Index
Sunday
May242015

POLITICS/SPORTS (Bay Area): Oakland Raiders, new Oakland stadium?: "Why Oakland, Alameda County aren't clamoring to keep the Raiders" ....

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Why Oakland, Alameda County aren't clamoring to keep the Raiders" - From the Chronicle:

Raiders owner Mark Davis and his colleagues at the NFL might have to wait a long time to hear from Oakland and Alameda County on a plan to help finance a new $900 million stadium. That’s because elected officials are in no hurry to help the team close a $400 million funding gap, partly because taxpayers in Oakland and Alameda County are still paying millions of dollars a year for the Coliseum renovations that lured the team back in the mid-1990s. And that debt won’t be paid off until 2026.

“That money we’re paying now is general-fund money we could spend on police, parks or libraries,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who has said she cannot support spending a dime of public funds for a new stadium. 

Schaaf was elected last year on promises to bolster the city’s public safety, and her current budget proposal for fiscal 2015-17 emphasizes hiring more police, while mending an $18 million shortfall this year. Oakland eliminated 80 police officer jobs in 2010 during the midst of the recession, and crime surged. The city has been working to build up its police force again.

If Davis was looking for public subsidies to help pay for a new Oakland stadium, he may be out of luck. The Raiders announced plans in February to build a $1.7 billion stadium in Carson (Los Angeles County) along with the San Diego Chargers. But the announcement did little to create a sense of urgency among East Bay civic leaders. On Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league has received no response from either Oakland or Alameda County about whether they would provide $400 million to keep the team in Oakland.

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Schaaf said she would support using public dollars to improve transportation or upgrade the Coliseum land, but she thinks the stadium itself should be privately financed. Private investors have bankrolled other nearby sports venues, she said, citing AT&T Park and the planned Golden State Warriors arena in San Francisco’s Mission Bay as examples. She said she’s waiting on Floyd Kephart, the lead financier on the current Coliseum City, to come back with a viable plan. But his proposal is not due until June 21.

In the meantime, the mayor is sticking to her guns. “We don’t have $400 million lying around,” she said ................

Sunday
May242015

SACRAMENTO: Senate District 7, special election, Steve Glazer victory, commentary (Willie Brown): "Wake up Democrats: Steve Glazer's win is no fluke" ....

* San Francisco Chronicle (Willie Brown):  "Wake up Democrats: Steve Glazer's win is no fluke" - From the Chronicle:

Some Democratic Party leaders say Steve Glazer’s state Senate victory over fellow Democrat Susan Bonilla was a quirk brought on by low voter turnout, and that Glazer somehow didn’t play fair because he had Republican support.

Bull. Like it or not, the Glazer-Bonilla battle is likely to be the template for future elections statewide. The top-two primary system has taken elections out of the hands of party insiders and allowed competing Democrats and Republicans to strike out on their own to attract crossover voters. So when it’s Democrat vs. Democrat in the runoff, as it was last week in the East Bay Senate race, Republicans aren’t the general election afterthoughts they were under the old setup — they get to decide who wins.

The guy who gets this change best is state GOP Chairman Jim Brulte, who helped steer both Republican money and Republican votes to Glazer. 

Brulte was an astute leader when he served in the Legislature. He knows that the chances of electing Republicans in heavily Democratic districts are zero. But the party can nudge its nose through the door in more moderate areas by backing centrist Democrats like Glazer or a moderate Republican like Assemblywoman Catharine Baker — who, like Glazer, defeated a more liberal Democrat in central Contra Costa and Alameda counties last year. It’s a lesson the Democrats would be well advised to learn, rather than sitting around crying foul .................

Sunday
May242015

POLITICS/SPORTS (Bay Area): Golden State Warriors, new arena, commentary (Matier & Ross): "Warriors arena plan gains support from UCSF chancellor" ....

* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):  "Warriors arena plan gains support from UCSF chancellor" - From the Chronicle:

Weighing in publicly for the first time on the Warriors’ plans to move in across the street at Mission Bay, UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood says the medical center is “very supportive” of the idea — as long as the increased traffic can be managed to ensure “the safety of our patients and staff.”

