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Wednesday
Jul302014

POLITICS/SPORTS (Bay Area): Oakland, proposed new Raiders stadium, commentary (Matier & Ross): "Is Raiders stadium roof proposal over the top?" ....

* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):  "Is Raiders stadium roof proposal over the top?" - From the Chronicle:

Planners for a new, largely privately financed Oakland Raiders stadium are considering something even more ambitious than the towering seats of Mount Davis - a retractable or transparent roof. Sources involved in putting a proposal together tell us that, given the $900 million to $1.2 billion cost of a new stadium, they're aiming for a building that can host not just sporting events but also concerts, conventions and other functions that require dry weather.

Still, there's a catch. Planners tell us they are still trying to determine if they could attract enough such events to justify the added cost - anywhere from $100 million to $200 million or more, depending on the type of roof. There's the retractable kind, which is in place on several stadiums around the country, and newfangled clear roofs like the one going up on the Minnesota Vikings' new stadium.

Then there are the Raiders, who would prefer an open-air stadium with natural turf. And just to make sure no one forgets about them, team brass - including owner Mark Davis - reportedly just spent a few days in San Antonio, Texas, putting out relocation feelers just in case the Oakland situation doesn't work out.

The roof-or-no-roof debate is just one of the many points to be worked out by planners for Coliseum City, the stadium-retail-housing complex that Mayor Jean Quan wants to get built at the site of the existing stadium and arena. The clock is ticking down on Quan's promise to have a new Raiders stadium deal worked out by summer's end.

Other issues with the multibillion-dollar building scheme......................

Wednesday
Jul302014

L.A. CITY HALL: Live Nation, Jay Z Grand Park Festival, update, local concerns: "More Concerns About Jay Z's Grand Park Festival" ....  

* Downtown News:  "More Concerns About Jay Z's Grand Park Festival" - From the DTN:

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - When Live Nation, aided by Mayor Eric Garcetti, applied for a permit to hold a massive, two-day festival in Grand Park over Labor Day weekend — one that would require at least 10 street closures over a several-day period — City Councilman José Huizar complained of a lack of communication from Garcetti’s office. Now, a month before an expected 35,000 people will descend each day on the 12-acre park, the 14th District council office still believes there’s a dearth of clear, flowing information about the Made in America Festival — this time from the organizers themselves. 

A community outreach meeting in the Public Works board room of City Hall Tuesday night did little to assuage those concerns, said Sara Hernandez, Huizar’s Downtown area director. Roughly two-dozen Central City residents and stakeholders turned out for the meeting, posing questions about the Jay Z-curated concert, particularly about traffic flow, security, alcohol and public restrooms.

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It was the impending traffic hiccups that concerned Huizar’s office back in March. He wanted to withhold all the permits until his office and the community received more information about the festival, but City Council approved the event. Huizar, who along with the rest of his councilmembers is currently on recess, took issue with the fact that he had been left out of the planning process that Garcetti’s office had overseen. The kerfuffle underscored the city’s lack of a coordinated system for street closures, Huizar has said.............

Wednesday
Jul302014

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles Police Department, protest, demand for pay increases: "L.A. lawmakers are warned that police officers will leave without a raise" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "L.A. lawmakers are warned that police officers will leave without a raise" - From the LAT:

More than 300 Los Angeles Police Department officers and family members packed a City Council meeting Tuesday to demand across-the-board pay increases, warning that the department will lose officers to other cities if a raise isn't provided. 

Nearly a month after officers rejected a one-year contract offer from the city, officials with the Police Protective League said the LAPD's starting salary has fallen behind at least 13 other Southern California law enforcement agencies. LAPD employees are already heading to other departments, they said. “Our officers are not without alternatives. Experienced and well-trained officers are desired by police and sheriff’s departments throughout Southern California,” said league President Tyler Izen, whose union represents about 9,900 officers.

Mayor Eric Garcetti and council members have been trying to hold the line on raises across the city workforce as part of a larger strategy to limit the growth of pension costs and erase a spending deficit by 2018. . . . . . . .

The contract rejected by officers three weeks ago would have hiked the pay of nearly 1,000 officers who were hired since 2009 with a salary 20% lower than their counterparts. The deal also would have increased the amount of cash overtime paid to officers this year to $70 million, up from $15 million last year. And it would have boosted the starting salary of officers from $49,924 a year to $57,420. Even with that increase, starting pay would remain below police agencies in Santa Monica, Simi Valley, Newport Beach and elsewhere, according to league officials. . . . . . . . .

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Council members are scheduled to meet behind closed doors Wednesday to receive an update on the salary talks......................

Wednesday
Jul302014

POLITICS (National, State, Local/Central Valley): U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Bakersfield, a "nice guy," commentary (Dan Walters): "Bakersfield's Kevin McCarthy becomes House majority leader" ....

* Sacramento Bee (Dan Walters):  "Bakersfield's Kevin McCarthy becomes House majority leader" - From the Bee:

Kevin McCarthy may be a one-man refutation of the old adage that “nice guys always finish last." McCarthy is a genuinely nice guy who won a seat in Congress just eight years ago after a brief stint in the California Legislature, but is poised this week to become House majority leader and could, if Republicans continue their hold, become speaker in a few years.

That is, in congressional terms, a meteoric rise and it happened because McCarthy is a nice guy. He cultivated personal relationships with other politicians, helped them raise money and win elections and was well-positioned to move up when Majority Leader Eric Cantor unexpectedly lost a primary to a tea party challenger.

After Cantor’s loss, there was much media speculation that a tea party-backed candidate would replace him as majority leader, but within a few days, McCarthy, calling on those relationships he had carefully nurtured, claimed the position without serious opposition. A congressman whom McCarthy had helped win his Louisiana seat, Steve Scalise, will take McCarthy’s old post of majority whip.

So who is Kevin McCarthy and what does his elevation mean for California?

McCarthy grew up in a blue-collar Democratic family in Bakersfield. . . . . . . .

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McCarthy is, in current ideological terms, a pragmatic conservative and he’s in a position to help California, whose congressional delegation is fragmented and often suffers from an Anywhere-But-California syndrome in Washington. But he is a Republican leader from a deep-blue state whose Democratic politicians have a very different take on what the feds should be doing for them.................

Wednesday
Jul302014

SACRAMENTO: Senator Leland Yee, federal criminal case, payment of his legal bills, source of funds, commentary (Matier & Ross) ....

* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):

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Pay up: Having bailed on his run for secretary of state, suspended state Sen. Leland Yee is using his healthy campaign account to pay the legal bills he's running up in his federal criminal case.

The San Francisco Democrat - who got 380,000 votes in the June primary, even though he had dropped out after being indicted - has about $350,000 remaining in his campaign account. Sources say Yee intends to use the money to pay his defense lawyers - something that's allowed under state law.

There is one pile of campaign money, however, that Yee won't be able to touch - the more than $30,000 he got from a half-dozen contributors who turned out to be undercover FBI agents seeking to bribe Yee. Those checks bounced.