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Friday
Dec092011

POLITICS (Bay Area): San Francisco Board of Supervisors, concerns, S.F. Municipal Transportation Agency, "crisis of management," chronic budget shortfall....

* San Francisco Chronicle (City Insider):  "SF supervisors to Muni management: Get your act together" - From the Chronicle:

   San Francisco supervisors chastised senior Muni officials today over the chronic budget shortfall that has led to service cuts, fare hikes and increases to parking fines and fees in recent years. The chief problem, said Supervisor David Campos, who held a pair of City Hall hearings tied to Muni finances, said there is “a crisis of management” at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

   The focus was on work orders -- payments that Muni makes to other city departments -- and overtime, both of which account for large chunks of the transportation agency's $781 million annual budget. Work orders add up to $62 million to pay for such things as legal services from the city attorney's office, e-mail account management by the Department of Technology and Information Services and traffic control by the Police Department's motocycle cops.

   What most concerns Campos, he said, is the lack of clear service standards in most of the work orders to know if Muni is getting everything it's paying for, and whether Muni is the appropriate agency to be footing the bill for such things as the police traffic unit.

   The agency, meanwhile, is considering raising transit fares and parking fines and fees to close project deficits amounting to tens of millions of dollars...............

Friday
Dec092011

POLITICS: Berman-Sherman battle, "Democrat-on-Democrat warfare" in the San Fernando Valley, New York Times analysis....

***Interesting New York Times analysis by former NYT Los Angeles bureau chief Jennifer Steinhauer....

* New York Times:  "Lines Redrawn, Longtime Allies Fight for a Seat" - From the NYT:

   Democrat-on-Democrat warfare has returned to the San Fernando Valley.

   After a tiff over the redrawing of their adjacent Congressional districts a decade ago, Representative Brad Sherman and his fellow California Democrat, Representative Howard L. Berman, both won re-election and went on to work cordially — if not lovingly — on home-state legislation to help the region they both serve as House members. Evidently, those days are over.

   This redistricting go-round, the two popular, veteran congressmen find themselves running for the same seat in the most high-profile of about a dozen primary races that mark the decennial return of internecine fights that can severely rupture relationships of House members who sit on the same side of the aisle.

   “My guess is we probably don’t communicate as much as we used to,” said Mr. Berman about his interaction with Mr. Sherman because of a race that both men would have preferred to do without. "Perhaps the friendship has been a bit impaired by the situation,” said Mr. Sherman, agreeing that the campaign has taken a toll on their relationship and caused spats over issues, like Iranian sanctions, “that wouldn’t have happened six months ago.”

  ****

   The contest between Mr. Sherman, elected in 1996, and Mr. Berman, elected in 1982, is expected to be the most expensive House primary in the nation, owing in part to the costly media market that is Los Angeles, and California’s new open primary system, in which the two top vote getters — quite possibly Mr. Berman and Mr. Sherman — face off again. While the new ”super PACs” that funnel anonymous money into races have so far been rare in House primaries, expect to see them here. As of the end of September, Mr. Berman had $2.2 million in cash on hand, and Mr. Sherman $3.7 million.

  “This is going to be the battle royal,” said Eric Bauman, chairman of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party. “Both of these guys will be extremely well funded with top-flight campaign teams. They both have records to talk about and accomplishments to talk about. But ultimately it is about defining themselves, and that is where money comes in.”

   ****

   The Sherman-Berman race — or the Berman-Sherman race, depending on one’s loyalty — is one that has riveted political insiders in Los Angeles................

Friday
Dec092011

POLITICS: L.A. County District Attorney election, response, D.A. Steve Cooley to fundraising email sent by (candidate) Deputy District Atty. Mario Trujillo regarding the policies of the Cooley administration....

***A bit of a commotion over a fundraising email sent by Deputy District Attorney Mario Trujillo regarding the policies of the current D.A. office administration....

* LA Weekly (Gene Maddaus):  "Prosecutor Mario Trujillo Calls D.A. Policies 'Archaic,' Draws Rebuke from D.A. Steve Cooley"

Friday
Dec092011

POLITICS/EDUCATION: Los Angeles Community College District, settlement agreement, end of construction management contract with Turner Construction Co. at West Los Angeles College....

***Following up on earlier report noted here....

* Los Angeles Times:  "L.A. Community College District ends contract with builder" - "In a settlement with the district, Turner Construction Co. agrees to stop managing construction at West Los Angeles College in Culver City on Feb. 1." - From the LAT:

   The Los Angeles Community College District has ended its contract with a construction-management company that oversaw the rebuilding of West Los Angeles College, where tens of millions of dollars went to waste on abandoned projects. In a settlement with the district, Turner Construction Co. agreed to leave its post of managing projects on the Culver City campus Feb. 1. Turner, which the district was preparing to fire, also said it would not seek further work from the district before July 2015.

   The New York-based company has been paid $24 million since January 2002 to manage $406 million of construction work at West Los Angeles College. The district had accused Turner of allowing contractors to work without submitting bids or signing contracts, and said it failed to disclose a $123-million budget overrun that forced the college to abandon construction of four major buildings.

   ****

   In the settlement, Turner denied wrongdoing but agreed to part ways with the district.

   Two other contractors, FTR International and Gateway Science and Engineering, still face firing proceedings for alleged mismanagement. Both deny wrongdoing.

Friday
Dec092011

MORNING MEMOS: Jerry Brown tax initiative, editorial, "cuts alone" not a cure; Oakland, obstacles, skeptics, Mayor Jean Quan crime plan; Santa Clara County, contract awarded for extension of BART; LAX, Customs and Border Protection, ten L.A. area Democrats send letter asking for more officers.... 

***Various items this morning from across the state....

* Daily Breeze:  "10 Democrats in Congress ask for more customs officers at LAX"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Jean Quan's crime plan faces obstacles, skeptics"

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "Cuts alone can't cure California" - "Gov. Brown is right. More revenue is needed and compromises must be made."

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Contract awarded to build BART in Santa Clara County"