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Wednesday
Aug272014

SACRAMENTO: California Senate, end-of-session fundraising, impact, new rules: "California senators' final-month fundraising down from 2013" ....

 Sacramento Bee:  "California senators' final-month fundraising down from 2013" - From the Bee:

The California Senate’s curb on end-of-session fundraising has sharply cut into the flow of political cash to senators’ campaign accounts, even as some in the upper house run afoul of a rule that bans contributions from donors that have Capitol lobbyists.

The Senate adopted the fundraising blackout in June, after a string of ethics scandals. Two Senate Democrats, Leland Yee and Ron Calderon, face corruption charges and a third, Rod Wright, was convicted of lying about where he lived when he ran for the Senate in 2008. All three have been suspended from the 40-member house, with pay.

Lawmakers said the new rule is meant to ensure that senators are “insulated from extraneous matters that may divert their attention from the legislative work before them.” If so, senators these days should be focused on their legislative work as never before: senators received about $75,000 from Aug. 4 through Tuesday – about 6 percent of the $1.3 million they took in during the final month of the 2013 legislative year, records show.

The Assembly’s 79 members, meanwhile, continue to rake in the end-of-session money. . . . . . . .

The chart below shows day-by-day fundraising totals for Senate members during the final month of the 2013 legislative year and from Aug. 4 through Tuesday......................

Wednesday
Aug272014

SACRAMENTO: Bay Delta Conservation Plan, delay, additional study needed: "California officials delay massive Delta water tunnel project" ....

* Sacramento Bee:  "California officials delay massive Delta water tunnel project" - From the Bee:

Plans for two huge water diversion tunnels in the Delta are being delayed, state officials announced Wednesday, because the plans need more work.

Nancy Vogel, spokeswoman for the California Department of Water Resources, said the delay in the $25 billion Bay Delta Conservation Plan was triggered by public comments submitted on the draft environmental impact report. The comments revealed that certain areas of the plan need additional study, although she could not yet say specifically what areas. “We’re going through it and we’re going to revise and send it back out for public review,” Vogel said. “We continue to look for ways to reduce the impacts to Delta residents and landowners, and we’ll have a lot more information in six to eight weeks.”

Officials said the revised document will be re-released for public comment “in early 2015.” They originally intended to approve the current plan near the start of the new year. Together with more time for public comment on the revised document, the delay will amount to several months.

The Bay Delta Conservation Plan has been in the works for more than seven years. . . . . . . . .

The most controversial element of the plan is a massive pair of tunnels........................

Wednesday
Aug272014

POLITICS (National, New York): Affordable housing, controversy, "poor-door" entrance: "'Poor Door' in a New York Tower Opens a Fight Over Affordable Housing" ....

* New York Times:  "'Poor Door' in a New York Tower Opens a Fight Over Affordable Housing" - From the NYT:

A 33-story glassy tower rising on Manhattan’s waterfront will offer all the extras that a condo buyer paying up to $25 million would expect, like concierge service, entertainment rooms, and unobstructed views of the Hudson River and miles beyond. The project will also cater to renters who make no more than about $50,000. They will not share the same perks, and they will also not share the same entrance.

The so-called poor door has brought an outcry, with numerous officials now demanding an end to the strategy. But the question of how to best incorporate affordable units into projects built for the rich has become more relevant than ever as Mayor Bill de Blasio seeks the construction of 80,000 new affordable units over the next 10 years.

The answer is not a simple one. As public housing becomes a crumbling relic of another era, American cities have grown more reliant on the private sector to build housing for the poor and working class. Developers say they can maximize their revenues, and thus build more affordable units, by separating them from their luxury counterparts.

Even advocates of affordable housing are divided on the issue; some argue that developers who segregate apartments should not benefit from government incentives, while others say the focus should be on building more homes, rather than where to enter them.................................

Wednesday
Aug272014

POLITICS/EDUCATION: Los Angeles Unified School District, controversy, Superintendent John Deasy, iPad contract bidding process, commentary (Steve Lopez): "Can Supt. Deasy survive LAUSD' iPad fiasco?"; also, LA Weekly, "iFail: Why John Deasy's Risky iPad Gambit Crashed and Burned at LAUSD" ....

* Los Angeles Times (Steve Lopez):  "Can Supt. Deasy survive LAUSD's iPad fiasco?" - From the LAT:

So, remember that $1-billion plan to get iPads for each and every Los Angeles Unified student the district has been working on and steadfastly defending for a couple of years now? Forget about it. The deal is off, creating a new round of L.A. Unified chaos just as another school year begins.

The announcement came just days after the release of emails detailing Supt. John Deasy's cozy contacts with Apple and curriculum software manufacturer Pearson before they were awarded large contracts.

Deasy, who has denied any improprieties, actually tried to put a positive spin on the long-running fiasco when he announced that the deal with Apple was kaput. The decision, he said in a memo to school board members Monday night, will "enable us to take advantage of an ever-changing marketplace and technology advances.… We will incorporate the lessons learned from the original procurement process…."

You'd think all had gone according to plan, but make no mistake:

Despite the upbeat, moving-on tone of that message, the Deasy pullback is a defining moment in his tenure. It was nothing short of a forced surrender to critics who have argued for months that Deasy charged ahead on the iPad project as if he knew best and everyone else's job was to get out of the way. And what did that get us? A commitment to spend tens of millions of dollars on pricey tablets and on software programs that hadn't even been developed.

And the iPad fiasco is not the only problem bearing down on Deasy..........................

***ALSO:

* LA Weekly:  "iFail: Why John Deasy's Risky iPad Gambit Crashed and Burned at LAUSD"

Wednesday
Aug272014

SACRAMENTO: SB 1174, proposed repeal of California ban on bilingual education: "Bill asks California voters to consider restoring bilingual education" ....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Bill asks California voters to consider restoring bilingual education" - From the Bee:

Californians would vote in 2016 to repeal the state’s ban on bilingual education under a bill the Legislature is sending to Gov. Jerry Brown.

Over Republican objections, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1174 Tuesday night, 25-10. The bill by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, would ask voters to amend parts of a prior ballot measure, Proposition 227, that require most public schools to teach in English only. Educational research and public attitudes have changed since voters banned bilingual education in 1998, Lara said.

Republicans said they support repealing a ban on bilingual education but argued against the measure because it will allow future changes to be made by a majority vote of the Legislature, without returning to voters..........


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/08/26/6657101/bills-asks-california-voters-to.html#storylink=cpy