Index
Wednesday
Sep022015

POLITICS/URBAN AFFAIRS (New York; San Francisco): Homelessness, street people, "P-U quotient", commentary (Debra J. Saunders): "Big Apple vs. Big Toilet: Why is NYC so much cleaner than S.F.?" ....  

* San Francisco Chronicle (Debra J. Saunders): "Big Apple vs. Big Toilet: Why is NYC so much cleaner than S.F.?" - From the Chronicle:

Why is New York so much cleaner than San Francisco? It’s a question you hear all the time, even as some New Yorkers swear that Mayor Bill De Blasio’s lighter approach to law enforcement has undone some of the gains made under former Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg. I spent three days walking at least 5 miles daily in Manhattan last week. The one time I was accosted by a strong whiff of urine, it was from horses in Central Park.

Good luck walking two blocks in downtown San Francisco without smelling piss.

Yes, I saw panhandlers, guys with squeegees, street people, the sorry-looking and the down-and-out, especially in Midtown. Most just made me sad. The homeless were not invisible, but in my limited time (and maybe I was lucky), there was not a moment that I felt menaced — as one can feel walking down Market Street toward City Hall in San Francisco.

Why does our city reek so much more than New York? Both cities share liberal sensibilities, although New Yorkers have been known to elect Republican mayors. Not San Franciscans, who last elected a Republican in 1959.

Recently I asked Ess Eff Mayor Ed Lee what he sees as contributing factors to San Francisco’s high P-U quotient. His answer: ......................

Wednesday
Sep022015

POLITICS/LEGAL: U.S. District Court ruling, Uber: "Uber drivers granted class- action in legal battle"; "Court sides with Uber drivers to expand case over pay"; "Uber loses round in legal battle with drivers"; "Calif. Uber drivers get class-action status in employment suit" 

*** U.S. District Court ruling....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Uber drivers granted class-action status in legal battle"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Calif. Uber drivers get class-action status in employment suit"

* Sacramento Bee:  "Court sides with Uber drivers to expand case over pay"

* San Jose Mercury News:  "Uber loses round in legal battle with drivers"

Tuesday
Sep012015

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Seattle): Ride-sharing services, unionization?: "Seattle might try something crazy to let Uber drivers unionize" ....

* Washington Post ("Wonkblog"):  "Seattle might try something crazy to let Uber drivers unionize" - "As independent contractors, they're outside federal labor law. A Seattle City Councilmember thinks he's found a workaround."

Seattle may try a novel legal approach to helping Uber drivers to unionize — and potentially other independent contractors too, if the idea holds up in court. Today, a Seattle City Councilmember is expected to announce legislation that would grant all for-hire drivers in the city the right to collectively bargain with the companies they contract with to provide services, which they currently can’t do under federal law, setting up an entirely new system.

Over the past few years, taxi drivers have affiliated with unions in cities across the country. But since they’re usually independent contractors, they’re not covered by the law that allows them to negotiate directly with taxi companies, like other private-sector employees can. Their only power is to try to influence how cabs are regulated, which determines their pay and working conditions.

So far, that’s worked out alright for taxi drivers, who’ve worked with the Teamsters in Washington State to make their case in Olympia — especially when they’ve banded together with taxi companies to keep rates high. But the state hasn’t seen fit to tightly regulate online platforms like Uber and Lyft, which will sometimes cut their rates in order to compete with each other in different cities. That leads to insecurity for the drivers ...................

Tuesday
Sep012015

POLITICS (National): 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump, commentary (Michael Gerson): "Trump declares war on America's demograhy" ....  

* Washington Post:  "Trump declares war on America's demograhy" - From the WP:

“I don’t want it to be about me,” Donald Trump explained at a recent event in Nashville. In other news: War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

The Trump campaign is emphatically about Trump, in a manner typical of populism from Huey Long to Hugo Chavez. The people are infallible, but they require someone who embodies their collective wisdom. The country — betrayed by elites, beset by foreigners, exploited and humiliated at every turn — needs more than policy papers. It needs a savior. Populism is not identical to demagoguery, but it attracts demagogues.

Trump, on the evidence of past behavior, would take whatever political shape the moment required. But the direction upon which his spinning compass has settled is instructive. His approach has little to do with the Republican Party’s history of religious conservatism. Nor is it rooted primarily in tea party constitutionalism. Trump is pressing a case against corrupt and cosmopolitan elites; against mass and illegal immigration and the dilution of American identity; and against the economic dislocations of free trade and business capitalism.

Insofar as Trump leads a movement, it is headed in the direction of a more European form of secular, nationalist, right-wing populism. Were Trump to succeed, the GOP would be an anti-immigration party of the white working class. Before he fails — as he certainly will — Americans may long for the good old days of the religious right .....................

Tuesday
Sep012015

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Inland Empire): Palm Springs, investigation, public corruption: "FBI agents raid Palm Springs City Hall"; also, "FBI serves criminal search warrants at Palm Springs City Hall"; "FBI collects evidence at Palm Springs City Hall" ....  

* The Desert Sun:  "FBI agents raid Palm Springs City Hall" - From the DS:

A dozen agents between the FBI and Riverside County District Attorney executed search warrants at Palm Springs City Hall on Tuesday morning, shutting the building down, sending employees home and removing evidence for an investigation. Laura Eimiller, a public information officer with the FBI, said the warrants are sealed so she can't comment on their nature. But she did confirm that the investigation is part of an Inland Empire public corruption task force that also involves the San Bernardino District Attorney's Office and the Internal Revenue Service.

A paper sign with the word “closed” had been posted on the building's main public entrance. A handful of people milled around outside Palm Springs City Manager David Ready entered city hall shortly after 9:30 a.m. “I don't know anything,” Ready said. “I'm going to go find out.”

City spokeswoman Amy Blaisdell said agents asked city employees to leave for the day, adding: “It was all unanticipated.”

Messages left for Mayor Steve Pougnet and members of the council were not immediately returned ..........

***ALSO:

* Los Angeles Times:  "FBI serves criminal search warrants at Palm Springs City Hall

* KESQ Palm Springs:  "FBI collects evidence at Palm Springs City Hall" - "Federal warrants served in relation to criminal activity"