Index
Thursday
Oct232014

MORNING MEMOS: Santa Ana City Hall, "Free Speech Battle Goes Around Round in Santa Ana"; L.A. City Hall, "America's Worst Housing Crisis Is Getting No Action From City Hall"; Carson, $300,000+ consulting contract, "Carson rejects lucrative contract for consultant asked to attract foreign investment" ....  

 

***Various items this morning from across the spectrum of politics and/or public policy....

* Voice of OC:  "Free Speech Battle Goes Another Round in Santa Ana"

* Daily Breeze:  "Carson rejects lucrative contract for consultant asked to attract foreign investment"

* LA Weekly:  "America's Worst Housing Crisis Is Getting No Action From City Hall"

Thursday
Oct232014

SACRAMENTO: California Public Employees' Retirement System, pension spiking?: "99 ways to boost pensions in California -- at public cost" ....

***Following up on earlier items noted here and here (CalPERS, 99 types of extra pay. to be counted toward pension calculation, pension spiking?)....

* Los Angeles Times:  "99 ways to boost pensions in California -- at public cost" - From the LAT:

Directing traffic is part of a police officer's job, and in the city of Fountain Valley, keeping cars moving comes with a $145 monthly bonus — and a bigger pension. Fountain Valley officers can also pump up their pensions by working with police dogs or mentoring schoolchildren. Those who stay in shape get as much as $195 more each month. All these perks boost officers' salaries and add thousands of dollars to taxpayer-funded pensions for years to come.

The California Public Employees' Retirement System made these higher pensions possible. The nation's biggest public pension fund voted in August to adopt a list of 99 bonuses, ensuring that newly hired California public workers would receive the same pension sweeteners as veteran employees. The long-term cost of pensions calculated with bonuses is billions of dollars more than with base pay only. But the exact price tag remains a mystery. The labor-dominated CalPERS board voted without estimating the potential tab.

The vote raised alarms on Wall Street, where analysts have warned about the skyrocketing costs. With $300 billion in investments, CalPERS estimates it still needs an additional $100 billion from taxpayers to deliver on its promised pensions to 1.7 million public workers and retirees. That amount would be enough to operate the 23-campus California State University system for 16 years.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who pushed through a 2012 law to stop workers from using questionable perks to unjustly inflate their retirement pay, wants the action reversed. He vowed to take a personal role in the fight and has asked two state agencies to scrutinize whether the 99 pension sweeteners are legal and appropriate.................................

Thursday
Oct232014

POLITICS/EDUCATION: University of California, non-resident students, limits?: "UC considers limiting out-of-state enrollment" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "UC leaders consider limiting out-of-state enrollment" - From the LAT:

The University of California is beginning to have second thoughts about its highly successful effort to bring more out-of-state students onto its campuses.

In a bid to boost revenue, the system five years ago began to aggressively recruit students from other parts of the country and from around the world. The significantly higher fees those students paid brought in about $400 million extra last year. But the effort stirred a backlash from California parents, who suspected that their children's admissions chances were being hurt.

UC officials have taken great pains to argue that qualified California students were not losing slots to those from New York or China. But the complaints from parents and state legislators recently prompted UC President Janet Napolitano and other system leaders to consider putting limits on out-of-state enrollment.

Any such retrenchment faces its own set of complications................................

Wednesday
Oct222014

POLITICS (State, Local): Local government, strong-mayor form of government: "Jerry Brown throws support behind strong-mayor systems" ....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Jerry Brown throws support behind strong-mayor systems" - From the Bee:

Gov. Jerry Brown Wednesday expressed his support for strong-mayor forms of government. While not directly endorsing Sacramento’s Measure L, the campaign behind the ballot measure described the statement as a boost to their effort.

“In a large, diverse city, there has to be a unifying force, and an elected mayor with executive authority fills that bill,” the governor said in a statement released by Measure L. “It’s more democratic for the people to elect the one who has the authority and is not just a figurehead.”

Brown has declined to throw his support behind most specific ballot measures around the state, instead choosing to focus on a state water bond and budget proposition on the November ballot.

Mayor Kevin Johnson, the lead proponent of the strong-mayor plan, said Brown “knows exactly how essential it is to have a city government work well.” “(The governor’s statement) is a huge boost for our campaign to move Sacramento forward with Measure L,” the mayor said in a statement.

Brown successfully passed a strong-mayor ballot measure in Oakland in 1998 as he campaigned for mayor of that city. The strong-mayor measure earned 75 percent of the vote..................

Wednesday
Oct222014

L.A. CITY HALL: Mansionization, unhappy residents: "Neighborhood frustration grows as mansionization continues in L.A." ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Neighborhood frustration grows as mansionization continues in L.A." - From the LAT:

With mansionization marching on in some Los Angeles neighborhoods and city officials saying stricter regulations are still a year and a half away, some vexed residents are taking matters into their own hands.

Beverlywood resident Pam Roberts-Malay said she was moved to act after a new, bigger home was built on a modest lot next door, blocking her treasured view of the Century City skyline with an eyeful of gray wall. The new home, roughly twice the size of the old one, obscured the western sunlight and scenery she had loved. So she gave her neighbors an eyeful of their own.

Big signs across the western windows of her Cresta Drive home proclaim in block letters "Your house destroyed our privacy" and "Your house blocks our sunlight." Roberts-Malay posted the signs after failing to hear back from the owners or persuade her homeowner association that the house should not have been allowed under neighborhood restrictions. "I am not the type that likes to feel powerless," Roberts-Malay said.

The owners of the neighboring home, Ezra and Aviva Sagi, declined to be interviewed. In a September letter to Roberts-Malay and her husband, the Sagis' attorney said they were seeking a temporary restraining order, arguing that the couple were "deliberately seeking to annoy them" and making it harder for them to sell the vacant house.

Such squabbles represent the latest round in the long-standing tug of war over how far the rights of L.A. homeowners — and their neighbors — extend................................