG&E broke rules barring such lobbying.

An administrative law judge with the state agency, Hallie Yacknin, ordered PG&E executives late Wednesday to appear before her next month to explain why the company should not be held in contempt for bombarding regulators with e-mails in January urging the appointment of one judge to the rate case and labeling two others as problems.

 

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In her order Wednesday, Yacknin said PG&E may have violated two commission rules. One forbids "ex parte communications regarding the assignment of a proceeding to a particular administrative law judge," and the second requires that "any person who transacts business with the commission agrees to maintain the respect due to the commission's administrative law judges," Yacknin wrote.

Her order cites PG&E's own notice to the commission on Monday that it believed it had violated the commission's rules. Yacknin said the utility could face fines, restrictions on its contacts with the commission officials and "other appropriate sanctions."

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Yacknin's order sets up what could be a procedural minefield for the utilities commission members, especially Peevey and [Michael] Florio..........................

Thursday
Sep182014

POLITICS/EDUCATION: Los Angeles Unified School District, current controversies, tensions, editorial: "The bad old days at LAUSD" ....e

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "The bad old days at LAUSD" - From the LAT:

At L.A. Unified, tensions are high and crisis is in the air. The relationship between Supt. John Deasy and the school board that oversees him is at what is perhaps an all-time low. Deasy is again muttering about quitting; others are grumbling that he should be fired.

Not surprisingly, United Teachers Los Angeles, the teachers union, is practically giddy. The union has regularly lambasted the superintendent, calling his performance "anything but satisfactory," suggesting he be placed in "teacher jail" like a teacher accused of misconduct would be, and making it clear that it would like him to resign. If Deasy resigns, the leadership no doubt figures, it can go back to the good-old days.

The union's distaste for Deasy is easy enough to understand. . . . . . . .

So, yeah, teachers are angry, and many would be happy to see the superintendent go. But before anyone grows too nostalgic, let's remember a few things about the old days.............................

Thursday
Sep182014

POLITICS (National, Local/Los Angeles): U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Government Accountability Office report, mismanagement of West Los Angeles campus: "VA mismanaged West L.A. campus, GAO says" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "VA mismanaged West L.A. campus, GAO says" - From the LAT:

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has mismanaged its West Los Angeles campus by under-billing for land use agreements and by improperly diverting funds, according to a Government Accountability Office report issued Wednesday.

The GAO found weaknesses in the billing and collection processes for so-called sharing agreements at three VA medical centers, including the sprawling, 387-acre campus between Westwood and Brentwood. The VA has leased portions of its land to theater operators, a hotel laundry service, a private school for use as tennis courts, UCLA for a baseball field and an entertainment company for set storage.

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The GAO, the auditing arm of Congress, identified instances in which potentially millions of dollars in land use revenue went uncollected by the West Los Angeles VA. In addition, it found that the campus inappropriately coded some billings so that proceeds of more than $500,000 were sent to its facilities account. According to the facility's chief fiscal officer, the GAO report said, these proceeds were mainly used to fund maintenance salaries. That's a violation of VA policy, which requires that such revenue be deposited into the medical care appropriations account that benefits veterans.

The West Los Angeles VA initially told the GAO that sharing agreements produced about $700,000 in revenue in fiscal 2012, but the GAO concluded that the agreements should have generated $1.5 million. "They couldn't figure out the number of active agreements or revenues," said Steve Lord, the GAO's managing director of forensic audits and investigative service. "In some cases, they didn't bill the entities correctly."

The report, which also looked at facilities in North Chicago and New York, is the latest blow to the veterans agency, which has been under intense congressional scrutiny because of reports that veterans had to wait months for medical appointments and that VA medical centers were covering up the delays.

The West Los Angeles VA has long been in the cross-hairs of veterans advocates..................

Thursday
Sep182014

L.A. CITY HALL: Rush-hour construction ban on city streets: "L.A. may easy rush-hour construction ban for smaller streets" ....

***Following up on earlier item noted here (Jim Newton Op-Ed, L.A. rush-hour construction ban)....

* Los Angeles Times:  "L.A. may ease rush-hour construction ban for smaller streets" - From the LAT:

More rush-hour construction projects could be permitted on Los Angeles’ smaller side streets, under a plan being considered by City Council members. The easing of the 7-year-old ban on rush-hour street work would affect about a third of the projects that the ban currently restricts and is intended to speed up construction work and save city agencies millions of dollars annually. 

Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed an executive order in 2005 prohibiting construction on city streets during peak traffic hours in an attempt to reduce gridlock. Though it's been effective in cutting down on bottlenecks, the ban "took a good idea a little too far," said L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino. The restrictions, which prohibit construction from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., reduce construction productivity 30% and increase the time needed to complete projects, Buscaino said. He wants to test removing the ban for one year on so-called  "collector streets," which connect residential neighborhoods to major thoroughfares.

Michael Kantor, deputy city engineer, told a City Council committee Wednesday that it is "common sense" to lift the ban for those streets.....................