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Wednesday
Aug272014

POLITICS (National, New York): Affordable housing, controversy, "poor-door" entrance: "'Poor Door' in a New York Tower Opens a Fight Over Affordable Housing" ....

* New York Times:  "'Poor Door' in a New York Tower Opens a Fight Over Affordable Housing" - From the NYT:

A 33-story glassy tower rising on Manhattan’s waterfront will offer all the extras that a condo buyer paying up to $25 million would expect, like concierge service, entertainment rooms, and unobstructed views of the Hudson River and miles beyond. The project will also cater to renters who make no more than about $50,000. They will not share the same perks, and they will also not share the same entrance.

The so-called poor door has brought an outcry, with numerous officials now demanding an end to the strategy. But the question of how to best incorporate affordable units into projects built for the rich has become more relevant than ever as Mayor Bill de Blasio seeks the construction of 80,000 new affordable units over the next 10 years.

The answer is not a simple one. As public housing becomes a crumbling relic of another era, American cities have grown more reliant on the private sector to build housing for the poor and working class. Developers say they can maximize their revenues, and thus build more affordable units, by separating them from their luxury counterparts.

Even advocates of affordable housing are divided on the issue; some argue that developers who segregate apartments should not benefit from government incentives, while others say the focus should be on building more homes, rather than where to enter them.................................

Wednesday
Aug272014

POLITICS/EDUCATION: Los Angeles Unified School District, controversy, Superintendent John Deasy, iPad contract bidding process, commentary (Steve Lopez): "Can Supt. Deasy survive LAUSD' iPad fiasco?"; also, LA Weekly, "iFail: Why John Deasy's Risky iPad Gambit Crashed and Burned at LAUSD" ....

* Los Angeles Times (Steve Lopez):  "Can Supt. Deasy survive LAUSD's iPad fiasco?" - From the LAT:

So, remember that $1-billion plan to get iPads for each and every Los Angeles Unified student the district has been working on and steadfastly defending for a couple of years now? Forget about it. The deal is off, creating a new round of L.A. Unified chaos just as another school year begins.

The announcement came just days after the release of emails detailing Supt. John Deasy's cozy contacts with Apple and curriculum software manufacturer Pearson before they were awarded large contracts.

Deasy, who has denied any improprieties, actually tried to put a positive spin on the long-running fiasco when he announced that the deal with Apple was kaput. The decision, he said in a memo to school board members Monday night, will "enable us to take advantage of an ever-changing marketplace and technology advances.… We will incorporate the lessons learned from the original procurement process…."

You'd think all had gone according to plan, but make no mistake:

Despite the upbeat, moving-on tone of that message, the Deasy pullback is a defining moment in his tenure. It was nothing short of a forced surrender to critics who have argued for months that Deasy charged ahead on the iPad project as if he knew best and everyone else's job was to get out of the way. And what did that get us? A commitment to spend tens of millions of dollars on pricey tablets and on software programs that hadn't even been developed.

And the iPad fiasco is not the only problem bearing down on Deasy..........................

***ALSO:

* LA Weekly:  "iFail: Why John Deasy's Risky iPad Gambit Crashed and Burned at LAUSD"

Wednesday
Aug272014

SACRAMENTO: SB 1174, proposed repeal of California ban on bilingual education: "Bill asks California voters to consider restoring bilingual education" ....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Bill asks California voters to consider restoring bilingual education" - From the Bee:

Californians would vote in 2016 to repeal the state’s ban on bilingual education under a bill the Legislature is sending to Gov. Jerry Brown.

Over Republican objections, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1174 Tuesday night, 25-10. The bill by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, would ask voters to amend parts of a prior ballot measure, Proposition 227, that require most public schools to teach in English only. Educational research and public attitudes have changed since voters banned bilingual education in 1998, Lara said.

Republicans said they support repealing a ban on bilingual education but argued against the measure because it will allow future changes to be made by a majority vote of the Legislature, without returning to voters..........


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/08/26/6657101/bills-asks-california-voters-to.html#storylink=cpy
Wednesday
Aug272014

SACRAMENTO: SB 270, statewide ban, single-use plastic bags, editorial: "Banning the plastic bag shouldn't be this hard" ....

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "Banning the plastic bag shouldn't be this hard" - From the LAT:

Another year, another fierce lobbying campaign to block a much-needed ban on single-use plastic bags. The Assembly on Monday bowed to industry pressure and narrowly rejected the latest bill to phase out disposable plastic shopping bags. Yet there is still hope for this important piece of environmental legislation. The bill was just three votes shy of passage — so close after more than a dozen unsuccessful attempts to curtail the bags statewide. State Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) says he intends to bring his bill back for one more vote before the legislative session ends this week, and this time, we hope lawmakers finally ban the bag.

   ****

Legislators need to look past the bag industry horror stories about job losses and consumer backlash. Instead, they should focus on the damage caused when the disposable bags get stuck in trees, clog storm drains, clutter beaches and eventually end up in giant patches of floating plastic debris in the ocean. Retailers give out about 13 billion single-use plastic bags in California each year, but advocates of a statewide ban say only 3% of those are recycled. Surely the environmental benefits of a ban outweigh the minor inconvenience and small cost shoppers might incur before they get into the habit of carrying reusable bags.

Wednesday
Aug272014

POLITICS/ENVIRONMENT (State, Local/County of Los Angeles): Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, approval, land use plan, Santa Monica Mountains Local Coastal Program: "Santa Monica Mountains land use plan OK'd over vineyard objections" ....

***Following up on earlier item noted here (editorial, California Coastal Commission, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Santa Monica Mountains Local Coastal Program)....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Santa Monica Mountains land use plan OK'd over vineyard objections" - From the LAT:

Los Angeles County supervisors approved a far-reaching land use plan for the Santa Monica Mountains Tuesday, over the objections of a group of vineyard owners but with support from a broad coalition of environmentalists, equestrians and homeowners.

The passage of the plan, known as a local coastal program, consolidates land use authority with the county and sets rules for future development in the coastal area near Malibu. Among the limits on future development is a ban on new vineyards. Permitted, existing vineyards would be allowed to remain.

Vineyard owners complained that the plan unfairly singles out their crop from other forms of agriculture.

   ****

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, whose office was heavily involved in developing the coastal plan, said the vineyard ban is a tiny piece of a plan that had been carefully negotiated with a wide variety of stakeholders. Yaroslavsky held up an aerial picture of a large, clear cut and graded vineyard on Kanan Road in Malibu, as an example of what the plans seeks to avoid...............