Index
Tuesday
Aug302016

SACRAMENTO: Fair Political Practices Commission, AB 700, "dark money" disclosure: Commentary (Dan Walters), "Political reformers agree sunshine is needed, but squabble over details" ....

* Sacramento Bee (Dan Walters):  "Political reformers agree sunshine is needed, but squabble over details" - From the Bee:

A large coalition of “goo-goos” – Capitol jargon for reform groups such as Common Cause and the League of Women Voters – wants the Legislature to shine the light of disclosure on those who provide “dark money” for political campaigns. The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission also wants the Legislature to crack down on those who contribute, or launder, money through misleadingly named “committees” that cloak their identities.

Nevertheless, as a decisive state Senate vote looms in the final days of the legislative session on a long-pending, oft-amended disclosure bill sponsored by the goo-goo groups, they find themselves in a war of words with the FPPC over details that could derail the measure. Because Assembly Bill 700 amends the state’s Political Reform Act, it requires two-thirds votes of both legislative houses, and the squabble over details could make that difficult, if not impossible.

The clash arose after AB 700, which had passed the Assembly on a bipartisan, 60-15 vote, underwent a secretive overhaul in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Aug. 11, although the amendments weren’t posted until Aug. 17.

Appropriations committees are funnels which allow legislative leaders to kill or amend pending bills behind closed doors, without providing any reasons for what occurs. In this case, AB 700 was extensively amended in ways the FPPC says could make it more difficult than the original bill to pinpoint those who secretly provide campaign money. One change requires . . . . . . . .

“We think these are fatal flaws,” FPPC’s lobbyist, Phillip Ung, says of those and other amendments obviously drafted by someone, identity unknown, familiar with how arcane political disclosure laws are enforced.

Who was behind the changes is a mystery that Senate leaders are not about to clear up in public. That’s what the secretive appropriations committee process is all about – doing things without leaving any fingerprints to identify the perpetrators.

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Despite the changes, sponsors say that AB 700 still would provide ...............

Tuesday
Aug302016

SACRAMENTO: SB 1190, California Coastal Commission, ex parte communications: "Bill to ban behind-the-scenes communications by coastal commissioners heads to the full Assembly for a vote" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Bill to ban behind-the-scenes communications by coastal commissioners heads to the full Assembly for a vote" - From the LAT:

With this year’s legislative session about to end, a bill to ban behind-the-scenes communications by members of the California Coastal Commission has survived opposition from business and labor interests and is headed to the full Assembly on Tuesday for consideration.

The measure by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) calls for a ban on so-called ex-parte contacts that occur outside official public meetings between coastal commissioners and developers, lobbyists, environmentalists and other parties with a stake in commission business. These meetings can involve telephone calls, face-to-face meetings, e-mails or other written material. Commissioners must publicly disclose such contacts within a week of their occurrence, either in writing or orally at a public hearing.

Coastal commissioners in recent months have been subjected to scrutiny by courts and the media for failing to report these meetings or reporting them late or with little detail.

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Jackson’s bill survived in the Appropriations Committee despite opposition from groups often aligned with development interests, including the California Chamber of Commerce, the Western States Petroleum Assn., and the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California. The California League of United Latin American Citizens also weighed in against the bill.

The bill’s critics argue that . . . . . . . .

The bill’s supporters became concerned earlier this month that amendments added by the Appropriations Committee would continue to allow private communications between commissioners and developers at the expense of the other parties. But Jackson and supporters of the bill said that subsequent refinements of the amendments have left the ban basically intact.

The legislation also would prevent commissioners from . . . . . . . .

The measure is scheduled for a vote on Wednesday, the last day of  the legislative session for the year. If assembly members defeat the bill or take no action, Jackson or another legislator would have to reintroduce a new bill next year.

Tuesday
Aug302016

POLITICS (National): 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump, campaign chair Stephen K. Bannon: "Inside the Hollywood past of Stephen K. Bannon, Donald Trump's campaign chief" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Inside the Hollywood past of Stephen K. Bannon, Donald Trump's campaign chief" - From the LAT:

"The Indian Runner” was a Sean Penn-directed drama about the troubled relationship of two brothers, one a small-town sheriff, the other a Vietnam vet turned criminal. Released in 1991, the film, which cost an estimated $7 million to produce, was a flop, grossing $191,125 in the U.S. and Canada. That made for an unremarkable outcome in a business where failure is common. Now, however, the movie has become notable for one of the people listed in the credits: Stephen K. Bannon.

“The Indian Runner” was the first film executive produced by Bannon, 62, who is now chief of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign .....................

Tuesday
Aug302016

L.A. CITY HALL: Settlement, federal lawsuit, housing for disabled: "L.A. to spend more than $200 million to settle suit on housing for disabled" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "L.A. to spend more than $200 million to settle suit on housing for disabled" - From the LAT:

Los Angeles will spend more than $200 million over the next decade to settle a federal lawsuit alleging that the city failed to provide enough apartments for people with disabilities in its publicly funded housing developments. Under a deal approved Tuesday by the City Council, city officials will be required to ensure that 4,000 units are accessible to people who use wheelchairs, have hearing impairments or live with other disabilities. The city could reach that goal by constructing new apartments, redesigning existing ones or demonstrating that units that were already built are, in fact, accessible.

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Michael Allen, a lawyer for three nonprofit groups that sued the city, called the agreement “the largest accessibility settlement ever reached involving affordable housing.” “It will send a strong, positive message to cities all over the country that their housing programs must be accessible,” Allen said.

The settlement puts Los Angeles on the hook for another costly, multiyear legal payout centering on facilities for the disabled: Last year, city lawmakers agreed to spend $1.3 billion over 30 years on sidewalk repairs — ending a lawsuit from advocates who argued that broken walkways were a nightmare for wheelchair users.

The latest deal will end a legal challenge filed in 2012 by . . . . . . . .

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Under the settlement, the city is not admitting wrongdoing or conceding that it violated anti-discrimination laws. City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, who helped negotiate the deal, said . . . . . . . .

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Santana said Tuesday’s legal settlement could set the stage for a separate agreement ending a federal investigation over housing for disabled Angelenos ....................

Tuesday
Aug302016

POLITICS (National): 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump, minority voters? women?: "Trump woos women and minorities by pitting one group against another" ....

* Washington Post (Jose A. DelReal):  "Trump woos women and minorities by pitting one group against another" - From the WP:

Immigrants and refugees are taking jobs from black workers. Undocumented criminals prey on American women. Muslims pose a threat to gay men and lesbians. For Donald Trump, appealing to minority groups and women often amounts to an “us vs. them” proposition — warning one group that it is being threatened or victimized by another, using exaggerated contrasts and a very broad brush.

“Poor Hispanics and African American citizens are the first to lose a job or see a pay cut when we don’t control our borders,” the Republican presidential candidate said at a rally last week in Akron, Ohio, adding that blacks in particular should vote for him because their lives are so terrible. “What do you have to lose?” he said. “You’ll be able to walk down the street without getting shot. Right now, you walk down the street, you get shot.”

From the start of his campaign, Trump has shaped his message around who is to blame for the nation’s problems — often pointing at illegal immigrants, Black Lives Matter activists and other minorities in a pitch that was aimed primarily at white Republicans. But now, as Trump seeks to reach out to women and minorities who favor Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, he has increasingly taken to pitting one group against another in a bid for support. It’s not clear how well it will work: Many minority voters, already turned off by months of blunt and polarizing statements, still hear the language of separation in Trump’s words ..................