Index
Tuesday
May052015

POLITICS (National): 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, campaign "headache"?: "Newly published 'Clinton Cash' casts shadow over Hillary's campaign" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Newly published 'Clinton Cash' casts shadow over Hillary's campaign" - From the LAT:

As Hillary Rodham Clinton seeks to focus public attention on immigration during a swing through Nevada on Tuesday, her presidential campaign staff back at Brooklyn headquarters is scrambling to mitigate damage from release of a long-anticipated book that accuses her of compromised ethics.

"Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich" became a headache for the Clintons well before sales began Tuesday. It alleges that the Clintons accepted tens of millions of dollars in charitable contributions from foreign donors seeking favors from the Obama administration while Hillary Clinton was secretary of State.

The book’s author, Peter Schweizer, is a conservative journalist with previous work bankrolled by the Koch brothers. His résumé also includes advising former Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin. But in a reflection of the increasing sophistication of opponents of the Clintons — what Hillary Clinton famously called the “vast right-wing conspiracy” two decades ago — Schweizer had negotiated exclusive arrangements with major media outlets to report on his findings leading up to the book's release.

The result was a steady drip of news stories questioning major donations to the Clinton family foundation. Schweizer acknowledges he has proved no criminal wrongdoing by the Clintons. But that hasn’t slowed the coverage, nor the appetite by Republicans in Congress to investigate. The author, who is calling for a criminal probe into the foundation dealings, says lawmakers on Capitol Hill have asked to be briefed about his findings.

   ****

As in the past, the charges of impropriety are being met with righteous indignation by the Clintons, particularly former President Clinton, who had been working to stay out of the spotlight in the early stages of his wife’s campaign. On Monday, though, he stepped right back into it during an interview aired by NBC News, when he defended the six-figure speaking fees he has collected from foreign businesses, saying he'd continue to give paid speeches even as his wife runs for president. "I have to pay our bills," he said, stirring up a fresh round of chatter about how in touch the couple is with the way everyday Americans live.

On Tuesday, the Clinton campaign unveiled a new website designed to counter Schweizer’s reporting ......................

Tuesday
May052015

POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION (Orange County; Long Beach): 405 Freeway expansion, Costa Mesa-Long Beach: "Long Beach poised to sue over 405 Freeway expansion in Orange County" ....  

* KPCC Radio:  "Long Beach poised to sue over 405 Freeway expansion in Orange County" - From KPCC:

Long Beach city officials say they are ready to sue over plans to widen the 405 Freeway in Orange County, which they say don't provide enough funding to ease traffic congestion caused by the sudden end to the freeway expansion at the Long Beach border.

The Orange County Transportation Agency is moving forward with a $1.7 billion plan to add one toll lane and one free lane in each direction between Costa Mesa and Long Beach. Because the additional lanes will end at the Los Angeles County border and peel off onto I-605 North, some say the expansion will create a traffic bottleneck outside of Long Beach. “We believe that they have not fully accounted for the way traffic will flow out of the 405 when it hits a bottleneck,” said Long Beach Deputy City Manager Arturo Sanchez.

About 370,000 cars travel on the between Costa Mesa and Long Beach on I-405 every day, according to the Orange County Transportation Authority. The freeway is routinely listed as among the busiest and most congested in the nation. The widening project is expected to increase traffic on the freeway by 23 percent in both directions. Construction is expected to start in 2018.

The agency is responsible for finding ways to mitigate the traffic pressure caused by the expansion project. In an environmental impact report, it sets aside funding for each of a handful of intersections it projects will be affected. But Sanchez said the study doesn’t go far enough.  He said the state’s transportation department has already graded its freeway, the Pacific Coast Highway, with an F for its congestion. The expansion of the 405 would make traffic on and around the PCH worse, Sanchez said. “You are simply providing a nominal amount of mitigation to get it back up to an F,” he said.

Sanchez couldn’t provide a specific dollar amount for how much the city would receive for traffic mitigation projects and the Orange County plan lists a number of options so it's hard to come up with an exact number. Long Beach is conducting its own traffic study in preparation of a lawsuit ..................

Tuesday
May052015

AFTERNOON MEMOS: L.A. City Hall, "L.A. pushing regulators to legalize ride-sharing services at LAX"; Sacramento, "Gavin Newsom could be key to pot legalization initiative"; San Francisco, "Anonymous UCSF donors prepared to go to court to fight Warriors arena" ....  

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

* Los Angeles Times:  "L.A. pushing regulators to legalize ride-sharing services at LAX"

* Sacramento Bee:  "Gavin Newsom could be key to pot legialization initiative"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Anonymous UCSF donors prepared to go to court to fight Warriors arena"

Tuesday
May052015

POLITICS/URBAN AFFAIRS (National, Local/New York): High-rise towers, luxury living, sunlight?: "In the shadows of booming cities, a tension between sunlight and prosperity" ....  

* Washington Post:  "In the shadows of booming cities, a tension between sunlight and prosperity" - From the WP:

NEW YORK -- “Billionaires' Row” is rising over midtown, a collection of glassy new pinnacles that promise the kind of condo views you can only get in Manhattan by building taller than everything else around. With its $95 million penthouse, 432 Park Avenue tops out just shy of 1,400 feet. It will remain the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere until the Nordstrom Tower — high-end shopping below, lavish apartments above — goes up four blocks away. Between them are a few more audacious developments, all part of a race for ever-taller towers to distinguish luxury living in an increasingly crowded city.

These new buildings — a product of developer ingenuity, architectural advance and international wealth — are changing more than the city’s famous skyline, though. They will also transform New York far below, further darkening city streets and casting long shadows that will sweep across Central Park. Together, these towers, and new additions in neighborhoods undergoing a building boom from San Francisco to Toronto to even low-rise D.C., have revived a long-simmering urban tension: between light and growth, between the benefits of city living and its cost in shadows.

For cities, shadows present both a technical challenge — one that can be modeled in 3-D and measured in “theoretical annual sunlight hours” lost — and an ethereal one. They change the feel of space and the value of property in ways that are hard to define. They’re a stark reminder that the new growth needed in healthy cities can come at the expense of people already living there. And in some ways, shadows even turn light into another medium of inequality — a resource that can be bought by the wealthy, eclipsed from the poor ........................

Tuesday
May052015

SACRAMENTO: California drought, "Amid extreme drought, Californians cut water use by 3.6% in March"; politics/legislation, commentary (Dan Walters), "California teacher, police unions beat up on bills they dislike"; Cal Fire, "Cal Fire head says agency moving on from scandal"; SB 331, commentary (Norbert Santana), "OC Gets a Chance to Stomp Out Cronyism in Government" ...

***Various items relating to doings in and/or around the Capitol....

* Sacramento Bee (Dan Walters):  "California's teacher, police unions beat up on bills they dislike"

* Voice of OC (Norbert Santana, Jr.)  "OC Gets a Chance to Stomp Out Cronyism in Government"

* Sacramento Bee (The State Worker):  "Caf Fire head says agency moving on from scandal"

* Los Angeles Times:  "Amid extreme drought, Californians cut water use by 3.6% in March"