Index
Friday
Oct172014

POLITICS/DEMOGRAPHICS (National): Latino influence, participation, November 2014 elections: "Record number of Latinos eligible to vote, but midterm clout limited" ....  

* Los Angeles Times:  "Record number of Latinos eligible to vote, but midterm clout limited" - From the LAT:

A record number of Latinos are eligible to vote this year, but despite the rising numbers, Latino political clout will be sharply limited in the upcoming midterm election, according to a detailed new study.

Very few of this year’s competitive races take place in states with significant Latino populations, according to new data from the Pew Research Center. Moreover, compared with blacks and non-Hispanic whites, Latinos continue to lag behind in voter turnout, in part because their population skews notably younger than other groups, the report shows.........................

Friday
Oct172014

POLITICS (State, Local/Bay Area): California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E, investigation, San Bruno explosion: "Regulator recuses himself amid PG&E emails probe, San Bruno mayor calls for resignation"; also, "Second commissioner recuses himself on gas explosion case" ....

* San Jose Mercury News (AP):  "Regulator recuses himself amid PG&E emails probe, San Bruno mayor calls for resignation" - From the MN:

A California Public Utilities Commission member who was involved in secret email exchanges with the state's largest utility said Wednesday he is recusing himself from several matters related to the company.

Mike Florio said in a brief notice that he is removing himself from an ongoing rate case involving Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and investigations related to a PG&E pipeline explosion that killed eight people in the city of San Bruno in 2010. "It is in the best interests of the commission -- and more importantly of the public we serve -- to recuse myself," Florio said.

Florio and commission President Michael Peevey have been under fire since emails were made public showing their behind-the-scenes dealings with PG&E officials.

   ****

San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane praised Florio's decision and called for his resignation. "We believe that Florio's serious violations of CPUC rules and of the public's trust, including his participation in a plot to secure a favorable judge for PG&E, should lead to his removal from the commission all together," Ruane said in a statement.......

***ALSO:

* Los Angeles Times:  "Second commissioner recuses himself on gas explosion case"

Thursday
Oct162014

SACRAMENTO: California Public Employees' Retirement System, Fair Political Practices Commission, CalPERS board member Priya Mathur: "CalPERS board member stripped of leadership posts for campaign finance infractions" ....

***Following up on most recent earlier item noted here (Fair Political Practices Commission, California Public Employees' Retirement System, CalPERS board member Priya Mathur)....

* Sacramento Bee:  "CalPERS board member stripped of leadership posts for campaign finance infractions" - From the Bee:

CalPERS punished one of its own Wednesday, stripping a prominent board member of her leadership positions because of her latest violations of the state’s campaign finance disclosure laws.

Priya Mathur, a board member since 2003, was removed as board vice president and chair of the CalPERS Pension and Health Benefits Committee. She also is out as vice chair of two committees: Board Governance and Performance, Compensation & Talent Management.

Mathur, who is facing a $4,000 fine from the state Fair Political Practices Commission, sat stoically as CalPERS board President Rob Feckner announced the punishment at a board meeting. She didn’t speak and wasn’t available for comment afterward.

Feckner also reprimanded another board member, J.J. Jelincic, over comments he made criticizing the appointment of the new CalPERS chief investment officer......................

Thursday
Oct162014

POLITICS (National, New York): Airbnb, New York City, NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman report: "Airbnb Listings Mostly Illegal, New York State Contends" ....

* New York Times:  "Airbnb Listings Mostly Illegal, New York State Contends" - From the NYT:

Airbnb, the pioneering home rental service, presents itself as useful and virtuous, but the reality is far less benign, according to a report that Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York attorney general, released on Thursday.

The report will say nearly three-quarters of all Airbnb rentals in the city are illegal, violating zoning or other laws. Commercial operators, not hard-luck residents, supply more than a third of the units and generate more than a third of the revenue. At least a handful of landlords are running what amount to illegal hostels. Property owners on Airbnb are indeed making money, but it is not being spread around. Most rentals are in three high-profile Manhattan neighborhoods. Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island barely figure.

Airbnb declined to aggressively dispute the numbers in the report, which draws on four years of data it provided to the attorney general after a court fight. “We need to move forward,” an Airbnb spokesman, Nick Papas, said. “We need to work together on some sensible rules that stop bad actors and protect regular people who simply want to share the home in which they live.”

Airbnb, which is most likely contemplating a public offering in the next few years, seemed eager to avoid another fight. Its latest round of fund-raising put its valuation at $10 billion. The housing broker and its imitators, like the taxi service Uber and its clones, have been prompting upheaval just about everywhere they go. Admirers say these stars of the so-called sharing economy are breaking up monopolies that have grown greedy and lazy. They are empowering individuals. Critics say that the start-ups are unsavory efforts to avoid regulation and taxes, and that the very term “sharing economy” is ridiculous.

In some contentious spots, like San Francisco, where the local government endorsed a plan last week to essentially legalize Airbnb, a resolution may be in sight. But in New York, where real estate is often viewed as a blood sport, the battle is only deepening.............................

Thursday
Oct162014

SACRAMENTO: 16th Assembly District, Catharine Baker (Republican), Tim Sbranti *Democrat): "Steve Glazer promotes Republican, but Jerry Brown endorses Tim Sbranti" ....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Steve Glazer promotes Republican, but Jerry Brown endorses Tim Sbranti" - From the Bee:

Gov. Jerry Brown refused to wade into the messy and free-spending East Bay Assembly primary featuring his political adviser, Democrat Steve Glazer.

On Wednesday, minutes after Glazer issued a favorable note about Republican Catharine Baker on his Facebook page, her Democratic opponent in the Nov. 4 election, Tim Sbranti, announced the endorsement of Brown. Brown cited Sbranti’s experience as a classroom teacher and elected mayor of Dublin. Brown also noted Sbranti’s help two years ago in working to pass the governor’s Proposition 30. Glazer played a considerably larger role – as a fundraiser and consultant – in helping advance the sales and income tax measure.

In the Facebook post, Glazer explained that after both Baker and Sbranti asked for his endorsement; he asked them to share their answers to questions on everything from reducing special-interest power to transit strikes and improving schools. “Disappointingly, after receiving my questions and after numerous follow up e-mails, Tim Sbranti refused to respond,” Glazer wrote. “I did receive answers from Catharine Baker, which she posted on her public campaign website.”

He also explained what he described as an overall harsh evolution of Sbranti.................