Hawgood’s stance is at odds with that of some of UCSF’s biggest donors, who are dead set against the arena and have started a campaign to stop it in its tracks. “We have been meeting regularly with the mayor and with the Warriors and have made tremendous progress,” Hawgood told us. However, he said, UCSF is still worried about what will happen if the Giants and Warriors are playing games in the neighborhood at the same time, potentially flooding the area with thousands of cars. “It’s a complex set of equations that will need to be solved,” Hawgood said.

Some of UCSF’s biggest donors are funding the Mission Bay Alliance, the group trying to block the Warriors from building an arena on 12 acres opposite the hospital. The alliance appears to want the land banked for a future UCSF expansion — something the chancellor said is definitely not in the school’s playbook. “That is not part of our plan,” Hawgood said. “All of our planning has the Warriors building on that site.”

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As for the campus’ relationship with the Mission Bay Alliance? “There is no relationship between the university, me personally or any member of the university leadership and the alliance,” Hawgood said ....................

Sunday
May242015

POLITICS/WATER/IMMIGRATION: California drought, impact of immigration, media campaign, Californians for Population Stabilization: "Group says California immigration policies contributed to drought" .... 

* Los Angeles Times:  "Group says California immigration policies contributed to drought" - From the LAT:

In a television commercial that has aired across the state, a young boy asks: "If Californians are having fewer children, why isn't there enough water?" The ad is part of a wider media campaign blaming California's historic drought on the state's large number of immigrants. The group that paid for it, Californians for Population Stabilization, has long called for stricter enforcement of immigration laws, arguing that the state's natural resources cannot sustain high levels of population growth.

The group has used the recent spotlight on California's dwindling water reserves to try to gain support for its many favored causes, which include ending the right to citizenship for every child born on U.S. soil and opposing state efforts to give immigrants in the country illegally access to Medicaid.

This month, CAPS asked its 128,000 Facebook followers to "'Like' if you agree California's drought could have been prevented with responsible immigration policies and limited population growth." Last month New Jersey Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine said analysts were overlooking the root causes of the drought — that while immigrants to California "may be nice people … they're competing for water resources."

In an article in the National Review, Stanford academic Victor Davis Hanson argued that while California's current dry spell is not novel, "What is new is that the state has never had 40 million residents during a drought — well over 10 million more than during the last dry spell in the early 1990s." Hanson and others point to the recent pattern of population growth in California, where census data show that 1 in 4 residents was born outside the country.

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Some drought experts have taken issue with such claims, pointing out that the majority of the state's water supports agriculture.

Blaming the drought on immigrants "doesn't fit the facts," said William Patzert, a climatologist from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The drought is caused by meager snowpack and poor planning, he said, "not because the immigrants are drinking too much water or taking too many showers." .......................

Sunday
May242015

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Orange County): Laguna Beach, temporary ban, short-term rentals: "Laguna Beach imposes 45-day moratorium on short-term rentals" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Laguna Beach imposes 45-day moratorium on short-term rentals" - From the LAT:

The Laguna Beach City Council has declared a 45-day moratorium on new short-term rentals, becoming the latest Southern California city to regulate a rapidly growing industry. Websites such as Airbnb, Vacation Rentals by Owner and Homeaway have gained popularity by offering rooms in vacation-destination cities at rates often cheaper than nearby hotels.

Council members unanimously voted this week to impose the temporary ban after residents complained that the practice damages the quality of life in the city's neighborhoods. During the moratorium, the city will not issue any permits to property owners wishing to rent space in their houses or apartments for 30 days or less. “We have an obligation to the residents of Laguna Beach. That is who we serve,” said Councilwoman Toni Iseman, who proposed the ban.

Tenant turnover breeds loud parties, the blocking of driveways by cars and increased trash on streets, residents said. “People are climbing over fences to get to the beach,” resident John Thomas told the council. He read directly from the city's municipal code about the area where his house stands. “The zone is intended to provide a quiet living environment free from room-and-boarding houses, commercial and industrial activities,” he said. “It couldn't be much clearer than that.”

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The council declared the moratorium on new short-term rentals as a temporary salve while city staff researches long-term solutions .....................