Index
Tuesday
Sep272016

POLITICS/BUSINESS: Wells Fargo, fake accounts scandal: "Wells Fargo hit with multiple lawsuits over bogus accounts, aggressive sales quotas"; "Wells Fargo faces 'top-to-bottom' Labor Department review for possible workplace violations"; commentary (David Lazarus), "Did Wells Fargo target seniors with its bogus-account scheme?" .... 

Tuesday
Sep272016

POLITICS/ENVIRONMENT (Bay Area): San Francisco, rise in sea level?: "Mission Bay may need tidal barriers, huge levees as sea rises" ....

* San Francisco Chronicle (John King):  "Mission Bay may need tidal barriers, huge levees as sea rises" - From the Chronicle:

San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood might need large levees or a tidal barrier to help protect it from the impacts of sea level rise in coming decades, a study released Monday and done with the city’s participation concludes.

The 80-page study is billed as “an imaginative exercise” and consists of design concepts rather than formal recommendations. Still, the emphasis on eventually altering the shoreline — one concept would turn Mission Creek into a lake — is a strong signal that local government sees the tidal aspects of climate change not as a distant possibility, but as a likelihood that needs to be planned for now.

   ****

In terms of the next half century, the report suggests that the main threats can be defused by relatively simple fixes. The public walkway along AT&T Park, for instance, could be guarded from occasional water surges by 3- to 4-foot glass barriers along the edge that wouldn’t block views. Raising the shoreline at two low points would minimize the risk of flooding. As 2100 draws near, though, the report suggests that larger responses might be needed, including levees outside the current shore that might be large enough to hold buildings, creating a development opportunity that could help pay for the improvements.

Each design concept comes with pros and cons, as well as examples of locations where it already can be found ..................

Tuesday
Sep272016

SACRAMENTO: AB 1878, "Families of school maintenace workers and bus drivers won't be getting higher death benefits"; SB 1322, SB 1129, "California decriminalizes prostitution for minors after Gov. Jerry Brown signs bills to aid trafficking victims"; also, "California is cracking down to prevent illegal fishing off the coast" .... 

Tuesday
Sep272016

POLITICS/BUSINESS: Hotels, short-term rental companies, impact?: "Airbnb takes a toll on the U.S. lodging industry, but Los Angeles hotels continue to thrive" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Airbnb takes a toll on the U.S. lodging industry, but Los Angeles hotels continue to thrive" - From the LAT:

The U.S. hotel industry’s robust recovery from the recession is expected to slow down next year partly because of growing competition from short-term rental companies like Airbnb. That is one of the conclusions of a Moody’s Investor Service analysis that provided a rare look at data on how short-term rentals are affecting the lodging industry.

The Moody’s report noted that Airbnb has been growing rapidly, to more than 2 million listings worldwide from 300,000 listings in 2014. In comparison, the conventional lodging business offers 15.7 million hotel rooms around the globe. oody’s revised its outlook for the lodging and cruise industries to stable from positive, with occupancy declining as much as 1% in 2017 “due to increasing supply, the likely toll from Airbnb competition and weak corporate profit growth,” the report said.

Moody’s and other analysts previously had been unable to discern an impact of short-term rentals on traditional hotels because the lodging industry has been flourishing since the recession ended in 2009, masking any harm from Airbnb and other rental sites.  But now that the growth in the hotel industry has begun to slow down, Moody’s report shows that hotel occupancy data and overnight rates are dropping faster in those cities with a high concentration of Airbnb rentals, such as New York and Miami.

In Los Angeles and San Francisco, which have lower concentrations of short-term rentals compared with New York and Miami, occupancy and overnight rates have taken less of a hit.................

Tuesday
Sep272016

SACRAMENTO: State Bar of California, reform? funding?: "State Bar facing fiscal crisis" ....

* Capitol Weekly:  "State Bar facing fiscal crisis" - From Capitol Weekly:

The agency that protects Californians from unethical lawyers faces an uncertain future because of complaints about its ability to do its job. For the first time ever, the state Assembly and Senate this year were unable to agree on a bill to set the annual dues that lawyers pay to the State Bar of California because of disagreements over the extent of changes needed at the troubled agency. Among the criticisms: The Bar failed to discipline bad attorneys in a timely manner and to compensate victims.

The 89-year-old State Bar, a quasi-state agency and an administrative arm of the California Supreme Court, licenses lawyers to practice in California. It handles attorney discipline, regulates law schools and makes recommendations on the governor’s judicial appointments, among numerous other functions.

Now the fate of the organization and its 500 employees rests with the state high court, which is expected to decide by December on whether the Bar can collect dues and, if so, how much. Absent a court decision, the Bar would have to wait until next year to get the dues issue resolved in the Legislature – a delay that could cripple the agency.

Bar Executive Director Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker is confident that the Bar will survive and layoffs won’t be necessary ..................