RSS Feed

SACRAMENTO: California Supreme Court ruling, 7-0, rejection of two challenges to new district maps....

***News this afternoon regarding challenges to new Senate and congressional maps....

* Sacramento Bee:  "California Supreme Court rejects challenges to Senate, Congress maps"

* Los Angeles Times:  "California Supreme Court rejects challenges to political districts"

* San Francisco Chronicle (AP):  "CA Supreme Court denies 2 redistricting challenges"


L.A. CITY HALL: Commentary, Administrative Citation Enforcement (ACE) program, L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich....

***Catching up on an item I had initially missed -- commentary regarding the Administrative Citation Enforcement (ACE) program proposed by L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich....

* Daily News (Kerry Cavanaugh):  "Give idea an honest chance to succeed" - From the DN:

   Change is hard at City Hall. A new way of doing things is an even tougher sell when a controversial figure is leading the charge.

   The proponent of change is City Attorney Carmen Trutanich. His proposal is to create the Administrative Citation Enforcement program, which would let the LAPD issue administrative citations for certain code, health and safety violations, instead of treating them as criminal misdemeanors that can end up in court. Loud parties, drinking in a public park, street vending - these nuisance and quality-of-life problems would merit an administrative citation, a penalty akin to a parking ticket. The offender could fix the problem and pay the fine, or challenge the ticket before an administrative law judge.

   The idea is to keep minor offenses out of the already overwhelmed courts, speed up the city enforcement process and keep more fines in L.A., rather than funneling the money through the courts to Sacramento.

   ACE would be a big change in the way L.A. handles the minor infractions that can easily ensnare the average Joe. Understandably, there is skepticism and resistance to the proposal. But supporters of ACE are surprised by the vehement opposition faced by the city attorney and co-sponsor City Councilman Paul Koretz. Opponents have called it a power grab by Trutanich and an attempt to steamroll or pick the pockets of residents, who may be the victims of persnickety neighbors who report every little violation.

   Trutanich bristled at those concerns. "ACE is no different than a parking ticket," he said Monday at the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum. The city attorney was clearly frustrated with the delays.....................


L.A. CITY HALL: Mayor's proposal, extending city business tax holiday; editorial, "L.A.'s taxing question".... 

***A couple reports, also editorial commentary....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Villaraigosa urges 3-year break on business tax for firms moving to L.A."

* Daily News:  "L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa urges sweeping business tax reform"

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "L.A.'s taxing question" - "Extending a moratorium on some taxes for new businesses would be unfair to stalwart firms that have supported city services for years."


POLITICS (Bay Area): San Francisco mayor's race, editorial, independent investigation of allegations regarding voter fraud, should be done by CA Secty. of State or CA Atty. General, not S.F. District Atty....

***Follow-up to earlier report regarding investigation of possible voter fraud by supporters of Ed Lee....

* San Francisco Chronicle (editorial):  "George Gascon should hand off Ed Lee investigation" - From the Chronicle:

   Allegations that supporters of Mayor Ed Lee engaged in voter fraud merit a serious, independent investigation. Witness accounts that some of Lee's supporters may have been overzealous in "helping" voters fill out their absentee ballots - and then collecting them for submission - are highly disturbing. Nothing is more sacred to democracy than the principle of "one person, one vote."


   While District Attorney George Gascón has opened an investigation into the allegations of voter fraud, he is not the right person for this job. Problem No. 1: The district attorney is dependent on the mayor's office for budget and requisition approvals. Problem No. 2: Gascón himself is on the Nov. 8 ballot.

   No matter how thoroughly and judiciously Gascón conducts this investigation, the motives behind his ultimate judgment will be challenged by friends or foes of Lee. It would be far better for Secretary of State Debra Bowen or Attorney General Kamala Harris to lead an aggressive investigation..........


LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Vernon, new concerns, "something doesn't pass the smell test", hiring of city attorney........

* LA Weekly (Gene Maddaus):  "Vernon Slips Up In Hiring City Attorney, Prompting Fear of a Return to City's Corrupt Past" - From the Weekly:

   Ever since its brush with death earlier this year, the corruption-plagued City of Vernon has vowed to straighten up and fly right. But today the city's ethics adviser raised alarms about some funny business at last week's City Council meeting. Seems the council chose to appoint Michael Montgomery (seen here dozing off) as the permanent city attorney.

  The problem with that, aside from the napping-on-the-job issue, is that there was nothing about this on the council agenda. Really, Vernon? So soon?

   Montgomery has been Vernon's interim city attorney for about a year. At last Tuesday's council meeting, Councilman Dan Newmire suggested dropping the "interim" from his title. Innocuous enough, right? Turns out, it means more than doubling Montgomery's compensation. (Wrong.) Under his current contract, he makes $20,000 a month. As the permanent city attorney, he would make $252,000 a year, plus benefits. (To clarify: That's a 5% raise, plus benefits.)

   To his credit, Councilman Michael McCormick raised some concerns about whether it was appropriate to act without first putting the matter on the agenda. For advice, the council turned to -- yes -- Michael Montgomery, who assured them it was all above board. The old ways die hard. The council then voted 3-2, with McCormick and Councilman William Davis opposed, to make Montgomery the full-time city attorney.

   In the past, the story probably would have ended there, because nobody would have cared. But now Vernon has watchdogs, who know how to raise a stink when something doesn't pass the smell test. The Vernon Chamber of Commerce fired off a letter of protest to the council and to John Van de Kamp, the former attorney general who now serves as Vernon's ethics adviser. "A move like this kind of sends a signal that this council may want to do things the old way," said Marisa Olguin, the president of the Chamber. "Cronyism is not going to be accepted in this town anymore."

   Today, Van de Kamp sent the City Council a letter (posted below), advising the council to rescind the vote and conduct an open search process..............