Index
Friday
Jan202017

POLITICS (National, State): Donald Trump administration, job creation strategy, importance of California: Editorial, "Why California is key for Trump to keep promises on jobs" .... 

* Sacramento Bee (editorial):  "Why California is key for Trump to keep promises on jobs" - From the Bee:

As Donald Trump becomes our 45th president Friday, he promises to be “the greatest job producer that God ever created.” We suspect most Americans would be satisfied if he’s just a very good one. To do that, he must appreciate the importance of California as a job-creating engine and put together his economic strategy accordingly.

California’s economy, the world’s sixth-largest, has generated more than 1.7 million additional private-sector jobs since January 2009, 15 percent of the U.S. total. Trump says he’ll boost the U.S. economy so much that it will add 25 million new jobs over the next decade. To come anywhere close, Trump needs to work with Silicon Valley, a global leader in the innovation economy. After a rocky relationship during the campaign, Trump met with high-tech CEOs last month and pledged, “We’re going to be there for you.”

A good start would be to follow advice from the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which urges the Trump team to focus on workforce training in emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and autonomous vehicles.

Also, Trump must be careful that his crusade for fairer trade doesn’t turn into a trade war. He should not pretend that globalization doesn’t exist.

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California is leading the way toward that new economy. If Trump wants to be even a decent job producer, he should help the state flourish and learn from its successes, not get in its way.

Thursday
Jan192017

POLITICS (National, State/Texas): Texas, state law enforcement personnel to protect the Mexican border, $2.8 billion bill to U.S. taxpayers?: Editorial, "Texas has no business billing U.S. taxpayers for their own silly border patrols" ...."  

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "Texas has no business billing U.S. taxpayers for their own silly border patrols" - From the LAT:

Maybe everything is bigger in Texas — including political grandstanding.

Texas Republicans have worn their disdain for the Obama administration, and the federal government in general, as a badge of honor. They have led efforts to kill the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program, which would grant relief to parents of legal U.S. residents, and to rein in expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. They have found inventive, yet transparently unconstitutional, ways of limiting women’s access to abortions. And they have challenged the administration’s authority to change the threshold under which white-collar workers must be paid for overtime hours worked.

Now they are trying to get the nation’s taxpayers to foot a $2.8-billion bill for Texas’ decision — unbidden by the federal government — to send National Guard troops and state law-enforcement personnel to protect the Mexican border. The answer should be: No.

Texas’ border surge was couched as a security move, an effort to counter the cartels ferrying guns, drugs and people across the border, but the idea was always . . . . . . . .

Texas’s deployments were made without prior agreement by federal officials to underwrite any of the costs, and the program exceeds state responsibility. Border security and immigration control are indisputably federal jurisdictions, and if a state dislikes how the federal government is handling such responsibilities, it should press political levers, not just decide unilaterally to step in where it doesn’t belong.

And even if Texas could make the case that the patrols fall under the state’s police powers, that’s hardly a reason for the nation’s taxpayers to foot the bill . . . . . . . .

Texas’ decision to take the law into its own hands on the border was a political choice. And Congress and the incoming Trump administration should stamp “return to sender” on whatever invoice Texas may ultimately deliver to Washington.

Thursday
Jan192017

POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Downtown Regional Connector, budget increase?: "Metro officials want to increase the budget for this downtown subway project -- again" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Metro officials want to increase the budget for this downtown subway project -- again" - From the LAT:

Three years ago, when transportation officials began an ambitious project to connect a tangle of light-rail lines beneath downtown Los Angeles, they said construction would cost $1.36 billion. Since then, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has twice sought more funding for the Downtown Regional Connector, including a request this week for an additional $199 million. If approved, the increase will raise the cost of the project to $1.75 billion, 28% higher than originally budgeted.

Officials blamed the latest increase on delays arising from the complex task of locating and moving long-buried utility lines, many of which were not listed in government records. The regional connector has become “about 6% construction project, with the remainder being a utilities project,” Metro director Jacqueline Dupont-Walker said Thursday at a committee meeting.

Officials also acknowledged that . . . . . . . .

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Metro staff warned in a report that more delays and cost increases “are to be expected” if any new problems arise over the next four years, including difficulties securing permission for crews to work late at night and early in the morning.

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The report said planners had not budgeted adequately for unexpected cost increases . . . . . . . .

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The latest budget increase request comes as Metro’s Washington seeks more authority to negotiate contract modifications without board approval. Currently, any so-called change order of more than $1 million requires a board vote, which Washington said can add weeks of costly delays to fast-moving projects. Instead, he has proposed negotiating all contract changes without board approval, unless they increase the total budget, with monthly reports provided to directors.

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The board is expected to take up the proposal on change orders next week. On Thursday, board members expressed concern that granting more leeway to negotiate changes could reduce transparency and add to cost overruns. “The idea that the CEO could approve change order after change order after change order, and then tell us, ‘We’ve hit the top’ — is that not a possibility? ” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. She added that the idea gave her “a little heartburn.”

Thursday
Jan192017

AFTERNOON MEMOS: :Ex-aide for Costa Mesa congressman pleads guilty to embezzling more than $300,000"; "Business manager admits to embezzling $4.8 million from singer Alanis Morissette, document shows"; "3 O.C. men plead guilty to not telling IRS about foreign bank accounts worth millions" .... 

***Various items this afternoon relating to business/politics/policy/law enforcement....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Ex-aide for Costa Mesa congressman pleads guilty to embezzling more than $300,000"

* Los Angeles Times:  "Business manager admits to embezzling $4.8 million from singer Alanis Morissette, document shows"

* Los Angeles Times (Daily Pilot):  "3 O.C. men plead guilty to not telling IRS about foreign bank accounts worth millions"

Thursday
Jan192017

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Downtown L.A., "Condo HOA Gets More Than $8 Million for Building Defects"; Bay Area/East Bay, "Contra Costa DA slapped with $45,000 fine as criticism builds"; Newport Beach, "Public gets early look at 260-unit, 3-tower condo plan for office park near JWA"; Bay Area, "Oakland City Council's startling move on police oversight pacts" ....

***Various items relating to local issues/local government -- Northern California, Southern California....

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Oakland City Council's startling move on police oversight pacts"

* Downtown News:  "Condo HOA Gets More Than $8 Million for Building Defects" - "Barker Block Residents Complain Building Had Plumbing and Other Defects"

* East Bay Times:  "Contra Costa DA slapped with $45,000 fine as criticism builds"

* Los Angeles Times (Daily Pilot):  "Public gets early look at 260-unit, 3-tower condo plan for office park near JWA"